Intel expects its new line of Xeon processors for servers and workstations to serve as the catalyst to interconnect 15 billion devices worldwide by 2015. Intel also predicts that its latest 45nm chips will create opportunities to push the limits of science and technology.
Based on Intel's Nehalem microarchitecture, the new Xeon 5500 processors have showcased groundbreaking advances in performance, virtualization and workload management, according to Intel Senior Vice President Patrick Gelsinger. "As the Internet expands toward our vision of 15 billion connected devices by 2015, the Xeon 5500 will also be a foundational technology for the transformation of Internet infrastructure," he said.
The industry is currently aligned on a cloud-computing vision in which applications are served from optimized hardware -- making them available on demand and scalable, Gelsinger noted. "Executing to this vision requires underlying technology that incorporates the adaptability, capability, and intelligence of our newest Xeon processor," he said.
A Big Play
More than 230 systems based on the Xeon 5500 processor are already in the works at more than 70 system manufacturers around the world, including Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun Microsystems, and others. One reason is that Intel is making "a big play" when it comes to processor power consumption, said Matthew Wilkins, a principal analyst at iSuppli.
"Successive generations of microprocessors are now delivering more performance and consuming less energy," Wilkins said. "If your organization runs a data center or server farm with hundreds, even thousands, of systems or microprocessors, moving to newer, more efficient microprocessors can deliver cost savings through a reduction of power consumption."
The Xeon 5500 integrates automated energy-efficiency enhancements that provide users with greater control of energy expenditures. For example, achieving a processor idle power level of only 10 watts will enable a 50 percent reduction in system idle power compared to the previous chip generation, Intel said.
What's more, Xeon processors integrate power gates based on Intel's unique high-k metal gate technology, which means idle cores can be powered down independently. Furthermore, the chip's incorporation of 15 automated operating states enables system power consumption to be adjusted based on real-time throughput and without sacrificing performance, the company said.
Additionally, Intel's node manager enables IT departments to set a policy for the power consumption of platforms. "This is combined with software which allows you to aggregate this platform performance into a data-center performance profile -- a first dramatic step in energy efficiency in data centers," Gelsinger said.
A Future-Proof Platform
With Xeon's arrival, Gelsinger believes it's time for enterprises to initiate a major refresh that moves them out of proprietary server environments. "IT has been investing up to 40 percent of budgets into proprietary systems which carry higher maintenance costs," he said. "Xeon delivers at less than half the cost of SPARC and at 1.7x the performance."
Enterprises replacing older Intel Xeon servers with machines based on the Xeon 5500 can begin receiving payback in as little as eight months, Gelsinger said. "We are simply delighted with the value proposition that Xeon has to offer," he added.
Moreover, enterprises need not be concerned that Intel's latest processing technology will become outdated anytime soon. Intel's next generation of 32nm server chips, code-named Westmere, will be socket-compatible upgrades, Gelsinger said Monday.
"We believe we have addressed all of the design issues for upgrading to the Westmere family," he said. "They will drop directly into the platform we are launching today. It's a future-proof platform."