Intel’s acquisition of Altera brought top-tier FPGAs to the company’s stable. Today the company is announcing that Dell EMC and Fujistu, are both adding Intel’s FPGA products to their offerings. That brings two big players to Intel’s side, and frankly two players we would expect to see offer Intel’s augmentative technology. Buried in the release is that Dell EMC and Fujitsu will also have Intel Xeon CPU with FPGA technology.
Intel Xeon CPU with FPGA
There are four words in this release that are particularly exciting: Intel Xeon CPU with FPGAs. What we really want to see (and not directly in this announcement) is integrated FPGAs on the CPU package. We got a first look at the Intel Xeon plus FPGA combo at a Supercomputing 2016 demo about eighteen months ago. This is a stated roadmap item for Intel that everyone in the industry knows is coming.
You can see in the above that this was perhaps the first public demo of the technology running a workload. The transition to the larger LGA3647 sockets means that there is more room to add FPGA accelerators on package for heterogeneous compute. It is exciting to see that these products are coming to a server near you, and hopefully soon.
The company also told us that this would include accelerating mainstream servers like the Dell EMC PowerEdge R640 we reviewed and the PowerEdge R740xd review that we will publish soon. The FPGA acceleration will be in the current generation mainstream platforms. For now, we expect the accelerators to mainly be PCIe based.
Excerpt from the Intel FPGAs Press Release
Here is an excerpt from the official press release:
Today, Intel announced top tier OEM adoption of Intel’s field programmable gate array (FPGA) acceleration in their server lineup. This is the first major use of reprogrammable silicon chips to help speed up mainstream applications for the modern data center. Intel® FPGAs are the foundation for a new type of data center with the versatility and speed to handle a variety of hyper-scale workloads, from analytics to financial services.
With exponential data growth, datacenter operators have to balance the need for performance at scale with operational efficiency. To boost performance and power efficiency, data centers are adopting heterogeneous computing models where Intel ® Xeon ® CPUs are enhanced by an accelerator for specific functions in a workload.
Intel FPGAs achieve that balance in the new range of servers coming from leading server makers. Representing the upper echelon of OEMs, Dell EMC and Fujitsu will incorporate a complete Intel hardware and software stack in their individual offerings, consisting of Intel® Programmable Acceleration Cards with Arria® 10 GX FPGA and the Intel Acceleration Stack for Intel Xeon CPU with FPGAs.