Intel`s Xeon 5500 Greens Servers and Conquers Virtual Worlds

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

The latest server-class processor from Intel touts power-saving features and increased virtualization performance, and is sure to fuel the debate around virtual desktops.

With the launch of Intel’s new Xeon 5500 processors, it’s obvious that data centers will turn to the latest CPU to consolidate servers and embrace virtualization in the data center. But, what isn’t so obvious is what the Xeon 5500 means to the traditional desktop infrastructure.

A Xeon 5500 based server has the potential to double or triple the number of hosted virtual desktop PCs, fueling the adoption of zero-client systems, while saving energy. That could be just the kick in the pants that the hosted/virtual desktop market needs.

Intel’s ability to spark increased interest in the virtual desktop arena comes from some impressive performance and energy savings, as demonstrated by Intel during some public tests. Intel demonstrated power savings by migrating a pair of older "Woodcrest" servers, (each consuming 7 amps or 800 watts while running at full capacity) to virtualized sessions on a single Xeon 5500 server, power consumption dropped to 2.5 amps and less than 260 watts all without a loss in performance. A drop from 14 amps to 2.5 amps is should be big news in the data center. 

Combine those savings with the low power usage of zero-client PC devices and the power savings can add up very quickly across the enterprise. Power savings is only part of the story. Intel was able to show a performance gain of 160 percent over the older Xeon 5400 in the basic VMware benchmark.

While those power savings and performance improvements are sure to fuel server consolidation, solution providers will also need to look to the future, where Xeon 5500-based servers can become the cornerstone of a zero-client infrastructure.

The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series, originally code named Nehalem-EP will ranges in price from $188 to $1,600 in quantities of 1,000. The company is also introducing two processors specifically designed for the communications market, such as blades and rack-mounted systems. Those two Xeons, the L5518 and the L5508, will run at 2.13 GHz and 2.00 GHz, respectively, consuming just 60 and 38 watts, making those CPUs ideal for entry-level blade based virtualized systems.

>> CLICK HERE for a closer look at zero-client technologies

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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