This 3-Part Blog will offer a guide to the critical thinking that Independent Software vendors (ISVs) need to adopt, validate and transition to the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture.
General-purpose microprocessors have traditionally served within the control plane of communications and networking equipment, leaving ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits), FPGAs (Field-Programmable Gate Arrays) and various accelerator cards to handle packet processing in the data plane. But that is all beginning to change as Intel’s faster and more efficient processors aim to replace many of the Network Processors commonly used in today’s enterprise- and carrier-class servers. Intel’s processor enhancements are also changing how pre-integrated server application software interoperates with on-board memory, disk drives, RAID controllers, and the Operating System (OS).
Introducing Sandy Bridge
Intel’s E3 and E5 series of Xeon CPUs are based on Sandy Bridge, the successor to the Nehalem architecture. These cores are built for speed using Intel’s 32-nanometer manufacturing process. It is capable of providing up to 17% more CPU processing capability than the Lynnfield 45 nanometer Xeon X34 processors.
What applications benefit from Sandy Bridge?
Sandy Bridge processors will increase CPU processing, memory, and I/O performance while reducing bottlenecks for applications that demand real-time data rates. These processors are far better equipped to handle applications that demand greater throughput and compute power, including deep-packet security algorithms that support network port expansion. Video, multimedia, and telecom application developers can also capitalize on its unmatched performance and deploy more powerful and efficient appliance platforms with highly scalable port densities. Among the more obvious server-based applications that benefit are packet processing, image processing, security (e.g., cryptography), and a host of high-speed (40 Gb/sec) networking platforms. These and other high-throughput applications should move quickly to take advantage of the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture and gain a competitive edge.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll look the Sandy Bridge CPU in some detail, including its built-in capabilities and enhancements.
Visit the NEI website at www.nei.com, or contact them directly at (877) 638-3262 to learn more about Sandy Bridge microarchitecture.