PhoenixNAP Blog

Intel Xeon Scalable Family, Part 1: Skylake CPUs focusing on Data Center workloads

    

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On July 11, 2017 the data center history was made with the official launch of new Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processor Family, codename Skylake. The data center-focused Skylake platform release was impressive and generated a lot of buzz and interests in the IT community thanks to its innovative features.

This is something we have been waiting for a while now and, as Intel stated itself, for them this launch “represents the biggest platform advancements in this decade.” At phoenixNAP, we couldn't be more excited about this technology advancement and that's why we’re delivering on our promise to provide you access to cutting-edge technology we made our Bare Metal Dedicated Servers and Private Cloud infrastructure immediately available for deployments around the globe.

Let’s take a quick look at the technology progress and what is it that excites us so much about delivering Intel Xeon Scalable and Skylake platform in the form of fully OpEx-enabled Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Data center oriented technology is primarily focused on serving business needs and, as the business needs drive technology decisions of today, there are a few things that play a great importance to achieving business objectives through technology.

Agility & Scalability

Business agility and scalability go hand in hand and, if we look at these challenges from technology perspective only - in the role of enablement and support of business objectives, operations and execution, – we’ll be considering IT infrastructure deployments that are agile and scale in terms of ability to handle multitude of workloads. Answering this call, Skylake platform introduces and improves upon existing technologies like:

  • Mesh architecture. Intel has decided to move away from the “Ring” architecture we have seen in the Broadwell (E5v4) generation to “Mesh” architecture achieving higher overall bandwidth with lower latencies supported by up to 3 UPI links which replaced QPI of the ring topology.
  • FPGA (field-programmable gate array) - which adds up to 5x speedups on server, storage, or networking algorithms reprogrammed to desired application or functionality requirements after manufacturing

Efficiency & Performance

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Being efficient and thus having the ability to avoid wasting resources and time to produce a desired result is an extremely important factor for any business, as in reality all resources any company has are limited in one way or another. In terms of efficiency and performance Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs offer:

  • Socket level performance boost. Increased multi-tenancy and virtual machines density, as well as increased application performance for parallelizable workloads.
  • Per core performance increase. Lower latency L1/L2 cache design and up to 20% better core performance vs. equivalent Broadwell (E5-26xxv4).
  • Memory performance boost. 50% more memory bandwidth via 6 memory channels vs. Broadwell (E5-26xxv4) 4 channels; up to 50% more PCIe IO bandwidth vs. Broadwell (E5-26xxv4)
  • Intel AVX-512 - Advanced Vector Extensions - which help accelerate performance of workloads such as scientific simulations, financial analytics, AI/deep learning, 3D modeling and analysis, multimedia processing, cryptography and data compression)

Security

Security has become a crucial part of the digital world and it is not just about the very real threat of privacy breaches, but increasingly more often about business continuity that is being put at risk with poor security practices regarding digital assets. While sound security strategy for any business goes well beyond just hardware and software, Intel does certainly help assisting security efforts with:

  • Root of trust with Intel TXT, which is specifically designed to harden platforms from the emerging threats of hypervisor attacks, BIOS, or other firmware attacks, malicious root kit installations, or other software- based attacks.
  • Intel Quick Assist (Intel® QAT) providing 2x faster crypto & compression performance in cloud, networking, big data, and storage applications

We have a more detailed comparison of Skylake vs. Broadwell vs. Haswell platforms available highlighting specific CPU contrasts between these generations.

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Categories: baremetal servers