Workload Optimized Part A: Enabling video transcoding on new Intel powered HP Moonshot ProLiant server

TV binge watching is a favorite past time of mine. For an 8 weeks span between February and March of this year, I binge watched five seasons of a TV series. I watched it on my Ultrabook, on a tablet at the gym, and even a couple episodes on my smart phone at the airport. It got me thinking about how the episodes get to me as well as my viewing experience on different devices.

Let me use today’s HP Moonshot server announcement to talk about high-density servers. You may have seen that HP today announced the Moonshot ProLiant m710 cartridge. The m710, based on the Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1284L v3 with built-in Intel® Iris Pro Graphics P5200, is the first microserver platform to support Intel’s best media and graphics processing technology. The Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1284L v3 is also a great example of how Intel continues to deliver on its commitment to provide our customers with industry leading silicon customized for their specific needs and workloads.

Now back to video delivery. Why does Intel® Iris™ Pro Graphics matter for Video Delivery? The 4k Video transition is upon us. Netflix already offers mainstream content like Breaking Bad in Ultra HD 4k. Devices with different screen sizes and resolutions are proliferating rapidly. The Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones have 1920x1080 Full HD resolution while the Panasonic TOUGHPAD 4k boasts a 3840x2560 Ultra HD display. And, the sheer volume of video traffic is growing. According to Cisco, streaming video will make up 79% of all consumer internet traffic by 2018 – up from 66% in 2013.

At the same time, the need to support higher quality and more advance user experiences is increasing. Users have less tolerance for poor video quality and streaming delays. The types of applications that Sportvision pioneered with the yellow 10 yard marker on televised football games are only just beginning. Consumer depth cameras and 3D Video cameras are just hitting the market.

For service providers to satisfy these video service demands, network and cloud based media transcoding capacity and performance must grow. Media transcoding is required to convert video for display on different devices, to reduce the bandwidth consumed on communication networks and to implement advanced applications like the yellow line on the field. Traditionally, high performance transcoding has required sophisticated hardware purpose built for video applications. But, since the 2013 introduction of the Intel® Xeon® Processor E3-1200 v3 family with integrated graphics, application and system developers can create very high performance video processing solutions using standard server technology.

These Intel Xeon processors support Intel® Quick Sync Video and applications developed with the Intel® Media Server Studio 2015.  This technology enables access to acceleration hardware within the Xeon CPU for the major media transcoding algorithms. This hardware acceleration can provide a dramatic improvement in processing throughput over software only approaches and a much lower cost solution as compared to customized hardware solutions. The new HP Moonshot M710 cartridge is the first server to incorporate both Intel® Quick Sync Video and Intel® Iris Pro Graphics in a single server making it a great choice for media transcoding applications.

As video and other media takes over the internet, economical, fast, and high quality transcoding of content becomes critical to support user demands. Systems built with special purpose hardware will struggle to keep up with these demands. A server solution like the HP Moonshot ProLiant m710, built on standard Intel Architecture technology, offers the flexibility, performance, cost and future proofing the market needs.

In part B of my blog I’m going to turn the pen over to Frank Soqui. He’s going to switch gears and talk about another workload – remote workstation application delivery. Great processor graphics are not only great for transcoding and delivering TV shows like Breaking Bad, they’re also great at delivering business applications to devices remotely.