Intel Integrates Server Chips to Fabric for Cloud Computing

September 24, 2012 No Comments

Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

Intel announced it is working on a new chip that will benefit cloud services and be more energy efficient, and the company also revealed a new software application that is designed to streamline finding a cloud service provider.

Companies with huge Web-serving needs buy servers in large volumes and are looking to lower energy costs while scaling performance. Fabrics in the new chips connect and facilitate low-latency data movement between processors, memory, servers and endpoints like storage and appliances. Depending on the server implementation and system topology, fabrics are flexible and can organize traffic patterns in an energy-efficient way.

The new fabric controllers will also make server communication faster, said Raj Hazra, vice president of the Intel Architecture Group, according to an article on PCWorld.

Fabric virtualizes I/O, tying together storage and networking in data centers. An integrated controller will provide a wider pipe to scale performance across distributed computing environments, offering bandwidth of more than 100 gigabytes per second. The chips have enough transistors to accommodate the controllers, which will only add a few watts of power draw.

Analytics and databases demand in-memory processing, and cloud services rely on a congregation of low-power processors and shared components in dense servers. An integrated controller will help fabrics intelligently reroute or pre-fetch data and software packets so shared endpoints work together to serve up faster results. HPC or high-end server environments may use a fabric with a mix of InfiniBand, Ethernet networking and proprietary interconnect technologies, while a cloud implementation may have microservers with fabric based on standard Ethernet and PCI-Express technologies.

The integrated fabric controller will appear in the company’s Xeon server chips in a few years. Hazra didn’t provide a specific date, but said the company has the manufacturing capability in place to bring the controller to the transistor layer.

Intel also announced a new “matchmaking” software application called Cloud Finder, designed to speed the search and selection of cloud service providers.

While IT decision-makers want to adopt cloud computing, selecting a cloud service provider can be challenging. Cloud Finder helps to simplify that process with online tools and resources that can reduce a lengthy search process, and share information on best practices and strategies for deploying a public cloud, according to Intel.

Intel is collaborating with leading cloud services providers to offer an extensive assessment of their services against key criteria such as security, usability, quality, availability, technology and the specific business aspects of their offering.

The program recently went live to the public, enabling enterprise IT decision-makers to use the information for research, comparison and procurement of public cloud services for their businesses.

The program is well under way, with 14 major cloud-service providers, including Rackspace, already on board.

Patrick Intel Integrates Server Chips to Fabric for Cloud ComputingPatrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

CLOUD COMPUTING, Fresh Ink

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