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Article originally published in April 2021. 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable platforms are still available for testing in ATC and deployment.


Our data-centric future belongs to those who can harness information most effectively: collecting, organizing and gleaning actionable insights while reducing time to revenue. Addressing today's data center needs while planning for unknown future demands requires a flexible infrastructure — one that's optimized for multicloud and artificial intelligence (AI) and can serve many workflows, anywhere and anytime.

To help organizations seize this data-driven opportunity and achieve the flexibility they need, Intel today announced the launch of 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, a balanced architecture with built-in acceleration for AI and advanced security capabilities, designed through decades of innovation for the most in-demand workload requirements, bringing intelligence everywhere from edge to cloud to help customers achieve more.

Designed for today's key industry inflections — from 5G and the intelligent edge to traditional on-prem data centers, hybrid cloud, public cloud and AI — 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors are at the heart of Intel's newest platform, setting a foundation of performance, acceleration and security for data center transformation. And, WWT is positioned to help our customers leverage this exciting new processing platform for the data center: as a longtime Intel technology partner, we are among the first to integrate the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor into real-world testing environments in WWT's Advanced Technology Center (ATC).

Here's a brief look at the ground-up improvements Intel has introduced with this breakthrough data center processor architecture.

Flexible performance for a future-ready data center

Depending on your intended workloads  — whether cloud, high-performance computing (HPC), enterprise, security, network or the Internet of Things (IoT) — the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor has been optimized for a variety of configurations, all with a consistent, open Intel architecture. By addressing the needs of specific use cases, organizations no longer need to settle for "good enough" — the new processor can accommodate the ideal configuration for every usage need.

Thanks to a new manufacturing process and an all-new architecture, the core count in a standard socket has been expanded with up to 1.42X more cores per processor. The 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor can offer up to 40 cores, compared to the 28-core count of 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors. In addition, their cores cover a range of frequency, features and power levels. These improvements combine to increase performance for general compute and technical compute workloads.

As core counts rise, it's equally important to serve data to those cores efficiently through faster memory and enhanced input/output (I/O) buses. To support an industry-wide shift to big memory, the platform features an improved memory controller, which has been widened to 8 channels that support faster DIMMs running at up to 3200MT/s, for up to 6TB of total system memory per socket. In addition, the platform supports the new Intel Optane persistent memory 200 series, which now runs at the same 3200MT/s speed as DRAM and features up to 512 GB modules. Together these platform memory improvements deliver a memory bandwidth increase and memory capacity increase.

The improved memory system is a key component of the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor's performance gains for data within a system, but an equally important improvement it brings to the table lies in the I/O subsystem. The PCIe bus is a vital interconnect between peripherals and the CPU, and in years past its bandwidth was divided mainly between storage and networking peripherals, with GPUs deployed for specialized use cases.

This landscape has shifted, with faster networking, Intel Optane technology, NAND NVMe SSDs, FPGA acceleration cards and GPUs in general-purpose acceleration applications becoming increasingly common solutions to the demands of these new workflows. As such, the high-speed highway that is the PCIe bus is more congested than ever.

The 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor increases the number of PCIe lanes per CPU from 48 to 64, addressing the need for more peripherals and facilitating an "xPU" architecture. These 64 PCIe lanes also operate at PCIe 4.0 speeds. This doubles the available bandwidth compared to 3.0, ensuring those connected peripherals can flow data efficiently and meet the demands of an on-demand world. The platform also offers support for 25 to 100 GbE connectivity over Intel Ethernet 800 series for application device queues, providing smooth-flowing, unshared traffic.

Acceleration and security features that are ideal for artificial intelligence

Two major concerns of today's data center customers: analyzing greater volumes of data more quickly while protecting privacy by keeping it safe at rest and in motion. To meet those needs, Intel takes a focused, targeted approach for better ways to process more data beyond simply adding more cores. The latest 3rd gen processor also removes many CPU-related bottlenecks associated with moving large amount of data securely.

Intel Crypto Acceleration increases the performance of encryption-intensive workloads, such as 5G infrastructure, SSL web serving and Virtual Private Network (VPN)/firewalls. Intel's enhanced crypto processing and acceleration features built-in encryption accelerators for faster processing of multiple encryption protocols, mitigating the effects of pervasive encryption on performance.

For workloads incorporating artificial intelligence, the enhanced performance of Intel Deep Learning Boost (Intel DL Boost) now offers AI acceleration built into the hardware. In fact, the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon processor is the only data center CPU with integrated AI acceleration, incorporating Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel AVX-512), as well as software optimizations for deep learning frameworks and Intel Optane technology.

Overall, this 3rd gen platform has achieved increased AI performance gains over prior generations — and increases even more when using AI software optimized for this platform architecture.

Advanced security through Intel SGX for Intel Xeon Scalable processors

For cryptographic isolation at its most granular, this variant of Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) is optimized for server platforms in cloud environments, establishing a hyper-focused trust boundary around highly secure enclaves. Previously an add-on for 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Intel SGX is now a part of the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable platform.

Ideal for customers in data-sensitive industries such as financial services and healthcare, Intel SGX helps protect data and application code while in use, enabling new ways to collaborate using shared infrastructure without compromising privacy. And, Intel SGX improves the confidentiality and integrity of customer data and code while it's processed in the multi-tenant public cloud. It also helps keep customers protected when deploying workloads via a container solution in the cloud, on-prem or in a hybrid environment.

A powerful and flexible platform for all use cases

In addition to these new and improved feature sets, many other enhancements are included in the platform as a whole. For example, the new Intel Speed Select technology solves the problem of requiring multiple servers to handle diverse workloads, which creates complexity and increased total cost of ownership (TCO). Instead, Intel Speed Select technology supports up to three processor performance configurations so that one server can do more while consuming only the amount of power needed, reducing waste while enhancing efficiency. 

It's not all about hardware: thousands of Intel software engineers are collaborating with leading ISVs and open-source communities worldwide to optimize software, break bottlenecks and enable new features. For example, this partnership has led to significantly greater AI performance with Intel DL Boost when using platform-optimized AI software. And, many developers are now using oneAPI, the unified, standards-based programming model championed by Intel to create a common developer experience across accelerator architectures.

The 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable platform is also integrated into Intel Select Solutions, a set of reference architectures that are tested, verified and optimized for real-world performance, reducing your solution's time to value. It all adds up to a comprehensive platform that's more than the sum of its parts — CPUs, memory, storage, software and more — all interoperating flexibly and reliably with a sharp focus on the most in-demand workflow requirements.

Put the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable platform to the test in our ATC

With this platform launch, Intel offers future-minded organizations a dynamic infrastructure that is a recipe for success. The strategic choice for workload-enhanced performance, the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor introduces a highly balanced architecture with built-in acceleration and advanced security capabilities.

Variations of the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor are now available in a simplified SKU stack at price points comparable to, or even lower than, earlier generations. And, the reduced SKUs are aligned to specific workloads for easier configuration.

To take full advantage of these flexible new platform technologies from Intel, WWT collaborates closely with key hardware vendors like Dell, HPE and Cisco, as well as key cloud service providers like Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

WWT is pleased to demonstrate this platform in our ATC, adjusting for virtually any use case environment. We invite you to see them in action in the ATC, or attend a special workshop to learn more.


Intel, the Intel logo and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries.

Article originally published in April 2021. 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable platforms are still available for testing in ATC.