Intel's Next-Generation Server Promises

Platform Innovations For 2006, At Last

There are several key issues that Intel wants to address with its 2006 Bensley platform, including reliability, availability and serviceability - although performance is really the first thing to really worry about and, yes, it is obviously going to increase, too.

The second item is called efficiency and utilization. Well, some efficiency improvements were overdue and utilization mainly refers to the virtualization technology that Intel is going to introduce with the release of its 65- nm processors. Intel calls it VT, while the AMD counterpart is called Pacifica for the time being. Both allow for installing a so-called Hypervisor, which is a core that extends the system by adding multiple system partitions.

In the desktop, you could install Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Media Center Edition, and have both run at the same time. The first would allow you to do office work while the second acts as media center in your living room - with only one (dual/multi core) computer.

In server environments, virtualized machines could be used to simplify clustering, to assign a 'new server' to a software development team within minutes, to move software-virtualized solutions (VMWare) one level down to hardware or simply to reduce the number of actual machines in use at a given time.

There will be many potential applications for virtualization technology that most of us haven't even considered. Just think about a TV provider that would like to have people access its network while getting rid of set-top boxes: Just install your pay TV OS...

RAS - reliability, availability and serviceability is the third item on the list. In 2006, Intel wants to add support for software RAID 6 to its platforms. In contrast to RAID 5, RAID 6 runs double redundancy to keep a hard drive array workable even if two drives should fail.

Manageability finally is going to introduce iAMT (Active Management Technology) features into the server space.

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