Transforming the Infrastructure: Why I’m Excited for IDF

If you’ve ever attended an Intel Developer Forum (IDF), you know they’re a great opportunity to learn about some of the new technologies and products Intel is developing – from Ultrabooks™ and mobile processors to solid-state drives and next-generation server and networking technologies. Intel’s vision for our connected digital world is always on full display at IDF and our executive keynotes, technology expert sessions, and demos offer a glimpse at how we’ll help you get there. Needless to say, there’s always a lot of excitement surrounding each IDF, and the Fall 2013 edition will be no different.

As vice president and general manager of the Communications and Storage Infrastructure Group (CSIG), I’m particularly excited about the role Intel’s vision of a Software-Defined Infrastructure (SDI) will play at IDF and how our vision will change the industry.

There’s already been a great deal of discussion around software-defined networking (SDN) this year and for good reason. Centralizing the control plane across networking devices is an exciting new industry trend and like always, Intel wants to provide technology leadership. SDN, in turn, can help IT create a network that’s more agile, more cost-effective, and is able to more quickly deliver revenue-generating services to users and customers.

This discussion has been largely limited to data center and enterprise, but we believe those use cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Technologies like network function virtualization (NFV), the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (Intel® DPDK), and software-defined storage (SDS) will allow us to expand this story to include even greater data center centralization as well as new use cases, including cloud and telco infrastructures and devices at the edge of the access network. In short, it’s not just the network, but the entire infrastructure.

The technologies I mentioned above are key ingredients in Intel’s SDI vision, and we’ll be talking about them a great deal at IDF this week. Here are just a few of the highlights you can expect:

  • How the combination of Intel hardware and software, including the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (Intel® DPDK) Accelerated Open vSwitch, enables greater NFV performance for data center and telco networks.
  • How Intel is extending SDN switching into microserver designs with a network solution that delivers the industry’s first 2.5GbE, high-density, low latency, SDN-enabled Ethernet switch solutions specifically developed for microservers.
  • Switch vendors discussing products based on the Intel® Open Network Platform Switch Reference Design, which deliver cost-effective SDN-capable systems to their customers.
  • How Intel QuickAssist Technology helps reduce Hadoop-sort performance by up to 40% while reducing CPU utilization[1].
  • Improvements delivered by the Intel® Intelligent Storage Acceleration Library (Intel® ISA-L) across a range of storage applications.
  • How Intel is optimizing products for next-generation network virtualization technologies, including VXLAN and NVGRE.

We’ll also be showcasing the SDI ecosystem, with more than 25 of our partners demonstrating SDI solutions in the Data Center and SDI community. You’ll see products based on Intel reference designs, management and control software optimized for those designs, products designed for service providers, and solutions that enable new types of storage deployments.

For those of you who won’t be joining us in San Francisco this week, our communications, networking, and storage experts will be blogging about key SDI technologies and providing links to some of the content we’ve created to help you understand them. You’ll also be able to read blog posts from some of our partners, who will be discussing how their products complement Intel’s SDI vision.

This is an exciting and transformative period in networking and storage. With more devices accessing the Internet every day, data center infrastructures – whether Enterprise, Cloud or Telco service providers – need to be ready to accommodate growth and to easily provide the services needed by all of these new devices. SDI will make it easier for us to get there, and the technologies we’re developing today will change how infrastructures is deployed and managed for years to come. We are very excited to discuss these technologies with you this week.


[1] Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark* and MobileMark*, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products.

The Apache Hadoop* cluster consisted of a master server and four slave servers over a 10 gigabit Ethernet network. The master server was configured with dual Intel® Xeon® X5570 processors and 64GB of RAM. The slave nodes each consisted of dual Intel® Xeon® E5-2680 processors; 128GB RAM, two dual-core Intel® QuickAssist Technology cards with hardware version C1 SKU4, firmware version 1.0.0, and driver version 1.2.0; seven 300GB solid state drives in a RAID 0 configuration; and an external SAS enclosure with 24 64GB solid state drives in a RAID 0 configuration. Each server was running CentOS Release 6.3 with Linux kernel 2.6.32-279.19.1.el6.x86_64, JDK 1.7.0_13 and Hadoop 1.0.4. Sort benchmarks were run against a 500GB dataset.