News from Intel Cloud Day 2016
Towards the end of last week, the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center in the heart of San Francisco was abuzz with excitement from technology enthusiasts discussing the modern data center. Intel hosted #IntelCloudDay 2016 there on March 31st.
Following are some of the exciting announcements made in the morning general session address. The big product sort of announcements were a new processor model and expanded SSD offerings. Intel also discussed their Builders program which unites ecosystem partners to explore and validate new technologies and increase the speed of innovation in data center technologies. The program is a major boon to the industry on the whole as it will open clear lines of communication between the parties that desperately need to be talking.
4th Generation Xeon E5-2600 Processors
This iteration of the flagship CPU includes some awesome upgrades, especially with regard to cloud workloads; multi-tenancy requires an additional measure of performance guarantees and security, and the E5 v4 helps meet those needs. Here are some highlights of the newest features:
- The E5 v4 line includes chip models that have up to 22 cores (44 threads)
- Compared to the v3 CPU, the v4 saw a 44% increase in performance in an Aerospace Computational Fluid Dynamics workload test that Intel performed
- Intel Resource Director Technology which allows allocation of L3 cache to specific workloads to help with guaranteed performance in a shared environment
- Enhanced encryption ability – a 70% performance improvement per core on encryption tasks
All New SSDs
The general session specifically announced 2 particularly innovative SSDs, although the launch actually includes six different options. Some notes on the two different SSD offerings:
- Intel’s first 3D NAND SSD which is a big leap forward in terms of both capacity and performance while remaining cost-conscious. 3D NAND is exciting stuff.
- This SSD implements the NVMe protocol, which is likely a major contributor to the increased speeds
- Speaking of performance, measurements indicate that there’s over 3x performance improvement over SATA SSDs.
- The P3700 (pictured below) is a dual-port SSD, meaning that it can survive a controller failure and maintain 100% of it’s performance capacity.
- The spec sheet says that (with the right workload) this SSD can deliver up to 460,000 IOPS. For reference, it would take somewhere in the vicinity of 2,300 of the fastest enterprise HDDs to deliver that kind of performance.
- They’re durable. They’re spec’ed for 17 DWPD over the course of 5 years.
The Intel Builders Programs
The Builders program is one of the most exciting parts of the announcements. The program basically means that Intel is facilitating partnership with a variety of solutions providers to collaborate on SDI innovation. There are subsets of the Builders program for Cloud, Storage, Network, and Fabric. What we can expect to see out of the program is reference architectures, solution briefs, and whitepapers on multi-vendor solutions from the ecosystem. And speaking of the ecosystem, the number of participants in the program is quite large, as you can see in the image below.
Shawna Meyer-Ravelli, who is responsible for helping get the program launched, told me that so many partners wanted to participate that she had to cut them off in order to finalize the announcement materials. One can assume that the partnerships will continue to roll in over the coming weeks and months. This is awesome for the whole industry.
As an example of the type of partnerships the Builders program will support, see this guest blog post from Irfan Ahmad about the way that CloudPhysics and Intel are partnering to further the vision of data-driven insights in the enterprise.