Intel Xeon E5-2600, a Better Traffic Cop for the Cloud

Diane Bryant, Intel vice president and general manager of the Datacenter and Connected Systems Group, launching the new Xeon E5-2600 processor family with integrated I/O.

Reporters took a close look at a data-streaming session in progress, powered by Xeon E5-2600.

On March 6, as commuters in the West Coast begrudgingly joined the morning’s rush hour traffic, Intel unveiled what could be the solution to heavy traffic in the Cloud.

At 9 AM Pacific, Diane Bryant, the newly appointed vice president and general manager of Intel’s Datacenter and Connected Systems Group, took the stage at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, California) to launch the Intel Xeon E5-2600 family, described by Intel as “the heart of a flexible, efficient data center.”

“The growth in cloud computing and connected devices is transforming the way businesses benefit from IT products and services,” said Bryant. “For businesses to capitalize on these innovations, the industry must address unprecedented demand for efficient, secure and high-performing data center infrastructure. The Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family is designed to address these challenges by offering unparalleled, balanced performance across compute, storage and network, while reducing operating costs.”

One of the biggest changes that comes with the new processors is its I/O (input/output) delivery. Xeon E5-2600 uses Intel Ethernet controllers and adapters to route I/O traffic directly to processor cache. This, the company claims, results in “reducing trips to system memory [and] reducing power consumption and I/O latency.” Xeon E5-2600 will support PCI-Express 3.0, which promises to “triple the movement of data into and out of the processor,” according to Intel.

The new processors are expected to “[increase] performance by up to 80 % compared to the previous-generation Intel Xeon processor 5600 series,” according to Intel. The new processors come with Advanced Vector Extension (AVX) instruction set. “These instructions double the number of floating point operations per clock,” said Bryant.

The increased I/O throughput and processing power, Intel believes, will make E5 processors ideal for those seeking to deploy cloud computing and virtualization solutions.

“Increasing bandwidth demands driven by server virtualization and data and storage network consolidation have led to strong growth in 10 Gigabit Ethernet deployments, with adapter port shipments exceeding 1 million units in each quarter of 2011,” Intel noted. The integrated controllers in Xeon E5 family, according to Intel, represents its “commitment to driving 10 Gigabit Ethernet to the mainstream by reducing implementation costs.”

Intel plans to offer the E5-2600 with 17 different parts, which range in price from $198 to $2,050 in quantities of 1,000. Additionally three single-socket Intel Xeon processor E5-1600 parts will be offered for workstations which range in price from $284 to $1,080.

Diagrams of previous generation processors' I/O setup and Intel Xeon E5's I/O setup.

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