Showing posts with label Intel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Intel. Show all posts

Monday, September 18, 2017

Intel Capital's AI Investments top $1 billion

Intel Capital has now invested over $1 billion in companies devoted to the advancement of artificial intelligence.

In a blog post, Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich said the company is fully committed to making its silicon the "platform of choice" for AI developers. Key areas of AI development inside Intel include:

  • Intel Xeon Scalable family of processors for evolving AI workloads. Intel also offers purpose-built silicon for deep learning training, code-named “Lake Crest”
  • Intel Mobileye vision technologies for specialized use cases such as active safety and autonomous driving
  • Intel FPGAs, which can serve as programmable accelerators for deep learning inference
  • Intel Movidius low-power vision technology, which provides machine learning at the edge.



Intel Nervana Aims for AI

Intel introduced its "Nervana" platform and outlined its broad for artificial intelligence (AI), encompassing a range of new products, technologies and investments from the edge to the data center.

Intel currently powers 97 percent of data center servers running AI workloads on its existing Intel Xeon processors and Intel Xeon Phi processors, along with more workload-optimized accelerators, including FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays).

Intel said the breakthrough technology acquired from Nervana earlier this summer will be integrated into its product roadmap. Intel will test first silicon (code-named “Lake Crest”) in the first half of 2017 and will make it available to key customers later in the year. In addition, Intel announced a new product (code-named “Knights Crest”) on the roadmap that tightly integrates best-in-class Intel Xeon processors with the technology from Nervana. Lake Crest is optimized specifically for neural networks to deliver the highest performance for deep learning and offers unp

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Intel Xeon workstation processors

Intel unveiled its latest Xeon processors for workstations.

Intel said its new Xeon W processor delivers optimized performance for traditional workstation professionals by combining mainstream performance, enhanced memory capabilities, and hardware-enhanced security and reliability features. The Intel Xeon W processor features up to 18 cores and up to 36 threads, with an Intel Turbo Boost Technology frequency up to 4.5 GHz. Mainstream workstations will experience up to a 1.87x boost in performance compared to a 4-year-old system4and up to 1.38x higher performance compared to the previous generation.

This builds on the new family of Intel Xeon Scalable processors, announced in July, that offer up to 56 cores, up to 112 threads and an Intel Turbo Boost Technology frequency up to 4.2 GHz.

https://newsroom.intel.com/news/intel-xeon-scalable-processors-accelerate-creation-innovation-next-generation-workstations/

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Flash Memory Summit – big changes in non-volatile memory - part 2

Over the past year, we’ve seen that HDD capacity increases have plateaued. Spinning disks have been surpassed in storage capacity by SSDs. Performance comparisons between the two is not even a topic of debate. For CIOs, the deployment of flash storage arrays is easy and offers an immediate boost in IOPs for critical applications. More importantly, all the innovation in new drive development has shifted to flash. We are now seeing many approaches being tried in the market to boost SSD performance even further, to scale up to new drive capacities and new array architectures, to adopt new form factors for better rack-scale integration, and increase manufacturing volume to finally meet market demand.

In the first part of this article, we covered Samsung’s rapid progression with 3-D NAND technology. With the arrival of its 5th generation 3D NAND next year we will see 2.5” SSDs soar into the 128TB range. The company says its on-track for 5 more generations of 3-D NAND in the coming decade. In this second part of the article, we’ll look at innovations from another giant, Intel, which has also set its sights on bringing non-volatile memory technologies to the forefront of server, system and data centre design, as well as developments from Nimbus Data and the Gen-Z consortium.

Intel’s non-volatile memory advancements

Intel began shipping its first SSDs as early as 2008 and has been on a continuous improvement path ever since. In 2010, Intel and Micron Technology entered into a partnership focused on NAND flash memory. In 2015, Intel and Micron announced 3D XPoint technology, which was described as the first new memory category since the introduction of NAND flash in 1989, with promises to be up to 1,000 times faster and up to 1,000 times greater endurance than NAND, while being cheaper than DRAM and non-volatile. Intel then adopted the "Optane" brand for products based on thistechnology, while Micron adopted the QuantX brand. Optane is fundamentally different from NAND and uses a combination of unique Intel memory + storage controllers, Intel interconnect IP, and Intel software.

Introducing the memory ruler

Intel's big news at last week's Flash Memory Summit was its new "ruler" form factor for SSD. Instead of the traditional, 2.5" or 3.5" rectangular box for disk drives, Intel's ruler is a long, thin box designed to slide in to a 1" server chassis, plugging in via a PCIe interface at the end of the ruler. It is a slick design. Apart from looking better, the long, thin shape dissipates heat easier. Intel showed a 1” RU server chassis accommodating 32 of these SSD rulers, creating up to 1 petabyte of storage. Intel could offer Optane SSDs and/or 3D NAND SSDs in this form factor.

It’s been a while since a new storage drive format gained widespread acceptance. Intel will need to bring its new form factor to standardization, perhaps via the Open Compute Project, although this was not confirmed. The ruler design should prove to be particularly useful in hyperscale data centres, where plug-n-play convenience is especially useful when 100s of thousands of servers need to be maintained. Intel also noted that its ruler form factor could be used for plug-in accelerators, perhaps FPGA boards optimized for specific functions. No timeline was given for when the ruler might enter the market.

