SAN FRANCISOIntel Corp. Monday (Sept. 15) announced seven new 45-nm multicore Xeon 7400 processors aimed at high-end servers.
The Xeon 7400 devices feature up to six processor cores per chip and 16 MB of shared cache memory. Intel (Santa Clara, Calif.) said applications built for virtualized environments and data demanding workloadssuch as databases, business intelligence, enterprise resource planning and server consolidationexperience performance increases of almost 50 percent in some cases compared with the previous generation Xeon 7300 chips. The products offer frequencies up to 2.66 GHz, Intel said.
Tom Kilroy, vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, told reporters gathered at a media event here Monday that Xeon 7400 devices also offer about 10 percent less power consumption than the 7300s.
Kilroy also said that Xeon 7400 devices will support the next-generation of server virtualization deployments. Going forward, virtualization will move beyond the current top usage model, server consolidation, to "virtualization 2.0," which will entail usage models that support high availability, fail over, disaster recovery, load balancing and optimizing server maintenance and downtime. "These are some of the usage models that are bcoming more and more important and increasingly being considered by IT departments," Kilroy said.
Intel is offering three low-voltage versions of the Xeon 7400, compared with just one offered for the 7300, as power efficiency becomes a more important issue even in the high-end server segment, "where performance is king," Kilroy said.
The devices advertise power levels down to 50 watts, including the a six-core, x86 compatible 65-watt version which translates to just under 11 watts per processor core. Kilroy said the 7400s offer the lowest watts-per-core usage of any device in their category.
In a panel discussion of end users following Kilroy's announcement, Richard Buckingham, vice president of tech operations at MySpace, said power efficiency is increasingly becoming an issue because, in most data centers, his company enforces a limit of six kilowatts per server rack, meaning many racks cannot be completely filled. This, he said, leads to a lot of wasted space within data centers.
"The one sort of fixed factor for us in our data centers is power," Buckingham said. "Power efficiencies and performance are direct capital costs and direct operational costs." Buckingham noted that the operational costs of running a server over its lifetime often exceed its original purchase price.
Platforms based Xeon 7400 processors can scale up to 16 processor sockets to deliver servers with up to 96 processing cores inside, Intel said. Xeon 7400 processors are compatible with Xeon 7300 series platforms and the 7300 chipset with memory capacity up to 256GB, Intel said.
The Xeon 7400s also employ Intel's Virtualization Technology (VT) FlexMigration, enabling VM migration from previous-, present- and future-generations of Intel's Core microarchitecture-based platforms, the company said.
Intel said more than 50 systems manufacturers are expected to announced servers based on the Xeon 7400 processor series. IBM, NEC and Unisys will offer servers that scale up to 16 sockets, the company said. Software vendors are supporting 7400-based platforms with solutions enabling virtualization and scalable performance for the high-end enterprise, Intel said.
Intel said the Xeon 7400 series has set four- and eight-socket world records on benchmarks for virtualization, database, enterprise resource planning and e-commerce.