With an eye on new markets including 5G telcom networks, Artificial Intelligence (AI), drones, driverless cars and even hi-tech farming and analytics driven retail, world’s largest chip maker Intel has launched its new Xeon scalable processors. The data centre processor promises speed, agility, security, networking features that are multiple times ahead of previous generation hardware and offer ultra-low latency to meet demands of the fast accelerating digital life. The Xeon platform was in development over the last five years. $59 billion Intel is pinning its hopes on the re-architected chip to ward off competition from Nvidia, AMD, STMicroelectronics and others gearing up for next gen hardware needs of modern data centers, the engine rooms of the digital economy Navin Shenoy, executive vice president, Intel Corporation said, “less than 1% of the data that’s generated is used, analysed or acted upon. Therein lies the opportunity to unlock that data.” Shenoy elaborated on how traditional and new industries are fast adopting technologies that put huge demands on current data centre infrastructure. For example farmers are using drones, satellite tech to increase food production without increasing land. Offline retailers are using sensors and analytics to improve inventory management and customer experience. More companies want to use AI to power their businesses and next gen services. While 5G telecom networks will connect things that have previously not been connected — like power meters, parking meters, traffic lights, cars and so on. “This will lead to massive data centre infrastructure build out in the next few years. Xeon platform is designed for this next generation hybrid cloud and data centre needs,” added Shenoy. Intel’s new Xeon platform will better prepare businesses to take advantage of AI, VR (Virtual reality) and 5G. Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst, moor Insights & Strategy said, “Intel helped optimize AI by improving the performance of machine learning inference on a general purpose processor. For VR, Xeon will help VR designers create more VR content more quickly and at higher resolutions. For 5G, Intel has actually created a 5G cell and enabled carriers to better run their datacenters in a more software-defined away, the only way 5G could be most efficiently enabled for robust services like IoT data services.” Lisa Selman, vice president, data centre group Intel pointed out that the USP of Xeon platform is that it adds more cores, more memory and more IO, targeted to data centre kind of workload use. “Xeon can handle the data deluge that is forecast on 5G networks,” Selman said. Companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, AT&T are already deploying next generation data centre hardware and software to cope with rising networking and communication demands. For instance AT&T is collaborating with Intel to accelerate deployment of 5G telecom solutions. John Donovan, chief strategy officer, AT&T technology & operations said, “5G will be a game changer. We are putting 5G and AI tools into networking. This increases demands for data capacity, high reliability, low latency and takes computing to the edge of network.” Donovan believes Xeon provides some of the solutions for tomorrows data needs and has already seen 30% performance improvements since deploying the Xeon platform in March. On comparisons with rival AMDs offering Moorhead said, “AMD’s EPYC is very competitive in price/performance/thread in workloads that can’t take advantage of accelerators. With that said, Intel architected their new Xeons to run in a wider array of configurations like 1, 2, 4, and 8-socket platforms and better with Intel’s own external accelerators and storage.” If the new Xeon platform delivers, besides other things, users will find their virtual reality, augmented reality experience far better than its today while enterprises could cope with very high demands on their servers with low latency.