PHOENIX—Intel has introduced a bevy of products aimed at data center customers, including 2nd-Generation Xeon Scalable processors, Intel Optane DC memory and storage solutions, and software and platform technologies it says are optimized to help companies get more value from their data. Use cases range from cloud computing and network infrastructure to intelligent edge applications. The new chips and related products are designed to support high-growth workloads, including artificial intelligence and 5G.
“We are offering specific solutions like analytics and artificial intelligence for the data center with the right set of hardware enterprises need to be immediately deployable,” Jennifer Huffstetler, vice president of Intel’s Data Center Group, told eWEEK in a briefing here at an unrelated Intel event.
Huffstetler said the new products and refresh of Intel’s current line should be of strong interest to existing customers looking to upgrade. “Someone who bought a server five years ago is going to see a 3.5 times performance boost with just the CPU replacement. The TCO [total cost of ownership] is a tremendous benefit with everything in one box,” she said.
The new Intel Xeon 9200 processor is the first to include 56 cores and 12 memory channels and is targeted at high-end, data-intensive applications such as AI. Among other features, the 9200 includes Intel’s “Deep Learning Boost” for AI that accelerates AI inference workloads like image recognition, object detection and image segmentation within the data center, enterprise and intelligent-edge computing environments.
“We can see a 30x increase in performance using hardware and software acceleration from the last generation,” said Huffstetler.
The range of new Xeons Intel is releasing include more than 50 workload-optimized processors as well as dozens of custom processors the company said it designed as part of a set of deep engineering engagements with customers.
Another new processor, the Xeon D-1600 is designed for computing at the edge, security and storage solutions. Intel said the Xeon D-1600 is a highly integrated system on chip (SoC) designed for dense environments where power and space are limited, but per-core performance is essential. The chip giant said this next-generation SoC will help advance customers down the path to 5G as well as extend Intel’s edge computing solutions.
New Memory and Storage
On the memory and storage front, Intel said the aforementioned Optane DC persistent memory is now out of beta and is commercially available. Optane DC is a new class of memory and storage technology architected specifically for data-intensive applications that require extremely low latency, high durability and strong data consistency.
The new Intel Optane SSD DC D4800X (Dual Port) combines the performance of Intel Optane DC SSDs with the data resilience required by mission-critical, high-availability enterprise IT applications. Dual port capability adds redundancy to the data path, delivering continued data access in the event of failures or service operations and upgrades.
Intel said it expects systems with Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 processors to start shipping in the first half of 2019, with distribution ramping up in the second half of the year.
Intel also introduced its next generation of 10nm FPGAs, built to enable transformative applications in edge computing, networking (5G/NFV) and data centers. The Intel Agilex FPGA product line will offer customers application-specific optimization and customization that Intel said will bring new levels of flexibility and agility to data-intensive infrastructure.
The Data Opportunity—Process Everything
While big data and data analysis are hot areas of IT investment, Intel points to estimates that 90 percent of the world’s data was created in the past two years, but only 2 percent of it is being used.
Intel aims to be one of the key players filling that gap with a portfolio of data-centric solutions optimized to move data faster, efficiently store and access data, and process everything.
Analyst Patrick Moorhead is impressed with Intel’s rollout.
“The most interesting things for me about the new Xeons are the addition of Machine Learning capabilities (DL Boost) built into the chip where, when latency counts, is good for specific inference workloads like Recommendation Engines,” Moorhead, principal analyst with Moorhead Insights & Strategy, told eWEEK in an email. “Not too many know that CPUs already dominate ML inference usage and this just gave datacenters another reason to continue doing this for certain workloads.
“Overall, it was hard to ignore that Intel has become a full datacenter technology provider with huge investments in compute, storage and networking. It’s all-in on heterogeneous compute across CPU, GPU, FPGA and ASICs. This is the new Intel.”