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Intel devices to advance digital perspective

Posted: 13 Sep 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:it infrastructure? wireless communications? intel-based server? intel xeon processors? storage equipment?

At the keynote address on IDF's third day of exhibition, Intel SVP Mike Fister and EVP Sean Maloney explained how a modular IT infrastructure with mixed-wired and wireless communications capabilities as well as open and scalable Intel-based servers, networks, and storage will generate lower operating costs and increase system flexibility.

Maloney said that mixing and matching wireless and wired networks with any server, storage, or client device keeps corporations more nimble as they expand globally. "Workers can connect anywhere, anytime, and in any way," said Maloney. "If IT is truly a competitive tool, then standards-based modular deployment is a great way to stay ahead of the competition."

Fister spoke on the emerging technologies for modular data centers. Among the technologies he discussed were Intel Xeon processors with 533MHz system buses for two-processor servers and workstations, due in Q4 2002. This system will provide small-to-medium businesses with an improved platform for a variety of enterprise activities. The Xeon MP device for multiprocessor platforms, codenamed "Gallatin" (due for release in Q4 2002) will enhance enterprise scalability. Xeon MP-based systems are designed, optimized, and validated for four-processor or more configurations and pave a seamless, low cost upgrade path to higher performance.

Meanwhile, Itanium 2 systems from leading vendors such as IBM, HP, NEC, and SGI continue to emerge, with enterprise software optimized for the system from vendors that include Microsoft, Red Hat, Oracle, IBM, BEA, SAP, and SAS. Fister disclosed that the next member of the Itanium 2 family, code-named Madison, is due in 1H of 2003. Madison, which has backward compatibility with processors, platforms, and chipsets is claimed to bring 30 to 50 percent performance gains.

Modular deployment strategies

Maloney highlighted several strategies for deploying modular networks, including a strategy to solve the mounting challenge of quickly accessing, managing, and protecting the growing stores of information on corporate networks. He also introduced several new standards-based, networked-storage building blocks to reduce developer costs and simplify design tasks.

With the number of applications and data repositories growing phenomenally, retrieving data anytime, anywhere becomes an ever increasingly tedious job. "This dilemma is placing demands for creative ways to merge computing and communications technologies for solutions that provide quick, secure access of data over corporate networks and the Internet," said Maloney.

Maloney also announced additional new products that include four new RAID controllers.

"Storage equipment makers need to reduce their R&D budgets, yet remain technologically competitive," said Maloney. "Starting from its introduction of the first storage I/O processor in 1996, Intel now offers the industry's broadest family of pre-validated, standards-based building blocks for accessing, managing, and protecting storage systems to help equipment makers cut their development time and costs."

The Intel RAID Controller SRCZCR is a high-performance modular RAID card featuring Ultra160 and Ultra320 SCSI, and Serial ATA compatibility. The controller enables low-cost RAID capability through standards-based RAID I/O steering technology, which enables RAID capabilities through a simple PCI plug-in arrangement that utilizes existing SCSI or Serial ATA disk-interfaces. The RAID Controller SRCZCU42L is a two-channel Ultra320-SCSI RAID controller for HD servers. It offers two-channel Ultra320 capability for the price of one. The RAID Controller SRCS14L is the first four-port Serial ATA RAID controller that enables simultaneous access to every channel. The RAID Controller SRCFC22/M/C is a family of 2Gbps Fibre-Channel RAID controllers with the capability to support up to 252 devices in a dual-loop configuration at varying RAID levels.

RAID Controllers SRCZCR and SRCZCU42L will be available by September's end and are priced at $250 and $475 per unit, respectively. RAID Controller SRCS14L and SRCFC22/M/C family will be available in Q4 2002, at $299 and $1,550 to $2,050 per unit.

Additional offerings

Further, Intel demonstrated its low-voltage Xeon processor at 1.6GHz to be used in the storage arena where thermal environments are particularly sensitive. The company also unveiled the Xeon processor for two-way workstation and server platforms at 2.8GHz and 2.6GHz. These processors use 0.13?m technology and feature 512KB of level 2 cache. They will find applications in digital content creation, mechanical and electrical design, financial analysis, 3D modeling, and technical or high performance computing applications.

The Intel Xeon processor with 512KB level two Advanced Transfer Cache is priced at $562 in 1,000-unit quantities for 2.8GHz and $433 in 1,000 and up quantities for 2.6GHz.

Fister disclosed that in Q4 of this year, Intel will release the Granite Bay and Placer chipsets for single-processor and dual-processor workstations respectively, and a server chipset called Plumas 533. These chipsets will feature a 533MHz system bus for even greater server and workstation performance with dual channel DDR 266 memory.

Intel also gave information about the new TCP/IP offload engine (TOE) technology that it plans to incorporate in future generations of iSCSI, TCP/IP offload, and 10Gb Ethernet solutions beginning in 2003.

Finally, Fister's company also showcased the world's first 10Gbps, small-form-factor optical transceiver for multimode fiber networks. Designed specifically for data center applications, Intel's TXN17201/9 Multi-Mode XPAK optical transceiver delivers 10GbE and 10Gb Fibre Channel transport for storage systems at half of the cost. The TXN17201/9 transceiver is currently sampling and will be available in Q1 next year with a unit price of $500.

- Kirtimaya Varma

EE Times-Asia

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