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

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Intel outlines its 5G radio modem portfolio

Intel outlined its product roadmap for 5G silicon. First up is Intel XMM 8000 series, a family of 5G new radio (5G NR) multi-mode commercial modems, and the Intel XMM 7660 LTE modem.

Highlights of Intel’s wireless roadmap:

  • Intel XMM 8000 series: will operate in both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave global spectrum bands. Intel is aiming to enable a range of devices to connect to 5G, including PC, phones, fixed wireless consumer premise equipment (CPE) and vehicles.
  • Intel XMM 8060: will offer multi-mode support for the full 5G non-standalone and standalone NR, as well as various 2G, 3G (including CDMA) and 4G legacy modes. It is expected to ship in commercial customer devices in mid-2019. Intel is targetting broad deployment of 5G networks in 2020.
  • Intel XMM 7660: Intel’s latest LTE modem delivers Cat-19 capabilities, supports speeds up to 1.6 Gbps, and features advanced multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO), carrier aggregation and a broad range of band support. It will ship in commercial devices in 2019.

Intel also announced it has successfully completed a full end-to-end 5G call based on its early 5G silicon over the 28GHz band. Intel says it is participating in dozens of 5G trials around the world.

“Intel is committed to delivering leading 5G multi-mode modem technology and making sure the transition to 5G is smooth,” said Dr. Cormac Conroy, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Communication and Devices Group. “Our investments in a full portfolio of modem technologies and products are critical to achieving the vision of seamless 5G connectivity.”

Monday, November 6, 2017

Intel partners with AMD on Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge for GPUs

Intel announced a partnership with AMD to tie together its high-performance processors with discrete graphics processors using the Intel Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) technology along with a new power-sharing framework.
The goal is to reduce the usual silicon footprint to less than half that of standard discrete components on a motherboard.

The first implementation matches the new 8th Gen Intel Core Core H-series processor, second generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2) and a custom-to-Intel third-party discrete graphics chip from AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group – all in a single processor package.

“Our collaboration with Intel expands the installed base for AMD Radeon GPUs and brings to market a differentiated solution for high-performance graphics,” said Scott Herkelman, vice president and general manager, AMD Radeon Technologies Group. “Together we are offering gamers and content creators the opportunity to have a thinner-and-lighter PC capable of delivering discrete performance-tier graphics experiences in AAA games and content creation applications. This new semi-custom GPU puts the performance and capabilities of Radeon graphics into the hands of an expanded set of enthusiasts who want the best visual experience possible.”

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Intel sees record revenue for data center, IoT and memory

Intel reported Q3 revenue og $16.1 billion and record operating income and record earnings per share (EPS), driven by strong data-centric growth, expanding operating margins and gains on the sale of equity investments. The company cited record revenues for its data center, Internet of Things and memory businesses. Gross margin for Q3 was 62.3%, down from 63.3% a year earlier.

"We executed well in the third quarter with strong results across the business, and we’re on track to a record year,”said Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO. “I’m excited about our progress and our future. Intel’s product line-up is the strongest it has ever been with more innovation on the way for artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and more.”

For its Data Center Group, sales to Cloud/Communication Service Provides now accounts for 60% of revenue, up from 35% in 2013.



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Intel ships Stratix 10 FPGA with ARM Cortex-A53

Intel has begun shipping a high-end FPGA family with an integrated quad-core ARM Cortex-A53. 

The ARM-based Intel Stratix 10 FPGA, which packs more than 1 million logic elements (MLE) with an integrated ARM processor, could serve multiple application categories, such as 5G wireless communication, software defined radios, secure computing for military applications, network function virtualization (NFV), and data center acceleration.

For NFV, Intel said its new FPGA can handle the high-speed data path while the integrated processors enable low latency transactions needed to manage flow tables for control plane processing. With hardware acceleration, Intel Stratix 10 SX FPGAs provide a heterogeneous computing environment to create optimized, low latency accelerators.

“With Stratix 10 SX, Intel reaffirms its ‘all in’ commitment to SoC FPGA devices combining integrated, flexible ARM cores with high-performance Intel Stratix® 10 FPGAs,” said Reynette Au, vice president of marketing, Intel Programmable Solutions Group. “We now provide a wide set of options for customer needing processors and FPGAs, with device offerings across the low-end, mid-range and now, high-end FPGA families, to enable their system designs.”

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Intel Capital invests $60M in 15 start-ups

Intel Capital announced new investments in 15 start-ups from the United States, Canada, China, Israel and Japan. The investments total more than $60 million. Areas of focus for these ventures include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and autonomous machines.

Intel noted that this latest group of new portfolio companies brings its year-to-date investing to more than $566 million.


