Intel to show improved server I/O technology

Intel will introduce a new technology for improving server I/O performance at the Spring Intel Developer Forum in early March.

Intel plans to unveil a new technology for improving the transfer of data from clients to server-based applications at its upcoming Spring Intel Developer Forum (IDF) during the first week of March, company executives said Friday.

Intel I/O Acceleration Technology is the latest addition to Intel's new strategy of adding features designed to improve the usability and manageability of its products, rather than just focusing on delivering small increases in raw performance with each product launch.

Increasing the performance of its server chips certainly helps application performance, but a crucial bottleneck in how TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) data was moving from clients to server applications was causing many IT managers to see smaller improvements in performance than they expected, said Stephen Chenoweth, a marketing manager with Intel's Digital Enterprise Group.

The I/O Acceleration Technology includes software enhancements to the TCP/IP stack and new network controllers, Chenoweth said. The combination of those technologies allows the processor to take on more of the I/O tasks when it would have otherwise sat idle waiting for the network controller to move data along, he said.

Intel server processors and chipsets with the technology will be available in 2006, Chenoweth said.

The new I/O technology is just one of the forthcoming technologies that Intel plans to reveal at IDF, which will be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from March 1 through March 3. Over 5,000 hardware developers, analysts and media from around the world will attend the conference, said Frank Spindler, vice president of technology programs at Intel.

Intel Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Craig Barrett will give his last keynote address as CEO before current President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Otellini moves into the CEO slot at Intel's shareholder meeting in May. Barrett will kick off the show with an overview of Intel's shift away from a product development strategy based on clock speed.

Technologies such as I/O Acceleration Technology, VT (Vanderpool Technology) for server and PC virtualization, and LT (LaGrande Technology) for security are the backbone of Intel's new focus on the "platform," or a collection of technologies designed in conjunction for specific requirement. The success that the company has had selling Centrino, a combination of power management technologies for notebooks, has spurred it to adopt that strategy across all its product categories.

In fact, this new approach also led to organizational upheaval with the formation of new operating groups such as the Digital Enterprise Group, the Digital Home Group and the Mobility Group in January. Executives from all three of those organizations will give keynote addresses outlining some of their upcoming products.

Another historic shift, this one from single-core to multicore processors, will be a highlight of the upcoming show. In 2004, Intel outlined its plans to develop multicore processors, and the company is expected to demonstrate servers, desktops and notebooks featuring multicore processors, said Kevin Krewell, editor in chief of The Microprocessor Report.

Many details about the Smithfield dual-core desktop chips and Yonah dual-core notebook chips have already been made available, but Intel will be more specific about some of the benefits of those products, Spindler said. Smithfield processors are expected in the second quarter, and Yonah processors in early 2006. The dual-core Montecito Itanium 2 server processor will also launch in 2005.

Barrett and Intel Labs' new director Justin Rattner will also discuss Intel's upcoming shift to the 65 nanometer processing technology in late 2005 and early 2006, as well as future plans for dealing with the problems of shrinking transistors as they approach the molecular level, Spindler said.

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