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.

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