Intel and Attala Systems also announced an FPGA-based accelerated RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) networking solution designed to serve as high-performance, composable storage infrastructure with features such as self-learning orchestration and provisioning capabilities. The idea is to create an adaptable storage infrastructure that is essentially an elastic block storage (EBS) solution, accelerated. Attala Systems is a start-up based in San Jose, California that was founded by Sujith Arramreddy, who previously co-founded ServerEngines (acquired by Emulex for $250 million in 2010) and ServerWorks (acquired by Broadcom for $1.4 billion in 2001). Attala's CEO is Taufik Ma, who previously was co-GM of Intel's Server System business unit before leaving for a storage/networking start-up. Nimbus Data sees 500 TB SSDs by 2020

Nimbus Data is a privately-held develop of all-flash arrays based in Irvine, California. The company observes that 40 million nearline/high-capacity HDDs are shipped per year, and all of them use the 3.5” form factor. At Flash Memory Summit, Nimbus Data introduced a software and multiprocessor solution for OEMs developing next-generation solid state drives for data centres. Whereas conventional SSDs are based on a single flash controller, Nimbus ExaDrive is based on a distributed multiprocessor architecture. Inside an ExaDrive-powered SSD, multiple ultra-low power ASICs exclusively handle error correction, while an intelligent flash processor provides wear-leveling and capacity management in software. Nimbus sees an opportunity for its ExaDrive being used in super capacity SSDs that let data centers rip-andreplace HDDs with flash. ExaDrive supports the standard SAS interface and is optimized to fully utilize the volume of the 3.5” form factor.

Nimbus said its ExaDrive is used by Viking Technology and SMART Modular Technologies in 50 TB and 25 TB SSDs for cloud infrastructure, technical computing, and digital content storage. The company predicts that its ExaDrive software-defined architecture will enable SSDs as large as 500 TB by the year 2020, achieving up to 600 petabytes in a single rack. This represents a 50x increase over what is possible with HDDs today. “ExaDrive’s software-defined multiprocessor architecture for SSDs delivers a game-changing leap forward in capacity, density, and energy efficiency that HDDs will never be able to recoup,” stated Thomas Isakovich, CEO and Founder of Nimbus Data. “ExaDrive broadens the appeal of flash memory to tier 2 and nearline use cases, enabling flash to become the dominant data center storage media.”

Gen-Z consortium targets data centres

The Gen-Z Consortium is a vendor-led group that is developing an open systems interconnect with memory semantic access to data and devices via direct-attached, switched or fabric topologies. Its major members include AMD, ARM, Broadcom, Cray, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, IDT, Micron, Samsung, SK hynix, and Xilinx. At this year’s Flash Memory Summit, the group had planned it’s the Gen-Z multi-vendor technology demonstration, connecting compute, memory, and I/O devices. Despite the unfortunate fire at a vendor booth on the opening day of the event, the demo was still able to occur in a nearby meeting room.

The demo showed FPGA-based Gen-Z adapters connecting compute nodes to memory pools through a Gen-Z switch, creating a fabric connecting multiple server vendors and a variety of memory vendors. Such a highperformance and scalable fabric/interconnect could be implemented in future data centres. The demo also featured a scalable prototype connector defined by the Gen-Z Consortium, running at 112 giga-transfers/sec. “We are excited to showcase the first technology demonstration of Gen-Z that includes solutions from multiple member companies, including a variety of servers, memory and I/O devices, all connected with a Gen-Z fabric,” said Kurtis Bowman, President of the Gen-Z Consortium. “The consortium continues to meet the planned development schedule and we expect to see initial Gen-Z products in the 2019-2020 timeframe.”

http://genzconsortium.org/

Monday, August 21, 2017

Intel Launches 8th gen Core processors

Intel officially introduced its 8th Gen Intel Core processors, including a range of mobile processors designed specifically for sleek thin and light notebooks and 2 in 1s.

The new mobile processors promises a boost of up to 40 percent gen over gen1 devices or 2x the performance if you compare it with a 5-year-old machine. The processors feature a new quad-core configuration, power-efficient microarchitecture, advanced process technology and a huge range of silicon optimizations.

  • Intel UHD Graphics are integrated into these next-generation processors. A media engine, with power-efficient VP9 and HEVC 10-bit hardware acceleration, means great battery life, even with 4K UHD viewing andcontent creation. 
  • I/O in 8th generation Intel Core Processor U-series includes PCIe 3.0, delivering data transfer rates at 8 GT/s versus 5
  • GT/s with PCIe 2.0. 
  • The latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology supports NVMe PCIe x4 Solid State Drives, and it is capable of utilizing PCIe 3.0 speed. 
  • Thunderbolt 3 technology (USB-C) supports up to 40 Gbps transfer speeds, two 4K 60 Hz displays, system charging up to 100W, external graphics, and Thunderbolt networking.

The first wave of 8th Gen Intel Core processor-powered devices featuring i5/i7 processors will come to market beginning in September.

http://www.intel.com


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Microsoft announces enterprise blockchain framework

Microsoft introduced its "Coco" Framework for advancing enterprise adoption of blockchain technology.

Microsoft said its Coco Framework reduces the protocol complexity of blockchain while meeting the high-transaction speed, distributed governance and confidentiality requirements of enterprise networks. The Coco Framework by design will be compatible with any ledger protocol and can operate in the cloud and on premises, on any operating system and hypervisor that supports a compatible TEE. Initial Coco Framework implementations will include R3 Corda, Intel Hyperledger Sawtooth, J.P. Morgan Quorum, and Ethereum.

