Data Centers

Intel bets on real-time analytics with high-end processor refresh

The chip company launches its new generation of its Xeon E7 processor that it hopes will spur companies to crunch data as it is collected.

Intel today refreshed its Xeon E7 family of processors with a line-up aimed at helping businesses carry out real-time analytics on big datasets.

The chip giant launched the third generation of its high-end server chips, based on its Haswell-EX microarchitecture.

Intel sees a use for these new processors in carrying out analytics on large datasets as they are collected by enterprise

Scott Pendrey, Intel server product manager for EMEA, said exponential growth in data being collected by firms will drive renewal of analytics infrastructure.

"We continue to see larger and larger volumes of data every year. By 2020 we're forecasting something like 50 billion devices and 44 zettabytes of data - huge amounts of information."

Intel is betting that firms will have an appetite for carrying out real-time analytics on that data - necessitating machines with the compute and memory capacity of E7-based systems.

"It's the real-time shift into analytics that is the big business case that we see continuing to grow."

To boost performance for these types of analytic workloads, the new E7 range includes a feature called TSX (Transactional Synchronisation Extensions).

In tests, TSX has helped the SAP Hana in-memory analytics platform achieve six times faster data transaction times than when using previous generation processors, according to Pendrey.

On average, Intel claims the new generation of processors could deliver a 40 percent improvement in performance over their predecessors when handling "mainstream workloads".

Other optimisations in the processor family are able to boost code written to run in parallel, with Pendrey saying such code could execute 70 percent faster when run on the top of the range offerings in the new E7 line-up, due to the higher core count, processor cache and support for AVX2 extensions.

Intel has upped the maximum number of processor cores in the E7 line, from 15 to 18, and increased cache per socket from 37.5MB to 45MB. Also new is support for DDR4 alongside DDR3 memory. DDR4 allows for a greater memory density with a lower power consumption than DDR3, as well as operating at a higher speed. However, DDR4 is also about 20 percent more expensive than the equivalent amount of DDR3 memory.

Each Xeon E7 processor has native support for up to eight sockets per system, with each socket supporting up to 1.5TB, which takes the total memory per eight-way system up to 12TB.

To help satisfy Intel's goal of the E7 being used for mission-critical workloads the new processors also offer 40 redundancy, availability and serviceability features - including memory sparing to support back-up memory modules and various provisions for error-checking.

Like the E5, the E7 also includes the AES-NI instruction set to accelerate data encryption.

Intel and its partners - such as Dell, HP and Fujistu - will launch about 15 systems based on the new processors today, with that number rising to 40 within 30 days.

The cost of the processors will match the previous generation E7 but systems may be more expensive due to the use of DDR4 memory.

About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox