Feeds

Intel: 'We won't wait for software'

We will build it. You better come

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

An Intel vice president said today that his company's hardware advances will lead - not follow - software developments.

"We learned our lesson in waiting for software. We did this 64-bit thing that was perceived to be a little bit late relative to the market. So we will get the hardware out there as soon as it's ready," Kirk Skaugen of Intel's Architecture Group told a group of analysts and reporters gathered in San Francisco Tuesday morning for the rollout of the Xeon 7500 and 6500 series (née Nehalem-EX) server processors.

The hardware that Skaugen promised will continue to advance isn't merely microprocessors, but the hardwired capabilities of the company's leading-edge parts - features such as "virtualization technology, trusted-execution technology," he said.

It's all well and good to have such capabilities built into chips, but operating systems need to be upgraded to take advantage of them. In the case of the new Xeon's, however, Skaugen said that operating system vendors aren't far behind. "The good news is that, on this, we're very well aligned," he said.

Referring to the multi-bit error–correction technology that the new Xeons have borrowed from the mainframe world, Skaugen noted that "Microsoft supports machine check architecture recovery today in Windows 2008 R2." He also noted that "Red Hat is making an announcement for eight-socket scalability today," referring to that company's Tuesday release of RHEL 5.5.

Skaugen claims that operating system vendors are busily cranking away at updates. "If you talk to the other vendors, they have imminent plans to announce, just based on their regular release cycles. So you're essentially one release away from being there."

Developers - both hardware integrators and software designers - have been hammering away on the new Xeons for months, Skaugen assured his audience. "They've had these systems for nine months or more. We've been fine-tuning the Nehalem microarchitecture for a long time, and we did extra, extra testing due to this mission-critical stuff. We've shipped tens of tens of tens of thousands of units into the marketplace already."

It's a constant give-and-take between hardware and software engineers. "What drives things mainstream," Skaugen said, "is this 'software spiral' that's been talked about since the early days of Andy Grove. The fact that when we announce new hardware, it creates a software set of innovations that put more pressure on the hardware to create new hardware innovations - and the cycle goes on and on."

As Skaugen sees it, Intel is doing its part to advance platform performance, security, and scalability. Now it's the software engineers' turn - and while they're playing catch-up, Intel will be working to avoid being sucked into the vortex of that "software spiral." ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
Seagate chances ARM with NAS boxes for the SOHO crowd
There's an Atom-powered offering, too
Intel teaches Oracle how to become the latest and greatest Xeon Whisperer
E7-8895 v2 chips are best of the bunch, and with firmware-unlocked speed control
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.