Data Center Innovation: The New Normal

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The definition of technology might as well be called change. And change can be sparked both by end-users demanding new capabilities for new usage models, or by innovators delivering new capabilities that open up possibilities never before imagined. This feedback loop has driven unprecedented and constant technology innovation for the past several decades.

The data center environment is no different and comes with its own unique opportunities to innovate across a broad workload landscape. Deployments in high-performance computing, enterprise, cloud, network function virtualization, etc. each have different needs. Whether it’s a workload-optimized CPU, memory and storage technology, scalable connectivity, or acceleration, Intel is addressing the totality of each segment with holistic solutions, both to meet our customers’ ever-evolving needs, and to expand what’s possible for them.

Driving Non-Stop CPU Innovation

Recently, AMD announced plans to return to the server CPU market segment after a five-year hiatus – and questioned the pace of innovation in the data center. But while AMD has been absent, Intel has been trailblazing new data center technologies, including bringing nine revolutionary data center processor families to our customers since AMD last introduced a server CPU. With each generation, Intel® Xeon® processors have provided breakthrough performance coupled with new features that have advanced and catalyzed our customers’ business models.

Moore’s law is alive and well, and Intel continues to double transistor density with each process generation, thereby enabling higher performance and revolutionary processor features. We are constantly working hand-in-hand with our customers to best optimize Intel processor capabilities for the future needs of the data center market segment and accelerate the monumental shifts happening in the data center, such as software defined infrastructure, network transformation and support for emerging workloads such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and IOT.

Looking into the future, it is a given that new workloads will continue to emerge. The advent of the cloud alone has spawned exponential workload growth. And predicting “what’s next” is an enormous and unique challenge. Solving these kinds of problems is where Intel excels, and Intel continues to have the “pedal to the metal” on Intel x86 architecture innovation, addressing a broad spectrum of workloads with our Intel® Xeon processors, Intel® Xeon Phi™ processors and Intel Atom® processors. From core performance-enhancing technologies such as Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions, to virtualization and orchestration features that improve manageability and lower TCO such as APICv, Page Modification Logging, I/O Virtualization and Intel® Resource Director Technology, to built-in accelerators that speed up specific workloads such as Intel® QuickAssist Technology (Intel® QAT) and integrated cryptographic and compression accelerators, optimizing for the wide spectrum of customers’ real-world workloads is a crucial part of innovating for the data center.

Platform and Solution Innovation

And while Intel is best known for processors, it is our holistic solutions that fuel the most advanced data centers. With the rising volume of data generated by people and devices, new business models have taken shape. Effectively managing this transformation and explosion of data and computing resources isn’t simple. It can’t be done with only the CPU in mind. Across enterprise IT, cloud service providers, communications service providers and technical computing, we are accelerating these transformations through innovative new storage technologies (Intel® Optane™ memory and SSDs), integrated connectivity (Intel® Omni-Path Fabric, Ethernet adapters), and dedicated hardware accelerators (FPGAs, Intel® QAT, etc.) to handle customers’ varied workload requirements. We’ve also designed adaptable and scalable solutions such as Intel® Rack Scale Design, delivering modularity, security, and dynamic allocation of resources to improve data center resource utilization, a common end-customer pain point. Likewise, Intel Scalable System Framework for HPC establishes ready-to-deploy reference architectures to speed time-to-deployment.

The New Normal

Some will say there are a lot of unknowns in what the data center will look like a few years down the road, but at Intel we are actively developing technologies, products and solutions that will shape the future of the data center, just as we have for decades. The dynamic nature of innovation in today’s data centers is a new normal that Intel is focused on accelerating with an incomparable breadth and depth of solutions. While AMD has been absent from the data center, Intel has been and continues to be committed to innovating in the data center and working closely with customers to deliver the best solutions to solve their complex problems.