When integrated with a blockchain network, key benefits of the Coco Framework include these:

  • Transaction speeds of more than 1,600 transactions per second
  • Easily managed data confidentiality without sacrificing performance
  • A comprehensive, industry-first distributed governance model for blockchain networks that establishes a network constitution and allows members to vote on all terms and conditions governing the consortium and the blockchain software system

“Blockchain is a transformational technology with the ability to significantly reduce the friction of doing business,” said Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer of Azure at Microsoft. “Microsoft is committed to bringing blockchain to the enterprise. We have listened to the needs of our customers and the blockchain community and are bringing foundational functionality with the Coco Framework. Through an innovative combination of advanced algorithms and trusted execution environments (TEEs), like Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX) or Windows Virtual Secure Mode (VSM), we believe this takes the next step toward making blockchain ready for business.”

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-microsoft-s-coco-framework-for-enterprise-blockchain-networks/



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Intel sees rapid shift from enterprise to cloud, increased NFV spending

Intel beat financial expectations when it released its Q2 2017 financial results in late July.  The company cited strong growth in its client computing (up 12 percent) and data-centric businesses (up 16%). The good earning report builds on the marketing momentum it established in the quarter with the launch of its Intel Core X-Series family of processors, which are designed for advanced gaming, AR and VR client applications, as well as its Intel Xeon Scalable processors for data centres, artificial intelligence (AI) and other data-intensive workloads. The recent Xeon launch was covered here previously.

Because Intel holds such a dominant and strategic position in the IT ecosystem, its quarterly report is often an excellent measure of the industry’s overall health and an early indicator of significant trends that will impact global network traffic.

The Q2 review

For Q2 2017, Intel reported revenue of $14.8 billion, up 9% year-over-year. After adjusting for the Intel Security Group (ISecG) transaction, which was spun out as an independent company on April 3rd and now known by its original name of McAffee, Intel’s Q2 revenue growth was even better – up 14% from a year ago. Operating income was $3.8 billion, up 190% year-over-year, and non-GAAP operating income was $4.2 billion, up 30%. EPS was $0.58, up 115% year-over-year and non-GAAP EPS was $0.72, up 22%. For Q2, Intel generated approximately $4.7 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.3 billion, and used $1.3 billion to repurchase 36 million shares of stock.

To top off the good news, Intel raised its full-year revenue outlook by $1.3 billion to $61.3 billion and raised its EPS outlook to $2.66 (GAAP) and $3.00 (non-GAAP), a 15 cent increase over the previous guidance.

Key Business Unit Revenue and Trends
Quarterly Year-Over-Year
Q2 2017
vs. Q2 2016
Client Computing Group
$8.2 billion
up
12%
Data Center Group
$4.4 billion
up
9%
Internet of Things Group
$720 million
up
26%
Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group
$874 million
up
58%
Programmable Solutions Group
$440 million
down
5%
*Data-centric businesses include DCG, IOTG, NSG, PSG, and all other

Clearly a lot of hot areas and promising technologies at Intel

For the Data Center Group, Intel said its current 9% annual growth rate in Q2 probably can be sustained for the whole year – a fantastic result considering that service provider spending overall, including for mobile infrastructure in developed markets, appears to have stalled. Capex budgets may not be restored to normal levels as a percentage of carrier revenue until the 5G upgrade cycle gets under way.

On its Q2 investor conference call, company execs commented that by 2021 the silicon opportunity for data centres could be worth $65 billion per year and that Intel is currently less than 40% of the total available segment today. Beyond its Xeon processors for cloud servers, Intel is chasing adjacent product categories, including Ethernet, Silicon Photonics and its 3D XPoint memory. Its goal is to rule the full data centre rack, and not just the server motherboard.

Cloud and communications service providers

For Intel's DCG, sales for public cloud zoomed up 35% year over year. On the other hand, enterprise data centre spending declined 11%. The two figures are clearly related, with a rapid shift of workloads to the public cloud underway. One can presume many of these to be new workloads. At the time of deployment, companies are signing up for public cloud capacity instead of buying new servers for their enterprise data centre. Or simply, when servers are ready to be retired, enterprises are moving their workloads to the public cloud rather than buying new servers.

Intel cited communication service providers as another growth vector for DCG. Revenues here rose 17% year over year. For Intel, this is good news as it would seem to indicate that network functions virtualisation (NFV) is finally taking hold. Previously, there have been statements from AT&T and Orange revealing an accelerated schedule to migrate large percentages of their network function workloads onto virtualised infrastructure, i.e. x86 platforms.

Leading deployments with the top-tier communications service providers have been underway for the past year. Intel’s 17% growth rate for CSPs seems to indicate a broader adoption base for NFV. If this growth can be sustained, one should expect other companies in the NFV ecosystem to start showing results as well, such as companies offering virtual network functions (VNFs) such as firewalls and load balancers. The NFV movement has had a very long incubation cycle, and now the real spending by CSPs for Intel gear will be a boost for many players.

Together, the cloud and CSP segments make up nearly 60% of Intel’s total DCG revenue. The other segments include the IoT Group, where Q2 revenues were up 26% to $720 million; the non-volatile memory solutions group (NSG), where sales were up 58% to a record $874 million; and the programmable solutions group (PSG), formerly Altera, where revenue declined 5% to $440 million. Intel completed its $16.7 billion acquisition of Altera in January 2016, so it now has a track record of over one full fiscal year in managing the group’s business. The group specialises in field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology.