Analyzing Data
Amenity Analytics -- a text analytics platform that allows customers to identify actionable signals from unstructured data. (New York, New York)
Bigstream -- provides hyper-acceleration technology that delivers orders of magnitude performance gains for Apache Spark using hardware and software accelerators.  (Mountain View, California) 
LeapMind -- makes learning with deep neural networks “small and compact” for easy use in any environment.  (Tokyo, Japan) 
Synthego -- is a leading provider of genome engineering solutions. The company’s product portfolio includes software and synthetic RNA kits designed for CRISPR genome editing and research.  (Redwood City, California) 
Capturing Data
AdHawk Microsystems -- developed a camera-free eye tracking system that enables truly mobile data capture and paves the way for a new generation of highly immersive AR/VR experiences.  (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada) 
Trace -- a sports artificial intelligence company working in the domains of soccer, mountain sports and water sports.  (Los Angeles, California)  
Bossa Nova Robotics --  autonomous service robots for the global retail industry (San Francisco, California) 
EchoPixel --  develops 3D medical visualization software (Mountain View, California) 
Managing Data
Horizon Robotics -- provides integrated and open embedded artificial intelligence solutions of high performance, low power and low cost.  (
Reniac -- solves IO bottlenecks resulting in latency reduction and increased throughput for critical workloads in public cloud, hybrid and on-premise data centers without software changes to existing applications. The company’s Distributed Data Engine is architected to benefit databases, file systems, networking and storage solutions while freeing more CPU resources to creating business value.  (Mountain View, California) 
TileDB Inc -- a novel system for managing massive, multidimensional array data that frequently arise from scientific applications.  (Cambridge, Massachusetts) 
Securing Data
Alcide --  a network security platform for any combination of container, VM and bare metal data centers operated by multiple orchestration systems. (Tel Aviv, Israel) 
Eclypsium --  provides technology that helps organizations defend their systems against firmware, hardware and supply chain attacks. The company offers organizations improved visibility for monitoring systems in their infrastructure for firmware threats and supply chain compromise, detection of firmware vulnerabilities, and improved firmware update management in endpoint systems and servers. (Portland, Oregon) 
Intezer  -- develops cybersecurity solutions that apply biological immune system concepts to the cyberspace, creating the world’s first “Code Genome Database,” by mapping billions of small fragments of malicious and trusted software. (Tel Aviv, Israel) 
Synack --  provides customers a scalable, continuous, hacker-powered testing platform that uncovers security vulnerabilities that often remain undetected by traditional penetration testers and scanners.  (Redwood City, California)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Intel builds 17-qubit superconducting quantum chip

Intel announced a major advance in quantum computing: the delivery of a 17-qubit superconducting test chip for quantum computing to QuTech, Intel’s quantum research partner in the Netherlands.

Intel developed the chip using a mnew architecture allowing improved reliability, thermal performance and reduced radio frequency (RF) interference between qubits.
The design leverages a scalable interconnect scheme that allows for 10 to 100 times more signals into and out of the chip as compared to wirebonded chips.

Intel said the successful fabrication of a quantum computing chip underscores the importance of material science and semiconductor manufacturing in realizing the promise of quantum computing.

“Our quantum research has progressed to the point where our partner QuTech is simulating quantum algorithm workloads, and Intel is fabricating new qubit test chips on a regular basis in our leading-edge manufacturing facilities,” said Dr. Michael Mayberry, corporate vice president and managing director of Intel Labs. “Intel’s expertise in fabrication, control electronics and architecture sets us apart and will serve us well as we venture into new computing paradigms, from neuromorphic to quantum computing.”






Intel joins Open Neural Network Exchange

Intel has joined the Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX), which was first announced last month by Microsoft and Facebook to give users more choice in AI frameworks.

Currently, the ONNX format is supported by Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit, Caffe2 and PyTorch. Microsoft’s FPGA-based Project Brainwave will also support ONNX.

Intel said it is participating in the project to provide greater flexibility to the developer community by giving access to the most suitable tools for each unique AI project and the ability to easily switch between frameworks and tools.
 center.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

In Memorium: Paul S. Otellini, 1950 – 2017

Paul Otellini, who served as the fifth CEO of Intel from 2005 to 2012, passed away in his sleep Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, at the age of 66.

Otellini, who joined Intel in 1974 and rose through the ranks, is remembered for many accomplishments at the company. He successfully guided Intel through many technology and market transitions, including the financial turmoil of 2008. Intel noted that in the last full year before Otellini was named CEO, its revenue was $34 billion; by 2012, the number had grown to $53 billion. During his tenure, Intel won the Apple PC business and expanded its presence in security, software and mobile communications. As Intel CEO, Otellini was preceded by Craig Barrett and succeeded by Brian Krzanich.

During his retirement, Otellini was active in several philanthropic and charitable organizations, including the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco General Hospital Foundation. He is survived by his wife, Sandy; his son, Patrick; and his daughter, Alexis.

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

See also