RealTime IT News

Intel Modifies Xeon for Storage

Intel launched a modified Xeon this week for embedded storage systems, a move with more traction in 64-bit computing in mind.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip making giant also released a complimentary C++ Compiler (version 8.1) to augment the release of the storage processor (formerly code-named Nocona).

The low voltage Xeon chip runs at 2.8 GHz with 800 MHz System Bus and features Intel's EM64T to accommodate the amount of memory addressability of storage systems beyond 4 Gigabytes.

Many storage OEMs like EMC and HP use Xeon to power their systems but the culture is primarily a 32-bit domain. Now with the advent of x86-based 64-bit chips, Intel said storage vendors are looking towards a faster future. Either way, Intel said the idea is to help facilitate the next generation of large storage applications and 64-bit database programs coming from companies like Microsoft, Oracle and SAP.

"The performance price being paid for the 4GB barrier today is particularly onerous for the storage industry," Mike Wall, general manager of the Intel Storage Components Division said in a statement. "Extending the capabilities of EM64T to the storage arena will benefit the growing number of storage applications, such as a large database programs. This translates into better overall system performance end-users."

Intel said the new processor's other great feature is that it takes half the amount of energy of regular Xeon chips. The company is also recommending storage OEMs pair the low voltage Nocona with the Intel E7520 chipset, making it suited for confined, heat sensitive NAS and SAN environments.

Other new platform technologies on the new Xeon include faster memory technology with DDR2 400 and a higher-bandwidth interconnect technology in PCI-Express.

The Xeon is priced at USD$260 in bulk quantities. The compiler can be purchased through QNX Software Systems at USD$1,995. Intel said the QNX version runs 27 percent better than the commonly used GNU C Compiler.

In a related item, Intel said Fibre Channel I/O Controller manufacturer Emulex will use the 2 Gbps Intel TXN31011 Small Form Factor Optical Transceiver in its new Emulex LightPulse LP101 Fibre Channel host-bus adaptor (HBA). The device is aimed at SAN applications for small- to medium-size businesses.

The two companies are showing their wares at the Storage Networking World event this week. Emulex is also demonstrating new 4-Gbps Fibre Channel HBA technology, which uses the IntelTXN31015 optical transceiver.