A further note regarding Intel and CSPs

On its Q2 investor conference call, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the company is making inroads with its 5G strategy as there are now five ongoing trials underway with global service providers and 15 more in the pipeline. We know from earlier announcement that Intel’s office in Austin, Texas became the first customer site for AT&T’s pilot 5G network in December 2016. The 5G fixed wireless pilot in Austin is delivering and ultra-fast Internet connection and DIRECTTV NOW using Ericsson's 5G RAN and the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform.

Mobileye acquisition approaches completion

As Intel makes its transition from a PC-oriented company into a data-centric company it is seeking adjacent opportunities either through internal development or acquisitions. One topic on everyone's mind in Silicon Valley is autonomous driving. In this area, it looked like NVIDIA was moving faster to capture the huge opportunity in next gen transport systems. For instance, the newly unveiled Tesla Model 3 is powered by the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI computing platform. To counter this, in March Intel announced plans to acquire Mobileye, a developer of machine vision systems for automated driving, in a deal valued at $14.7 billion.  Mobileye, based in Israel, claims to be the leading market position in computer vision for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Its portfolio includes surround vision, sensor fusion, mapping, and driving policy products. Mobileye's EyeQ chips are already installed in 16 million vehicles as of 2016. Mobileye currently has OEM relationships with GM, VW, Honda, BMW, PSA, Audi, Kia, Nissan, Volvo, Ford, Renault, Chrysler, SAIC and Hyundai. Mobileye reported 2016 revenue of $358 million and gross margin of 76%. For2017, it should bring in more than $1.6 billion in revenue. Intel said its Mobileye acquisition will be completed by the end of the year.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Intel debuts its Xeon Scalable platform - Part 2

Intel described the launch of its Xeon Scalable Platform as the biggest data centre announcement in the past 10 years. Wall Street's reaction was fairly muted, perhaps because Intel has already captured nearly the entire market for server CPUs and there was not much to suggest that any innovations in the chip architecture would significantly expand the overall market or the company's margins. However, a broad ecosystem of cloud providers, telecom carriers, server vendors, network equipment suppliers, storage specialists and systems integrators were lined-up for the big Xeon unveiling with press releases of their own. As an industry milestone, it is certain that the next wave of cloud data centre infrastructure will be built on Xeon Scalable processors.

Highlights of Intel's Xeon ecosystem momentum

Amazon Web Services

AWS has listed Intel as a strategic partner for over a decade. It is certainly a major customer. It’s been claimed that every day AWS enough servers to power a Fortune 500 enterprise. AWS launched a C5 instance family in November 2016 powered by a custom version of the Xeon Scalable Platform with hardware acceleration capability. Amazon EC2 C5 instances based on Xeon Scalable processors with AVX-512 now offer up to 72 vCPUs - twice that of previous generation compute-optimised instances - and 144 GB of memory. AWS also said it is working with Intel to optimise deep learning engines. AWS reports over a 100x boost in inference performance and is also using the new Xeon for high performance computing (HPC) clusters supporting thousands or tens of thousands of EC2 instances. AWS provided a video testimonial for the launch event.

It should also be noted that AWS is now offering NVIDIA GPU instances. Like the other cloud giants, AWS will also build its own data centre gear whenever this is the fastest or cheapest path to deployment. This includes routers based on custom Broadcom silicon and bespoke network interface cards based on an in-house Annapurna ASIC. At its scale, AWS would surely consider all silicon options for its core platform. Intel and AWS seem to be working well together.

AT&T

The guest of honour at the Xeon launch event was John Donovan, AT&T's chief strategy officer and group president, technology and operations. ‎AT&T has been running the new Xeon processors for several months in its production network. Donovan reported a 25% boost in performance - good but maybe not overwhelmingly so. Still, AT&T is moving all its network functions into a cloud based on X86. AT&T said it has a strong collaborative relationship with Intel. Total cost of ownership for the entire network improves with each generation of Xeons.

Google

The first public cloud to deploy the new Xeon Scalable Platform processors is Google. End customers are reporting consistent performance improvements, in some cases of 30 to 50%. When the applications are tuned for the AVX-512 instructions, customers are reporting more than a 100% performance improvement.

Microsoft

The new Intel Xeon Scalable Platform processors will be the base for Microsoft Azure. Earlier this year at the Open Compute Project (OCP) Summit in San Jose, Microsoft announced Project Olympus, a next generation hyperscale cloud hardware design and a new model for open source hardware development with the OCP community. Rather than contributing a fully-completed design to OCP, with this new approach Microsoft will contribute its next generation cloud hardware designs when they are approximately 50% complete. The building blocks that Project Olympus will contribute consist of a new universal motherboard, high-availability power supply with included batteries, 1U/2U server chassis, high-density storage expansion, a new universal rack power distribution unit (PDU) for global data centre interoperability, and a standards compliant rack management card.

Although some saw this announcement as a potential opening for ARM processors in Azure, in a customer testimonial video this week Microsoft confirmed that Project Olympus is based on Xeon Scalable Platform processors and Intel FPGAs. Microsoft said this combination of Xeon processors, FPGAs and high-performance storage will be a powerful solution for AI. In fact, Azure anticipates the world's largest deployment of FPGAs to power the largest neural network to date.

Telefónica

In Spain, Intel has been collaborating with Telefónica since 2008. One big focus of development is network functions virtualisation (NFV) to simplify its network. Telefonica expects the Intel Xeon Scalable Platform processors will play a key role in its 5G network. This means that Telefónica is fully committed to x86 for the basis of its infrastructure. The new processors, which are currently in Telefónica’s labs, have been delivering a performance boost of approximately 67% over the previous Xeon E5 2600 chips.

