Multi-core 64-bit computing is here

Von Theo Boshoff

Intel Corp. senior vice-president and GM for the Digital Enterprise Group, Pat Gelsinger, believes that, in the current business arena, enterprises are faced with greater challenges in managing mobile workforces and coping with malicious attacks and immense amounts of complex data processing, and thus need new enterprise platforms and technologies, to be able to cope with business demands.

In his keynote at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), held in San Francisco last week, Gelsinger said that addressing these challenges, whilst reducing cost, mitigating risk and achieving growth, is only possible through the efficient use of computing platforms in more innovative ways -- which was also the overall theme of the IDF conference this year.

Gelsinger believes that the future for the enterprise is based on innovative computing and communications platforms, as well as software technologies, which he says that Intel is providing, together with other industry partners.

?New platforms and technologies will enable real-time business any time and anywhere, and will improve the way in which businesses manage and protect enterprise infrastructure, make decisions and collaborate,? Gelsinger says. What is new for the company and its customers is the transition to 64-bit computing, to which Gelsinger says is here. ?We are doing it right now,? he says.

Intel has two new enterprise 64-bit architectures, which, it says, will replace Risc and IA-32 architectures.

Says Gelsinger: ?The benefits of opting for Intel?s Itanium 2 architecture over Risc are exceptional performance and scalability for even the most demanding applications, as well as cost-effectiveness.?

He notes that the benefits of using the Intel Xeon 64-bit architecture over IA-32 include 64-bit support via Intel EM64T, and greater performance for 32-bit applications at an ?outstanding price?.

The company is also focusing heavily on its multi-core processors. Says Abhi Talwalkar, vice-president and GM for the Digital Enterprise Group: ?We are scaling up headroom with more threads per platform, and will improve compute density in the data center with multi-core and multi threading technologies.?

He further notes that multi-core platforms are the optimal platforms for virtualized environments and says: ?Dual core is a natural evolution of hyper-threading technology.?

Three new projects

The company is currently busy with multiple multi-core enterprise projects, one of which is a platform designed for high-volume dual processor servers, codenamed ?Bensley?. Bensley is due to arrive in the first quarter of 2006, and will be based on the dual core Intel Xeon processor, codenamed ?Dempsey?. Dempsey will also be used in the platform codenamed ?Glidewell? for high-end workstations.

Says Gelsinger: ?Multi-core platforms are adding benefits to Intel silicon, ranging from virtualization and faster server networking approaches to 64-bit memory addressability, as well as support for forthcoming memory technologies.? Not just focusing on increased processing speeds, Gelsinger also unveiled Intel I/O Acceleration Technology (I/OAT), which speeds up data flow between server applications and the network, he says.

?Intel I/OAT demonstrates the advancements that are possible when a problem is approached from a platform perspective. The benefit to end-users is better performance, particularly on transaction applications, such as Web commerce or electronic banking, while businesses benefit from reduced cost of ownership and improved ability to grow the system,? he states.

Gelsinger and Talwalkar also spoke about Intel?s Active Management Technology (AMT) -- a forthcoming platform-level technology inside the company?s processors, chipsets and network cards -- which is intended to give IT managers more control and manageability over their networked computers, while reducing expensive on-site technical support.

Says Talwalkar: ?AMT will allow IT managers to use management and security applications to remotely discover and repair a variety of issues.? AMT is expected to be available on the Intel ?Lyndon? platform later this year, and on the Bensley server platform in 2006.

On the mobility side, the company is also giving attention to increased performance with low power consumption for various mobile devices to support technologies making daily business interaction easier and more reliable. Gelsinger says mobile solutions are key in the future of the enterprise. The company?s next mobile platform, which is claimed to be the first dual-core platform for mobile -- ?Yonah? -- will be launching later this year.