Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Intel Targets Hyperscale Data Centers with Atom C2000

Intel launched its second generation, 64-bit Intel Atom C2000 product family aimed at lightweight workloads in hyperscale data centers.

The new Intel Atom C2000, which are the first products based on the company's Silvermont micro-architecture and 22nm Tri-Gate SoC process technology, deliver significant increases in performance and energy efficiency over the previous Atom generation introduced only nine months ago. They also maintain compatibility with the existing software ecosystems.

The Atom C2000 features up to eight cores, a range of 6 to 20 Watts TDP, integrated Ethernet and support for up to 64 GB of memory.  Intel is delivering 13 specific models with customized features and accelerators that are optimized for particular lightweight workloads such as entry dedicated hosting, distributed memory caching, static web serving and content delivery. The company said this level of silicon customization enables it to expand into new markets like cold storage and entry-level networking.

The new Intel Atom configurations also offer hardware accelerators, called Intel QuickAssist Technology, that improve cryptographic performance in applications such as routers and security appliances.

Intel said that by consolidating three communications workloads – application, control and packet processing – on a common platform, a great deal of flexibility can be achieved. The Intel Atom C2000 product family, which is now shipping, has more than 50 design wins to date.

At a press event in San Francisco, Intel also introduced a new MXC silicon photonics connector that uses Corning ClearCurve optical fiber to provide rack interconnections at 1.6 Tbps at up to 300 meters.

Intel also introduced the Intel Ethernet Switch FM5224 silicon which, when can be combined with the WindRiver Open Network Software suite, enables Software Defined Networking (SDN) capabilities. Specifically, the Intel Ethernet Switch FM5224 silicon and the WindRiver software can be combined to create a 2.5 GbE, high-density, low latency, SDN Ethernet switch for microservers.  Switches using the new Intel Ethernet Switch FM5224 silicon can connect up to 64 microservers, providing up to 30 percent higher node density.

"As the world becomes more and more mobile, the pressure to support billions of devices and users is changing the very composition of datacenters," said Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Datacenter and Connected Systems Group at Intel. "From leadership in silicon and SoC design to rack architecture and software enabling, Intel is providing the key innovations that original equipment manufacturers, telecommunications equipment makers and cloud service providers require to build the datacenters of the future."

At the press event, Ericsson confirmed that it plans to use the Atom C2000 in cloud infrastructure solutions.

Microsoft and Intel alco announced a collaboration to innovate on Microsoft's next-generation RSA rack design. The goal is to bring even better utilization, economics and flexibility to Microsoft's data centers.

In July, Intel also outlined its roadmap for products based on its forthcoming 14nm process technology, which is scheduled for 2014 and beyond. These products, which are aimed at microservers, storage and network devices, will include the next generation of Intel Xeon processors E3 family (codenamed "Broadwell").  It also includes the next generation of Intel Atom processor SoCs (codenamed "Denverton").

Inside the data center, Intel's Rack Scale Architecture (RSA) promises to dramatically increase the utilization and flexibility of the datacenter by moving to pooled compute, memory and I/O resources in a rack. These resources will have shared power, cooling and rack management software.  Optical interconnects could be used a "rack fabric" uniting all these resources. Each component would be modular, enabling easy upgrade paths for compute, memory or I/O components.  Rackspace Hosting is already deploying server racks based on this RSA vision.  Rackspace is also a big backer of OpenStack.

In April 2013, Intel introduced its Open Network Platform Switch Reference Design, previously codenamed "Seacliff Trail," is based on scalable Intel processors, Intel Ethernet Switch 6700 series and the Intel Communications Chipset 89xx series.  It will include Wind River Open Network Software (ONS), an open and fully customizable network switching software stack using Wind River Linux. Wind River ONS allows for key networking capabilities such as advanced tunneling as well as modular, open control plane and management interface supporting SDN standards such as OpenFlow and Open vSwitch. Common, open programming interfaces allow for automated network management, and coordination between the server switching elements and network switches enabling more cost-effective, secure, efficient and extensible services. three platforms for software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV):


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