6WIND

6WIND reports that its software running on Xeon Scalable Processors delivers a significant boost for IPsec. Specifically, 6WIND Turbo IPsec performance tests on Xeon Platinum servers demonstrate a 50% increase in processing power for common applications such as multi-site VPNs and backhaul security gateways.

Accton

Accton announced a combination server-switch hardware appliance based on dual-socket Intel Xeon Scalable processors, supporting up to 28 cores (56 threads) per socket. The switch system includes 48 SFP28 (25 GbE) and 6 QSFP28 (100 GbE) network ports, all contained within a single 1RU chassis form-factor. Accton said its Intel Xeon Purley platform increases CPU capacity and performance for virtual machine consolidation and density, as well as boosting memory bandwidth (six channels).

Advantech

Advantech has introduced two new platforms: a 2U dual socket network appliance and a single socket, short depth 1U server, both based on the new Intel Xeon Scalable Processors. The scalability of the dual socket appliance increases significantly, with up to 12 more cores per CPU than on the previous generation appliance. The company noted performance advances in the throughput of encrypted packets using the latest Intel QuickAssist Technology, now available in the chipset, to perform IPsec encryption and decryption. During tests at Intel Labs, a server configured with an Intel Xeon Platinum Processor 8160 showed an increase of up to 1.32 times higher performance, demonstrating what both platforms will be able to deliver to help meet demands for higher encrypted data throughput and VPN density while freeing up slots for more I/O and offload.

Cisco

Cisco launched a new generation of servers and software based on Intel's latest Xeon Scalable Platform processors and a unique Cisco system-level vision for the future of IT. The Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) M5 generation seeks to extend the power and simplicity of unified computing for data-intensive workloads, applications at the edge, and the next generation of distributed application architectures. The latest UCS Director 6.5 management software allows data centre professionals to complete 80% of operational tasks from a single console. A Workload Optimization Manager, powered by Turbonomic and which is deeply integrated into the UCS hardware, uses intent-based analytics to continuously match workload demand to infrastructure supply across on premise and multi-cloud environments. The company says the Cisco UCS can reduce administration and management costs by up to 63% while accelerating the delivery of new application services by up to 83%.

Dell EMC

Dell EMC launched the 14th generation of its PowerEdge servers featuring the new processors and a cyber-resilient architecture with a deep root of trust, including cryptographically trusted booting.

Ericsson

Highlighting the new Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Ericsson published a whitepaper 'Industrialising Network Functions Virtualisation with Software-Defined Infrastructure'. Topics discussed include Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK), which is a set of software libraries for accelerating packet processing workloads on commodity off-the-shelf hardware platforms.

The Fast Data Project

FD.io or Fido, a collaborative open source project that aims to establish a high-performance IO services framework for dynamic computing environments, announced significant performance gains reaching terabit levels at multimillion route scale. Architectural improvement increases in latest Xeon Scalable processors - such as increased PCIe bandwidth - allow FD.io to double its performance at scale without modification to the software. FD.io said it is the only vSwitch for which performance scaling is IO bound rather than CPU bound.

Fujitsu

Fujitsu launched a multi-node server that combines the density of blade-like servers with the simplicity of rack-based systems. The newly-refreshed range of dual- and quad-socket PRIMERGY servers and octo-socket PRIMEQUEST business critical server systems are designed for the new Xeon Scalable processors. Technical features include enhanced DDR4 memory modules and up to 6 TB capacity in quad socket PRIMERGY server. Fujitsu said its PRIMEQUEST server pushes the performance envelope of SAP HANA up to 12 TB of the in-memory database.

Nokia

Nokia introduced a refreshed AirFrame Data Center solution based on the Xeon Scalable Processors. Nokia said it has worked closely with Intel over the past year during the Intel Xeon Scalable processor development process and has just completed its own benchmarking of the new design. The results show a performance improvement over the previous generation Intel Xeon processor E5-26xxv4, with an average gain of 40% in processor rate performance.

Radisys

Radisys announced support for the new Xeon Scalable processors in its DCEngine, which helps communication service providers to transform their central offices into hyperscale SDN-enabled virtualised data centres. Radisys said its DCEngine’s management software suite, delivered with Intel Rack Scale Design, simplifies data centre resource management by enabling an open management framework with dynamic resource allocation, intelligent policy profiling and real-time, granular insight into compute, storage and network resources. The company estimates that CSPs leveraging DCEngine in data centres can expect significant improvements in total cost of ownership through reduced real estate footprint by 55%, which can result in up to 35% cost savings over a period of three years, as well as substantial reduction in costs associated with power consumption, hardware and software support.

ZTE

ZTE has launched a 2-socket cloud application rack server R5300 G4, 4-socket high-reliability rack server R8500 G4, hyperconverged blade server E9000 and software-defined storage KS10000.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Intel Debuts its Xeon Scalable Platform

In what it called its “biggest data center launch in a decade”, Intel officially unveiled its Xeon Scalable platform, a new line of server CPUs based codenamed Skylake and specifically designed for evolving data center and network infrastructure.

The new silicon, which Intel has been refining for the past five years, promises the highest core and system-level performance averaging 1.65x higher performance over the prior generation.  First shipments went out several months ago and are now in commercial use at over 30 customers worldwide, including AT&T, Amazon Web Services and Google.  Intel says every aspect of Xeon has been improved or redesigned: brand new core, cache, on-die interconnects, memory controller and hardware accelerators.

