Intel's launch Tuesday of the latest model Xeon server processors featured testimonials from several early adopters of the E5-2600 line, who lauded the performance and security of systems powered by the new processors.
Representatives from Dreamworks, BMW and several other companies highlighted their use of the CPUs, which are designed for servers used to support cloud and other bandwidth intensive data center applications.
BMW Group Vice President for IT infrastructure Mario Mueller told journalists that his company requires high performance in several areas.
"We have huge HPC clusters in our company," he said. These are used for crash simulation and computer-aided design - both of which need plenty of processing power.
Mueller added that the automaker offers in-car teleservices like tracking, navigation and even real-time traffic data. While these currently require a negligible daily amount of I/O capability, the BMW executive said he expects the services to demand up to a terabyte of data per day in the future - something the streamlined I/O framework advertised by Intel with the new processor line could be better able to handle.
Part of the reason for this, according to Intel director Nazeem Noordeen, is the improvement the company has made to the I/O channel in order to cope with its new 10Gigabit Ethernet capability.
While earlier chipsets used a separate I/O hub to handle information moving to and from the processor, the E5-2600 series integrates that feature directly into the core itself, dramatically reducing lag created by the process.
Noordeen said the processor is now the primary destination for network traffic, which is why allowing the Ethernet controller to talk directly to the processor cache is an important innovation.
"This also helps keep the memory in a low-power state because we're not using memory when it's not needed," he added.
Derek Chan, head of global technology operations at Dreamworks Animation, said adoption of the new Xeon E5 processors had "huge and fantastic results for us," noting that the company had seen a 35% performance boost to the speed at which its servers are able to render the complex 3D graphics used in its movies.
Arguably the most ringing endorsement, however, came from Expedient Communications systems engineering and product development vice president Alex Rodriguez. The cloud executive said that improved AES-NI technology in the Intel processors allowed his company to implement robust encryption and handle workloads from clients with high security requirements without compromising performance.
What's more, Rodriguez added, Expedient had been able to capitalize on the aforementioned I/O improvements made by Intel, gaining a 150% increase in available server bandwidth.
These chips, which power the company's Romley server platform, represent a major improvement over Intel's current technology. Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst Richard Fichera recently told Network World that this advance, coupled with progress made by server manufacturers such as Dell, IBM and HP, could put pressure on Intel's chief competitor, AMD.
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