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Intel: Chips will meet the needs of new datacentres

IDF 2009: Chip business chief Sean Maloney outlines Intel's plans for processors that will meet the changing demands of datacentres
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

At the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, chip business chief Sean Maloney talked about what Intel is doing to address the needs of the enterprise and the changing datacentre.

The datacentre is undergoing a major transformation these days, the Intel executive vice president said in a keynote speech on Tuesday afternoon. Three elements — computing, storage and networking — are beginning to overlap, meaning that one cannot be addressed without considering the others, he said.

At the same time, datacentres are becoming more diverse, so there is no longer a one-size-fits-all way of dealing with them, he said. Some datacentres are designed to power a small or medium-sized business or remote office, while others might be powering a communications centre, or a cloud, or a full infrastructure.

But Maloney pointed out that the each of these datacentres have common requirements — performance, energy efficiency and virtualisation. "All the underlying technical challenges are the same," he said.

To address these challenges, Intel next year will launch Tukwila, which is built on the Itanium family of processors, Maloney said. It also plans to introduce performance enhancements to Nehalem, which is built on Xeon, in 2010, he added.

Maloney also touched on security and the enhancements that will come with the launch of the Westmere 32nm die-shrink of Nehalem. He noted that there are people out there who are trying to "crack transactions on the internet", among other criminal activities, and that Intel is building technology directly into the chip architecture that will help customers protect their systems better.

"As Westmere moves in, the infrastructure will be there to do more secure transactions across the internet, on the client and on the server," Maloney said.

Beyond that, Maloney talked about the client side of the market, showing, by example, what sort of technologies could be deployed in a Las Vegas-style, computerised slot machine. The touchscreen machine would not only be smart enough to switch from slots to roulette or other games, but also to recognise a player and even allow that player to order a drink. On stage, Maloney pressed the 'play' button and watched as the wheels begin to spin and then hit the sevens for a jackpot.

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