Intel’s new processors scale up to 28 cores and will be offered in four classes: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The design boasts six memory channels versus four memory channels of previous generation for memory-intensive workloads. Up to three Intel Ultra Path Interconnect (Intel UPI) channels provide increase scalability of the platform to as many as eight sockets.

Intel claims 4.2X greater VM capacity than its previous generation and a 65% lower total cost of ownership over a 4-year old server.  Potentially you might need only one quarter of the number of servers. For communication service providers, the claim is that the new Xeon Gold will deliver a 2.7X performance boost for DPDK L3 forwarding applications over a 4-year old server.



Key innovations in Xeon Scalable Platform

  • Intel Mesh on-chip interconnect topology provides direct data paths with lower latency and high bandwidth among additional cores, memory, and I/O controllers. The Mesh architecture, which replaces a previous ring interconnect design, aligns cores, on-chip cache banks, memory controllers, and I/O controllers, which are organized in rows and columns, with wires and switches connecting them at each intersection to allow for turns. Intel said this new design yields improved performance and greater energy efficiency.

    More specifically, in a 28-core Intel Xeon Scalable processor, the Last Level Cache (LLC), six memory channels, and 48 PCIe channels are shared among all the cores, giving access to large resources across the entire die a
  • Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel AVX-512), which delivers ultra-wide vector processing capabilities to boost specific workload performance, now offers double the flops per clock cycle compared to the previous generation.  Intel AVX2,6 Intel AVX-512 boosts performance and throughput for computational tasks such as modeling and simulation, data analytics and machine learning, data compression, visualization, and digital content creation.
  • Intel Omni-Path Architecture (Intel OPA) is the high-bandwidth and low-latency fabric that Intel has been talking about for some time. It optimizes HPC clusters, and is available as an integrated extension for the Intel Xeon Scalable platform. Intel said Omni-Path now scales to tens of thousands of nodes. The processors can also be matched with the new Intel Optane SSDs.
  • Intel QuickAssist Technology (Intel QAT) provides hardware acceleration for compute-intensive workloads, such as cryptography and data compression, by offloading the functions to a specialized logic engine (integrated into the chipset). This frees the processor for other workload operations. Encryption can be applied to data at rest, in-flight, or data in use.  Intel claims that performance is degraded by under 1 percent when encryption is turned on. This function used to be off-chip.
  • Enhanced Intel Run Sure Technology, which aims to reduce server downtime, includes reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features. New capabilities include Local Machine Check Exception based Recovery (or Enhanced Machine Check Architecture Recovery Gen 3) for protecting critical data.

Aiming for the megatrends

In a webcast presentation, Navin Shenoy, Exec Vice President & General Manager, Intel’s Data Center Group, said that as traditional industries turn to technology to reinvent themselves, there are three megatrends that Intel is pursuing: Cloud, AI & Analytics, and 5G.  The new Xeon Scalable Platform addresses the performance, security and agility challenges for each of these megatrends.

AT&T’s John Donovan testifies, performance boost about 30%

During the big Xeon Scalable unveiling, Intel invited AT&T’s John Donovan on stage to talk about the new processors/ AT&T gained access to the new processors a few months ago and has already deployed Xeon Scalable servers which are carrying production traffic.  Donovan reported about at 30% performance boost for its applications over the previous Xeon generation. The net effect he said should be a 25% reduction in the number of servers it will need to deploy.  Intel has been seeding the process with other top customers as well.

This 30% performance boost is certainly good, but it is probably a stretch to call this upgrade “the biggest data center announcement in a decade.” For other applications, perhaps the claim is better justified. One such area is machine learning, which Intel identifies as one of the key megatrends for the industry. There are some interesting developments for Xeons in this domain.

A strong market position

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is the first public cloud to put the Intel Xeon Scalable Platform into commercial operation. A partnership between Google and Intel was announced earlier this year at a Google event where the companies said they are collaborating in other areas as well, including hybrid cloud orchestration, security, machine and deep learning, and IoT edge-to-cloud solutions. Intel is also a backer of Google’s Tensor Flow and Kubernetes open source initiatives.

In May 2016, Google announced the development of a custom ASIC for Tensor Flow processing. These TPUs are already in service in Google data centres where they "deliver an order of magnitude better-optimized performance per watt for machine learning." For Intel, this poses a long-term strategic threat.  With this announcement, Intel said Xeon’s onboard advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel AVX-512) can increase machine learning inference performance by over 100x – a huge boost for AI developers.

The data centre server market is currently dominated by Intel.  Over the years, there have been several attempts by ARM to gain at least a toe-hold of market share in data centre servers, but so far, the impact has been very limited.  AMD recently announced its EPYC processor for data centre servers, but no shipment date has been stated and the current market position is zero. NVIDIA has been gaining traction in AI applications as well as in public cloud acceleration for GPU intensive applications – but these are specialized use cases.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Time to Register for IEEE Women in Engineering Leadership Conference



We often have the skills to be makers of innovative products, to teach or inspire our kids, but often we have trouble getting started.

In this video, Natalia Baklitskaya, CAD Infrastructure Software Engineer at Intel's Programmable Solutions Group, talks about her upcoming workshop at the the IEEE Women in Engineering Leadership Conference, which will be held May 22-23, 2017 at the San Jose Convention Center.

