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Intel outlines vision for transformation of the data centre

Matthew Finnegan | Sept. 12, 2014
The enterprise data centre will be transformed by technologies such as silicon photonics, rack scale architecture and software defined systems in the near future, claims Intel, saying these technologies will help businesses meet demand for digital services.

"As you can imagine the majority of IT organisations do not have the data centre scale nor the deep engineering expertise so they can develop a next generation data centre solution like this. It is through industry collaboration and innovation that these kinds of transformation occur."

The firm has also been moving closer to the launch of its silicon photonics which will be crucial to rack scale computing, replacing copper wire and enabling 100Gbps bandwidth.

Bryant said: "Silicon photonics provides us with the interconnect that allows us to realise RSA in the sense that distance no longer matters. It means that you can deliver capacity based on the required attributes of the application versus delivering it on a preconfigured box or rack."

At IDF Intel also attempted to head off competition from rival ARM with low power chips that could be used in hyper-dense servers or rack space architectures, announcing that its Xeon D processors, based on the 14 nanometre Broadwell architecture, will launch next year.

Data centre to behave like 'human brain'

One of the major announcements at IDF 2014 was the launch of the Xeon E5 server processor. This provided enhanced CPU, memory, storage and networking capabilities from a hardware perspective, but also included features to monitor performance and alert users to oversubscribed virtual machines.

Meanwhile telemetry will allow users to monitor performance through orchestration tools, with metrics on CPU, memory and I/O utilisation, while thermal sensors will provide feedback on temperature and airflow, helping to improve efficiency.

However this is just the start, said Shannon Poulin, Intel Data Center Group vice president, with plans to connect with management tools from OpenStack, Microsoft and VMware, allowing workloads to be allocate to optimised hardware.

"Eventually the software will demand the capability to land on a piece of hardware that can accelerate its workload," he told ComputerworldUK.

"In order to do that you need both the platform to know what it is capable of, and then the software to know what it wants, with some orchestration software that can act as matchmaker and put the two together," he said.

By opening up APIs to developers, Intel also hopes to offer the potential for a data centre with a 'brain' that can predict outages.

"[We would like to see] application software that runs on top of an orchestration layer that asks what is going on in the platform, because, just as people want to see analytics of customer data, you are also going to get some people who want to do analytics on the infrastructure, to do predictive failure or placement of workloads and so on."


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