Intel Xeon E5-2600: Server Vendors, Others Roll Out Red Carpet

Intel's Xeon E5-2600 Processors Power A Host Of New Servers

This month's introduction of Intel's new Xeon E5-2600 processor family, code-named "Sandy Bridge," was eagerly awaited not only by server customers but server vendors who have been preparing servers based on the new processors.

Acer, Cisco, Dell, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Penguin, SGI, and Supermicro all introduced new servers based on the Sandy Bridge Processors, while other vendors introduced new storage arrays or add-ons.

Check out many of the new servers and related offerings.

Intel's Sandy Bridge: Performance Boost, Power Consumption Cut

Intel's new Xeon E5-2600 series processors support up to eight processor cores and 768 GB of system memory. Intel said that, compared to its previous-generation Xeon 5600 processors, the new models offer up to 80 percent higher performance, as well as twice the performance in high performance computing applications.

Even so, Intel said, the new CPUs consume about half the power of the Xeon 5600 processors. And, thanks to Intel’s Node Manager and Data Center Manager solutions, data center operators are able to track and manage power usage in real-time.

Acer: Management Tools For The New Servers

Taiwan-based Acer introduced servers to match the new Intel processors as well as management tools to improve data center flexibility.

Acer said its F2 line of servers, slated to ship early second quarter, will have improved operating system support including mainstream and open-source platforms. The management tools also now include such features as remote BIOS/firmware updates and power monitoring.

For both data center and SMB users, Acer has expanded its Smart Server Manager with a power management tool kit which lets customers run power capping commands across Acer servers to give each server the most optimal power-performance needed for mission-critical applications.

Cisco: Updates UCS With Xeon Servers, Unified Management

Cisco unveiled the third generation of its Cisco UCS fabric computing platform centered on new Xeon E5-2600 processor-based servers featuring enhanced unified management technology.

Cisco introduced three servers, including the Cisco UCS B200 M3 half-blade form factor blade server which supports 24 DIMM slots of memory and up to 80 Gbps of I/O bandwidth, the 1U UCS C220 MC rack mount server targeting business work loads ranging from Web services to distributed databases, and the 2U UCS C240 M3 rack server targeting more storage-intensive workloads.

On the management side, Cisco UCS Manager now better manages both blade and rack mount servers in a single domain.

Dell: Intros 12G Server Line

Dell introduced its 12th generation (12G) servers and a PCIe-based Flash cache solution for high-speed performance.

Three of the new 12G models target workload capacity and scalability. Dell also unveiled three models targeting low-power consumption and high efficiency in virtualized environments, as well as a new server designed specifically for small business and remote office environments.

New to the 12G server line as well are some of its storage technologies such as the Express Cache, a PCIe Flash device that plugs into the server to maximize application performance, and Cachecade, a RAID controller technology that automatically controls which operations go to SSD or hard drive.

HP: Automated Management Of ProLiant Gen8 Servers

HP refreshed its ProLiant server family with new models based on the Intel Xeon E5-2600 processors while introducing "Project Voyager," a new architecture for automating server management.

A major part of Project Voyager is the new HP ProActive Insight architecture for managing server lifecycles including integrated lifecycle automation, installation software placed on the server in Flash memory instead of on an installation CD, and automated troubleshooting and updating. It also includes dynamic workload acceleration via optimization of solid state disk (SSD), as well as automated energy optimization.

HP also added proactive services and support based on information transmitted from the servers to HP.

Hitachi Data Systems: More Information To Come

HDS, not wanting to miss out on the Intel Xeon E5-2600 launch, promised it will soon unveil its own family of enterprise blade and rack servers based on the new processors.

The upcoming servers will likely continue to be a part of HDS's converged data center strategy which combines Hitachi storage and servers with industry-standard networking systems into pre-configured solutions specifically targeting such applications as Microsoft Exchange 2010, SAP HANA, and VMware.

HDS's existing server family (as seen in the photo) features logical partition (LPAR) technology, an embedded hardware virtualization feature typically found on mainframes which the company said improves resource optimization while decreasing overhead costs.

IBM: Balancing Performance And Density

IBM's new System x3650 M4 is a rack mount server with a "pay-as-you-grow" design which the company said helps reduce costs and manage risks. The 2U server takes up to two, 8-core E5-2600 processors and up to 768 GBs of memory via 24 DIMM slots. It also offers internal storage of up to 18 TBs, as well as up to six PCIe slots or two double-width PCIe slots for mounting GPUs.