Join your industry colleagues and reserve your spot, register here: http://bit.ly/2r3v8RU

Can't attend the full 2017 WIE ILC event? Register to attend Tuesday s Career Fair or Networking Reception Monday evening here: http://bit.ly/2qmOOTP


Monday, April 17, 2017

Intel Developer Forum 2017 is Cancelled

Intel has canceled its annual Intel Developer Forum, which was scheduled for August in San Francisco.

In comments to Anandtech, Intel said the event had simply grown too large especially given its move into autonomous driving and artificial intelligence.

IDF has been held annually since 1997.  A spring IDF 2017 in China was also canceled.

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/intel-developer-forum-idf/san-francisco/2017/idf-2017-san-francisco.html

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Intel Appoints Aicha Evans as Chief Strategy Officer

Intel appointed Aicha S. Evans as chief strategy officer, responsible for long-term strategy to transform from a PC-centric company to a data-centric company, as well as leading rapid decision making and company-wide execution of the strategy.

Evans is an Intel senior vice president and has been responsible for wireless communications for the past nine years. Most recently, she was the general manager of the Communication and Devices Group. Evans joined Intel in 2006 and is based in Santa Clara, California.

http://www.intel.com

Friday, March 24, 2017

Intel Adds Two to its Board of Directors

Intel announced the election of Omar Ishrak and Greg Smith to its board of directors.

Ishrak, 61, is the chairman and chief executive officer of Medtronic, a global leader in medical technology.  Smith, 50, is the chief financial officer and executive vice president of corporate development and strategy at Boeing.

http://www.intel.com

Monday, March 13, 2017

Intel to Acquire Mobileye for $15.3 Billion - Automated Driving

Intel agreed to acquire Mobileye, a developer of machine vision systems for automated driving, for $63.54 per share in cash, representing a fully-diluted equity value of approximately $15.3 billion and an enterprise value of $14.7 billion. The acquisition will couple the best-in-class technologies from both companies, including Intel’s high-performance computing and connectivity expertise and Mobileye’s leading computer vision expertise to create automated driving solutions from the cloud through the network to the car.

Mobileye, which is based in Israel, claims the leading market position in computer vision for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Its portfolio includes surround vision, sensor fusion, mapping, and driving policy products. Mobileye's EyeQ chips are already installed in ~16M vehicles as of 2016. Its upcoming EyeQ4 and EyeQ5 chips for Level 3/4 autonomous driving programs go into production in 2018 and 2020 respectively. Mobileye currently has OEM relationships with GM, VW, Honda, BMW, PSA, Audi, Kia, Nissan, Volvo, Ford, Renault, Chrysler, SAIC and Hyundai. Mobileye reported 2016 revenue of $358 million and gross margin of 76%.  The company has approximately 660 employees.

Intel said the merger will accelerate innovation for the automotive industry and position Intel as a leading technology provider in the fast-growing market for highly and fully autonomous vehicles.  Intel estimates the vehicle systems, data and services market opportunity to be up to $70 billion by 2030.

“This acquisition is a great step forward for our shareholders, the automotive industry and consumers,” said Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO. “Intel provides critical foundational technologies for autonomous driving including plotting the car’s path and making real-time driving decisions. Mobileye brings the industry’s best automotive-grade computer vision and strong momentum with automakers and suppliers. Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving with improved performance in a cloud-to-car solution at a lower cost for automakers."

Intel also noted that it expects by 2020 autonomous vehicles will generate 4,000 GB of data per day.

http://intelandmobileye.transactionannouncement.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Intel-to-Acquire-Mobileye-.pdf

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Alibaba Looks to Intel FPGAs for Cloud Acceleration Service

Alibaba Cloud (Aliyun), is kicking off a pilot program with Intel for a cloud-based FPGA (field programmable gate array) acceleration service.

Specifically, Aliyun will use Intel Arria 10 FPGAs, Intel Xeon processor-based servers and software development tools for application acceleration as a ready-to-go preconfigured infrastructure.  The Aliyun service offers systems designers cloud-based workload acceleration as an alternative to investing in on-premises FPGA infrastructure.

“At Alibaba Cloud, we offer customers access to a number of services in the cloud, and adding an FPGA-based acceleration offering means they can access that powerful computing without the cost or requirement of building out their own infrastructure,” said Jin Li, senior director, Alibaba Cloud. “This service greatly adds to our value as a leading provider of highly scalable cloud computing and data management services that provide businesses with flexible, reliable connectivity.”

“Intel FPGAs are enabling exciting new business models such as Alibaba’s approach of using FPGAs to accelerate diverse workloads via cloud services,” said Dan McNamara, corporate vice president and general manager, Intel Programmable Solutions Group. “In addition, Intel offers customers scalable solutions for accelerated computing with its data center leadership in Intel Xeon processors, FPGAs, optimized tools and software, and a global partner ecosystem across the spectrum of deployment models.”

http://www.intel.com

Monday, February 13, 2017

Intel: Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky

IT professionals are gaining trust in public cloud services, according to the second annual cloud security report from Intel Security, which surveyed more than 2,000 participants. The finding validates an overall perception that confidence in public cloud services continues to improve year over year. Those who trust public clouds now outnumber those who distrust public clouds by more than 2-to-1.

“The ‘Cloud First’ strategy is now well and truly ensconced into the architecture of many organizations across the world,” said Raj Samani, EMEA chief technology officer, Intel Security. “The desire to move quickly toward cloud computing appears to be on the agenda for most organizations. This year, the average time before respondents thought their IT budgets would be 80 percent cloud-based was 15 months, indicating that Cloud First for many companies is progressing and remains the objective.”

