CRN.com has coverage of the Xeon “Penryn” processor and some info about the micro-architecture change that will following in 2008 with the “Nehalem” processor. I think the following is an astounding comment:
Meanwhile, Intel is also preparing its next-generation Nehalem platform, which represents the company’s most significant shift in system architecture since the Pentium Pro debuted in 1996, Gelsinger said.
If you remember the P6 Orion chipset with the Pentium Pro, you’ll recall that it was Intel’s first MCM with 4 Pentium processors. It offered 48 bit memory support (kernel address space), 3 cycle shared L2 cache, and was quite the leap over the Pentium. The article states that the off-chip memory controller will be gone (good) and the interconnect (CSI) will be more like AMD HyperTransport. I think that means a bit of a NUMA feel, but I’m not sure yet. The architecture of Nehalem will support up to 8 cores as well.
What Does This Have To Do With Oracle
These are quad core processors that are going to pack a very significant punch—much more so than the AMD Barcelona processor expected later this year. That means single socket, quad core servers with more power than most 4 socket systems today. So if you have, say, a Proliant DL585 (great box) with idle cycles, you will likely have a lot of idle cycles when you refresh with these servers. That means virtualization—get use to it. The article hints towards 32nm processors in the 2010 timeframe. My oh my.
Where and What is a Nehalem, Really?
It is a North American Indian tribe. There is also a river about 40 miles from where I live and it is, in fact, precisely what Intel named this processor after. Intel has named other processors after rivers in the Pacific Northwest region of the states in the past (e.g., Willamette). I’ve been fishing the Nehalem for many, many years. I’m told blogs are better with photos, so here goes.
I’m sure the concept of fishing will wound the tender sentiment of at least a few readers. I’m sorry. You can’t make everyone happy, but I’ll throw a bone. The main species we fish for in the Nehalem is Steelhead which is an anadromous salmonid related to trout. Basically, it is a trout that lives in salt water but spawns in fresh water. Unlike true salmon, it can repeat that cycle. For that reason, game management in my home state enforce a great deal of “catch and release” and artificial bait regulations. That is in fact what I was doing when I caught the “Nehalem Bright”, as they are called, in the following photo. Caught, photographed and placed gently back into the water.