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Data Center Infrastructure

Intel Xeon Zooms Into Data Center Era

Intel has announced the latest iteration of its Xeon processor -- the E5-2600 v3 -- for data center gear, including networking equipment. Huawei, Cisco, Dell and many other vendors are expected in short order to announce plans to adopt the new processor family.

Though the biggest play for the Xeon is likely in data center servers, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) went to lengths during the webcast launch of the latest Xeon version to make clear what the impact will be for carriers. Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, said during the webcast, "As all carriers are rearchitecting their networks from fixed-function, fully proprietary, custom boxes to open, standards-based, virtualized infrastructure, Xeon is playing a critical role."

To prove her point, she introduced a video of John Donovan, senior executive vice president of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s technology and network operations, describing the carrier's commitment to "software-defined infrastructure," and how it's working closely with Intel through "joint R&D investments" to deliver on its user-defined network cloud strategy. "We're moving as fast as we possibly can to software defined networking," he said.


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Some of the new Xeon features that would interest the networking set include the new 10 Gigabit/40 Gigabit Ethernet Controller XL710 family, designed to improve performance for virtualized servers and networks at half the power consumption of previous generation Xeon processors. The new Xeon also can be paired with Intel's 89xx chipsets to deliver Quick Assist technology to support faster encryption and compression performance for improved workload security. Bryant said carriers and their network equipment suppliers could use the platform to consolidate multiple communications workloads on a common architecture while ensuring a more secure experience for their end customers. (See Intel Upgrades Xeon For Data Center Era.)

The Xeon announcement had been expected as Intel has been spending recent months acquiring product lines and working to expand the utility of its processors and chips across the networking and device sectors. (See Intel ARMs Itself for IoT, SDN Opportunities and 2014: Intel's Year of Living Wirelessly?)

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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