Some key findings:

  • Shadow IT - due to the ease of procurement, almost 40 percent of cloud services are now commissioned without the involvement of IT
  • Visibility of these Shadow IT services has dropped from about 50 percent last year to just under 47 percent this year. As a result, 65 percent of IT professionals think this phenomenon is interfering with their ability to keep the cloud safe and secure. 
  • The number of organizations using private cloud only has dropped from 51 percent to 24 percent over the past year, while hybrid cloud use has increased from 19 percent to 57 percent. 
  • On average, 52 percent of an organization’s data center servers are virtualized, 80 percent are using containers and most expect to have the conversion to a fully software-defined data center completed within two years.
  • User credentials, especially for administrators, will be the most likely form of attack. Organizations need to ensure they are using authentication best practices, such as distinct passwords, multi-factor authentication and even biometrics where available.
  • Security technologies such as data loss prevention, encryption and cloud access security brokers (CASBs) remain underutilized. Integrating these tools with an existing security system increases visibility, enables discovery of shadow services, and provides options for automatic protection of sensitive data at rest and in motion throughout any type of environment.
  • Organizations need to evolve toward a risk management and mitigation approach to information security. They should consider adopting a Cloud First strategy to encourage adoption of cloud services to reduce costs and increase flexibility, and put security operations in a proactive position instead of a reactive one.

http://www.mcafee.com/cloudsecurityreport

Intel Previews Cyclone FPGAs

Intel introduced its Cyclone 10 family of field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) aimed at automotive, industrial automation, pro audio visual and vision systems applications.

The company said the new Cyclone 10 GX is unique among other low-cost FPGAs as it can support 10G transceivers and hard floating point DSP (digital signal processing). It offers 2-times the performance increase over the previous generation of Cyclone. The architectural innovation in the implementation of IEEE 754 single-precision hardened floating-point DSP blocks can enable processing rates up to 134 GFLOPs (giga floating-point operations per second). This is important for engineers needing higher performance using the FPGA for applications such as motion or motor control systems.

The Cyclone 10 FPGA family will be available in the second half of 2017, along with evaluation kits and boards, and the latest version of Quartus, the Intel FPGA programming software.

http://www.intel.com


  • Intel completed its acquisition of Altera in January 2016. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Intel’s $7 Billion Fab 42 Targets 7nm Manufacturing

Intel announced plans to invest more than $7 billion to complete Fab 42 in Chandler, Arizona.

Fab 42 is expected to be the most advanced semiconductor factory in the world with its targeted 7 nanometer (nm) manufacturing process within the next 3 to 4 years.

“Intel’s business continues to grow and investment in manufacturing capacity and R&D ensures that the pace of Moore’s law continues to march on, fueling technology innovations the world loves and depends on,” said Brian Krzanich, Intel's CEO. “This factory will help the U.S. maintain its position as the global leader in the semiconductor industry.”

http://www.intel.com

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Intel Sends Swarm of 300 Shooting Star Drones to Super Bowl

During the Super Bowl Halftime Show, three hundred Intel Shooting Star drones performed a choreographed aerial show. The sequence, which was pre-recorded, was the first time drones were used to complement an entertainment act at this scale.

All 300 drones were be controlled by one computer and one drone pilot. The FAA granted special permission for the fleet to fly up to 700 feet. Intel also received an additional special waiver to fly
the drones in the more restrictive class B airspace.

Intel said its software automated "the animation creation process by using a reference image, quickly calculating the number of drones needed, determining where drones should be placed, and formulating the fastest path to create the image in the sky.

https://newsroom.intel.com/news-releases/intel-drones-light-lady-gaga-performance-pepsi-zero-sugar-super-bowl-li-halftime/


Monday, January 30, 2017

Intel Promotes Aicha Evans

Intel has promoted Aicha S. Evans from corporate vice president to senior vice president. She is general manager of the Communication and Devices Group at Intel and is responsible for driving wireless communications for all Intel platforms. Evans joined Intel in 2006, was elected to corporate vice president in 2014, and is based in Santa Clara, California.

Intel also announced the promotion of Steven R. Rodgers from senior vice president to executive vice president. He is general counsel of Intel and leads Intel’s Law and Policy Group. Rodgers joined Intel in 2000, was elected senior vice president in 2015, and is based in Santa Clara, Calif.

In addition, Leslie S. Culbertson was promoted from corporate vice president and director of finance to senior vice president and director of human resources. She will oversee all of Intel’s human resource functions and policies. Culbertson joined Intel in 1979, was elected to corporate vice president and director of finance in 2003, and is based in Hillsboro, Oregon.

http://www.intelcom

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Intel Announces Global 5G Modem

Intel will begin sampling a 5G modem in the second half of 2017. The device will be capable of delivering 5G in both sub-6 GHz bands and mmWave spectrum in regions worldwide – including the United States, Europe, Korea and Japan

The modem’s baseband chip pairs with a new 5G transceiver that enables both sub-6 Ghz and mmWave capabilities. The chipset incorporates key 3GPP 5G NR (new radio) technology – including low latency frame structures, advanced channel coding and massive MIMO – to deliver faster connectivity and ultra-responsiveness.

Intel said its goal is to support both early trials and to lay a foundation enabling accelerated development of products that will support the 3GPP NR specification and help drive global adoption of the 3GPP 5G standard.

https://newsroom.intel.com/editorials/intel-accelerates-the-future-with-first-global-5g-modem/

See also