IBM also threw in redundant hot-swap fans, disks, and power supplies, as well as its Predictive Failure Analysis and light path diagnostics tools to warn of impending problems.

InnoDisk: SATADOM For Romley

InnoDisk's SATADOM storage device, which acts as a high-speed boot device when connected to a SATA port, has been qualified by Intel for that vendor's new Romley server motherboards, InnoDisk said.

The low-profile InnoDisk SATADOM, which features 64 GBs of SLC Flash memory, plugs into a SATA port to provide 135 MBs per second read speed and 116 MBs per second write speed, or about five times that of standard USB drives, giving high-speed boot performance to 1U blade and rack mount servers, the company said.

Intel: 10-GbE For The Masses

In addition to the new processors, Intel also unveiled its Ethernet Controller X540, which it called the industry’s first fully integrated 10GBASE-T controller. The X540, which targets low-cost, low-power LAN on motherboard (LOM) and converged network adapter (CNA) designs, is part of an Intel push to drive 10-GbE adoption by reducing costs.

The Intel Ethernet Controller X540 is backwards compatible with existing GbE networks. It features advanced I/O virtualization, and supports hardware-based optimizations for unified networking, including NFS, iSCSI, and FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet). It is also optimized for new I/O enhancements in the Intel Xeon processor E5 product family, including Intel Data Direct I/O.

NEI: Beefing Up Its Appliance Line

NEI (Network Engines, Inc.), a Canton, Mass.-based provider of application platforms, deployment solutions, and lifecycle support services for software technology developers and OEMs, plans to launch new appliances based on the E5-2600 processors.

This includes rack-mount platforms designed for applications that deliver compute, storage, backup, security and other enterprise network solutions. The company expects the E5-2600 processor-based appliances to offer performance gains per Watt of up to 70 percent and latency reductions of up to 30 percent compared to previous generations.

Penguin Computing: New Generation Of HPC Hardware

Penguin Computing unveiled a new product portfolio including new Relion series rack-mounted servers, Icebreaker series storage solutions, and Niveus series workstations based on the Intel Xeon E5-2600 processor family targeting technical and scientific users looking for higher simulation throughputs.

Penguin said the new processors offer several performance benefits over the previous CPU generation which support its high performance computing (HPC) market, including the addition of AVX instructions for improved computational throughput, support for the third generation PCI-E architecture to improve I/O bandwidth, level three cache of up to 20 MBs, support for higher memory speeds, and an additional memory controller for increased memory bandwidth.

QLogic:10-GbE CNA For Dell PowerEdge Servers

QLogic celebrated the Intel Xeon E5-2600 processors by introducing its new 8200 series 10-GbE converged network adapters (CNAs) designed for Dell's PowerEdge 12th generation (12G) E5-2600-based servers. The QLogic 8200 Series can be ordered as a Dell PowerEdge Select Network Adapter or in PCI Express and mezzanine formats for PowerEdge rack, tower, and blade servers.

The new CNAs include Switch Independent Partitioning, which QLogic said divides each physical port into four logical ports. This lets one CNA be viewed by the server operating system as a flexible mix of standalone network interface cards, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) adapters, and iSCSI adapters, each of which can be allocated guaranteed bandwidth.

SGI: Focus On HPC

SGI plans to integrate the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 family into all of its high performance compute (HPC) server and storage platforms and product families.

These include the SGI Rackable servers, where the company expects a doubling of performance for such workloads as Hadoop big data applications as the new processors become available; the SGI ICE X HPC servers, which can deliver over 2,300 processor cores and over 22 teraflops per rack while scaling to tens of thousands of nodes; and the SGI Modular InfiniteStorage (MIS) integrated server-storage platforms.

SGI expects versions of its three product lines with the new Xeon e5-2600 processors to ship during the first quarter.

Supermicro: Pre-Configured Rack Services For New Servers

Supermicro unveiled over 100 new servers and motherboards based on the new Intel processors, along with a new service for solution providers under which it will pre-install and ship complete rack solutions.

Included are new "Twin" servers featuring two dual-socket servers in a single 1U chassis, new models featuring four or six GPUs for use in high performance computing, and a new "MicroCloud" server putting eight uniprocessor nodes in a 3U chassis.

Coming in April is Supermicro's "FatTwin" servers. They were designed to run in data centers using ambient air instead of air conditioning, and are certified to run where the temperature reaches as high as 117 degrees Fahrenheit.