With a nod toward the changes coming with 5G, Intel launched what it describes as the biggest set of data center and network processor advancements in a decade with the rollout of the Intel Xeon Scalable processors.
In doing so, the company received a big endorsement from AT&T, one of the recipients of early access to the technology. John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president of AT&T Technology and Operations, joined Intel’s Navin Shenoy on the launch stage and said AT&T received the new processor in March and has already seen about a 30% performance improvement over Intel’s prior platform, with a total cost of ownership improvement of about 25%.
“We’re making great progress,” doing more things faster as a result of the program, and it’s not just AT&T, Donovan said. SDN is becoming a global phenomenon and that’s required to make the whole industry move faster. Some 55% of global wireless subscribers represented by operators have signed onto ONAP, the Open Network Automation Platform that resulted when AT&T's ECOMP and the Open Orchestrator Project merged through the Linux Foundation earlier this year.
The Intel Xeon Scalable processors are designed to support a range of existing and emerging data center and network workloads, including cloud and hybrid cloud computing and artificial intelligence. With 5G connecting more things that previously weren’t connected—parking meters, industrial equipment, cars and more—the demand for more processing power will be greater than ever.
Intel says its Xeon Scalable platform optimizes performance as well as the reliability, security and manageability necessary in data centers and networking infrastructure. Industries like farming are using satellite imagery and drones to meet the challenge of increasing food production without increasing farmland, and offline retailers are using sensors and analytics to stay relevant amid competition from online retailing, said Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Data Center Group.
Intel announced in May that it would be making a big announcement this summer for its next-generation Xeon processor family, marking a major architectural leap forward in processor architecture and platform advancements. The Intel Xeon Processor Scalable family was rearchitected from the ground up and is the successor to the Intel Xeon processor E5 and E7 product lines, according to Lisa Spelman, vice president of the Data Center Group and general manager of Intel Xeon products and data center marketing.
Wireless operators rely on data centers, an area that has seen a lot of consolidation, and a lot of them are in the process of modernizing them. If NFV weren’t enough of a call to action, a lot of operators are looking at 5G and how it will require the support of multiple usage models, with IoT being just one of them, noted Lynn Comp, senior director of market development for the Network Platforms Group at Intel, in an interview with FierceWirelessTech. That’s causing them to consider changes in the network architecture just to be able to run the network, much less get some benefits out of it.
“The one thing I keep reminding many of the service providers … you’re right on track with how this [virtualization] emerged with enterprise and cloud,” and many of the deployment challenges that they’re working through are consistent with what other industries confronted, “so nothing to panic over and it has been growing pretty quickly,” she said.