Rebooting The Data Center: Intel Reveals Big Jump In Server Performance
[Intel is a sponsor of SVW]
Intel today revealed impressive benchmarks for its new Nehalem Xeon 5500 server microprocessor, calling it "transformational" in terms of it's expected effect on customer's applications.
The new chip represents a large jump in performance when used in data center applications due to integrated support for IT technologies such as virtualization and from Intel's ability to pack more transistors onto the chip using its latest 45nm manufacturing technology. It also reduces power consumption.
"This is the big one," said Pat Geslinger, senior VP at Intel. He demonstrated one Xeon 5500 based server out performing nine servers. Intel expects that the large cost savings data centers can achieve through consolidating servers and also from lower administration costs, lower power bills, represents a compelling reason for data centers to retire their old gear.
The performance and total cost of ownership numbers certainly do point towards a massive reboot by data centers installing Xeon 5500 servers, especially since current economic conditions are creating enormous pressure to aggressively reduce business costs. However, IT managers are very conservative and it can take many months for them to qualify a system and make sure it works with all applications. To help speed this process, IT vendors have already seeded Nehalem based systems with large customers months ahead of today's official launch.
Dell, HP, IBM, Cisco Systems, and many other IT vendors today announced Xeon 5500 based servers.
The high performance provided by the Nehalem microprocessor architecture makes the chip more competitive with RISC based microprocessors such as Sun Microsystems SPARC and IBM's POWER microprocessors. Nearly half of the server market is RISC based. This represents a massive market opportunity.
It is this threat to the RISC server market that could be behind reports that Sun has been actively seeking a buyer for the past few months. It is very expensive to maintain a roadmap for SPARC that keeps pace with Intel's performance improvements in its server family.
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Intel highlighted some performance benchmarks, looked at specific servers, compared the performance against the previous generation chip, and found performance benchmarks that increased by more than 150 percent in some cases.
The company also pointed to enhancements in the memory subsystem, as well as the I/O subsystems. And it made note of the improvements that will enhance virtualization benchmarks.