Intel Launches Xeon Chips Aimed At High-Performance Servers


Intel announced an update to its Xeon family of microprocessors Tuesday that feature performance boost and energy efficiency optimized for cloud, data base or supercomputing workloads. The Xeon E5-2600 v2 server chip, which includes 21 different products, features 12 cores with speeds that range between 1.7GHz and 3.5GHz, 1.5 TB of memory and enhanced security.

The news came at the Intel Developer Forum and dovetailed a bevy of announcements of new systems based on the Xeon processor from Cisco Systems, Cray, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lenovo and SGI.

"Intel is fortifying the castle with the Xeon chips, giving systems new reliability, power and flexibility for changing needs," said Laura Didio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence. The new Xeon chips, she said, represent a more evolutionary improvement for the chip family, but more importantly answer the call of cloud-centric business needs.

[Related: Intel Fires Shot Across ARM's Bow With New Processors]

The new chip offering reflects a shift from traditional server workloads to cloud computing, and the need to bring down power costs and cram more compute power in smaller spaces. Intel claims the Xeon processors are 45 percent more power-efficient and deliver 50 percent more performance compared to first-generation "Sandy Bridge" E5-2600 chips launched just one year ago.

Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Datacenter and Connected Systems Group, said in a statement that server needs today are different and changing quickly, requiring systems that can handle "software-defined" compute, storage and networking tasks.

Bryant said the Xeon chips have added security by embedding a new feature called OS Guard into the silicon.

"OS Guard isolates the operating system [OS] privilege from the application privilege. It avoids malware, spoofing the OS into taking action on its behalf. This is a class of attacks that has been on the rise," Bryant said.

The Intel Xeon processors E5-2600 v2 product family will power the new Lenovo ThinkServer TS140 and ThinkServer TS440 for "compute-intensive performance required for virtualization, web or database server workloads," according to Lenovo.

Sean Hobday, senior vice president of global sales and operations at Zones, an Auburn, Wash., Lenovo partner, said his customers are hungry for systems that can deliver more compute power and at the same time have the flexibility to work in increasingly more virtualized environments. "We are about three years into this trend," Hobday said. "Intel's new chips are aimed at our sweet spot, delivering Lenovo hardware to companies that want more virtualization and consolidation."

IBM unveiled an IBM NeXtScale System based on the Xeon E5-2600 v2 proccessor family. The new server, which is part of a larger NeXtScale family of servers, will have up to 12 cores and draw between 70 watts and 130 watts of power. IBM also said Intel's chip will be used in several of its products including a new x3650 M4 HD high-density storage server, System x racks and towers, Flex System, iDataPlex and BladeCenter systems.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 11, 2013