Inside Intel's latest chip technologies

Intel last week announced a variety of processor and server management initiatives aimed at giving users faster performance and easier management.

The company announced its I/O Acceleration Technology, a means for speeding up the transfer of data between servers and networks by as much as 30%. The company also introduced the Intel Active Management Technology specification, which gives IT managers more control and manageability over their networked computers while reducing on-site technical support visits.

Intel's I/O Acceleration Technology is one of the company's "T" technologies. Intel says that Web commerce, messaging, storage and server clustering are starting to overwhelm servers' ability to respond quickly and deliver network data to applications.

Although server CPU performance and network bandwidth have improved, Intel says the method for moving data has not changed. Because the server processor takes on the total burden for processing, accessing memory and making protocol computations on each packet, performance suffers and the server processor is overwhelmed.

I/O Acceleration Technology divvies up the data-handling and passes it to all the components in the system - the processor, the chipset, the network controller and the software - and reduces the workload on the processor. The processor's workload is offset because the chipset and network controller are responsible for moving data in and out of memory.

With I/O Acceleration Technology, processors will be able to exchange data as much as 30% faster. Intel claims that the I/O Acceleration Technology also solves problems with TCP offload engines, which do not fully address system overhead or memory access.

While Intel has not said when it plans to implement the technology, Microsoft has committed to supporting it in future operating systems.

Intel also announced its Active Management Technology (AMT) specification, which will reside in Intel processors, chipsets and network adapters. AMT lets IT managers remotely discover and repair many problems that necessitated a service call before. IT can remotely set up new computers, download software updates, perform inventories and diagnose and fix problems. All these things can be done when systems are turned off, the operating system is locked up or when a disk drive has failed.

AMT will be available in the "Lyndon" desktops this year and in the "Bensley" servers in 2006. Vendors supporting AMT include Altiris, Computer Associates, LANDesk Software, Novell, Symantec and Trend Micro.

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