Feeds

Intel: 'We won't wait for software'

We will build it. You better come

Boost IT visibility and business value

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." ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts
Samba implementation? Time to get some devs on the job
Like condoms, data now comes in big and HUGE sizes
Linux Foundation lights a fire under storage devs with new conference
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.