SAN FRANCISCO: Intel has officially launched the Xeon E5-2600 v4 processor family for two-socket servers, adding features to improve performance and monitoring of software-defined infrastructure as part of a renewed push to drive cloud adoption.
The new processor line-up was unveiled at Intel's Cloud Day event, and is the successor to the E5-2600 v3 family introduced in 2014.
The 14nm Xeon E5-2600 v4 chips, codenamed Broadwell-EP, introduce the Broadwell core architecture to the mainstream server segment, and offer an increase in performance with support for faster 2400MHz DDR4 memory and versions with up to 22 cores.
"One of the greatest strengths of the Xeon E5 product line is the versatile workload performance across the widest range of workloads, and we're delivering increases in performance at the same power envelope as our previous generation," said Lisa Spelman, Intel's vice president and general manager for Xeon products and data centre marketing.
"So you're getting increases in your compute, storage and networking workloads of 44 per cent with the Broadwell microarchitecture."
However, the latest Xeons also introduce new capabilities intended to better support cloud computing, as well as emerging use cases such as network function virtualisation (NFV) and software-defined infrastructure in general.
Key among these is Intel Resource Director Technology, which enables an operating system or hypervisor to control the amount of cache space that a virtual machine or application can allocate itself. This allows priority to be given to important functions, such as a virtual switch appliance, guaranteeing sufficient cache space.
This is important for NFV, but also enables critical and non-critical workloads to co-exist on the same server whereas they may have been segregated before, allowing for greater consolidation and further reducing the number of servers required, Intel said.
Virtualisation has also been given a performance boost, and the Xeon E5-2600 v4 chips enable lower latency for entering and exiting VMs and mechanisms to cut down VM interrupts.
Hardware-assisted security has been enhanced with new instructions to accelerate secure session initiation protocols based on RSA, ECC, or Secure Hash Algorithm, while the existing Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions have been improved to enable even faster bulk data encryption, Intel said.
However, the new server chips are just part of a wider Intel initiative to push cloud adoption as part of the Cloud for All programme announced last year along with Rackspace and OpenStack specialist Mirantis.
"How can we accelerate the deployment of cloud across all users - enterprises, service providers, and others such as telecoms providers?" said Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Centre Group.
"We need clouds to be fully featured and optimised across a full range of workloads, and we need to get to a position where you can go from installing the hardware to operating a self-service in a day."
Intel added a network of Centres of Excellence to the list, developed in partnership with VMware, with the aim of producing reference architectures that will reduce the amount of time it takes a customer to build a private cloud that complies with industry regulations such as PCI.
Intel also introduced Snap, an open source telemetry framework to gather low-level data on the hardware infrastructure underpinning a cloud deployment. It is intended to improve orchestration and workload placement in the cloud by providing metrics such as whether a hardware node has cryptographic acceleration capabilities that make it better suited to specific applications.
Meanwhile, Intel is working with Mirantis and CoreOS to integrate the latter's Tectonic product, a commercial implementation of the Kubernetes container orchestration platform, into the OpenStack project.
The goal is to produce a single management framework capable of handling virtual machines and containers in a single solution, Intel said.
Intel's Xeon E5-2600 v4 processors are available now and shipping in server systems from vendors including HPE, Dell, Lenovo, Fujitsu, Oracle and Cisco.
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