Scheduled to be released in late 2014 or early 2015, Intel has recently stated that they plan on releasing a new line up of central processing units designed for the cloud using the Broadwell-DE architecture. Intel’s plan is to have the chip ship out as part of the motherboard itself. That in itself provides some advantages and challenges for the cloud architect. Dense servers, as they are known, are servers with chips that cannot be slotted and they are primarily used in cloud infrastructure deployments. This new lineup of Broadwell-DE chips represents Intel’s first system-on-a-chip design.
Cloud hardware manufacturers such as Dell and HP are ecstatic about the new chip designs. Top IT industry analysts suggest that hardware sales overall will take a hit in the next couple of years due to cloud consolidation. These companies are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors therefore offering this chip as soon as its ready for the market is a leg up on the competition.
This big advantage for this chip is that is can be used to save on electricity by setting up a hyper scale server with hundreds of low-power cores for remedial cloud requests. HP says that a single 4.3U server running Moonshot runs as efficiently and as effectively as an entire rack of servers. In fact, they say their design saves on power not to mention space in your datacenter. Since the Intel chips have direct access to memory due to their non-slotted design, the systems should run with fewer bottlenecks. The downside to this design is that an engineer will need to tweak each of the I/O controllers on the chips based on the compute needs of the cloud.
Shannon Poulin is the Vice President and General Manager of the Intel Data Center Marketing Group and Shannon was quoted as saying, “Anybody who wants to collaborate with us, we’ll take a look at what they want to put in the product. Most of the designs are where people are trying to satisfy a unique need.”