Removing Technology Roadblocks For The Decade Ahead

Removing Technology Roadblocks For The Decade Ahead

Having worked in the IT sector for 3 decades, in the past 5 years I have witnessed faster change and adoption of technologies than the prior 20 years combined. Users’ familiarity with technology have rocketed, and their demands have evolved alongside. Much of this has been driven by the consumerisation of compute power in smart phones, home IoT devices such as ring doorbells and smart TV’s and expectations of always on-always available and internet connected technologies.

This has naturally reverberated into businesses small and large, where customers and users alike increasingly require greater processing power at the data centre, and in edge computing to expand at an accelerated pace. In turn, we have seen an increasing breadth of growing workloads, ranging from digital transformation projects, to the adoption of Cloud, AI, IoT and big data. The pivot to remote work during the pandemic era has also compounded these changes.

Meeting these evolving needs has driven innovation and increased demand for miniaturisation as the delivery needs to be in a cost and power effective manner that is scalable, secure and increasingly carbon efficient. We are experiencing the perfect storm; a continued upturn of adoption of new form factors, technologies and delivery methods, a sustained and growing remote and mobile workforce and a need to increase security fuelled by remote access to remote data stores and systems.

Considering the combination of the above with miniaturisation reaching its peak due to physical limitations, energy consumption challenges, pressures for data centres to reduce emissions, and a need for increased processing performance and data security – it is no wonder a plethora of validating statistics hits us daily:

·       ‘54% of businesses experienced a cyberattack in the last 12 months’ – Source : Ponemon Institute

·       ‘Between 2010 and 2020 data interactions increase by 5000%’ – Source : Forbes

·       ‘The amount of data created worldwide is expected to double by 2025’ Source : Statista

·       ‘By 2025, 50% of CIO’s will have performance metrics tied to sustainability of the IT organisation’ – Source : Gartner 2023 Top Strategic Technology Trends         

From business leaders and technologists, the radar has changed over recent years, with realisation that data is the new gold, protecting data more challenging and critical than ever, while being able to meet the processing demands in an affordable and equitable manner has proven more challenging than expected. Over recent years assumption was that cloud computing would simply meet all these needs as the panacea solution. However, the reality proved that even the cloud providers are challenged and constrained with limits of technology when it comes to meeting the demands of today’s market.

I was therefore impressed to see how Intel has innovated (again), providing a leap to meeting and supporting these market needs through introduction of their 4th Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors. It is the first CPU to incorporate high bandwidth memory accelerators onto the processor itself, and has the most built-in accelerators of any CPU on the market, taking a workload-first approach to innovation.

The acceleration techniques Intel has applied free up processing cores for more general-purpose tasks, leading to greatly improved workload performance as well as parallel gains in power efficiency. This allows developers to optimise to even greater heights through utilisation of the Intel® oneAPI Tools, allowing coding directly to utilise the new processor’s efficiencies and to unleash maximum performance gains at the core.

Remote working, 5G, and exponential increases in data and analytics required these breakthroughs in memory bandwidth and performance to facilitate the underlying infrastructure requirements needed to allow us to continue the innovation and customer service path the market has laid out.

Cloud computing and remote access has peaked the criticality for data security and the way that the Intel Xeon processor allows technological separation between the workloads and the cloud provider (the workload owner can encrypt and maintain security key control), which means traditional workloads can be migrated to the cloud with even greater confidence.  I have been in a wide range of discussions over recent years where legacy workloads were blocked or delayed from advantageous cloud shifts due to legitimate security concerns (provoked by GDPR, increased public breaches and consumer concerns over their data) within the business. Intel’s hardware-level security and programs such as Intel Confidential Computing will enable such projects to become un-barriered and to change the landscape offering from cloud partners to their clients. This will become particularly prevalent in projects in healthcare, government and financial services.

I also love the fact that whilst the Intel Xeon processor brings improved performance, greater processing capacity and enhance data protection, it also brings greater power efficiency at a time when carbon reduction concerns are heightening, especially in the cloud compute domain .

We live in a time where innovation is a game changer for businesses, where technology is immensely affordable and enables greater efficiencies, scalability, and customer servicing. But this has become an unparalleled technology DNA, which has led to assumptions of unlimited power, speed, reliability and service from the consumer and business user. We have educated all to be so demanding that any outage, lack of performance, ease of use or accessibility is quickly demeaned and has greater and quicker impact that at any prior time.

Users and those at the front-end have little or no consideration for the challenges of back-end delivery; the complexities needed to deliver the service from processing, power, cooling, storage, communications and so on.  With the technology barriers now being faced in business, innovations at the core of such systems are absolutely key to allowing us to continue on the trajectory we have laid out.

Businesses have performance, innovation, cost-effectiveness and sustainability as firm points on their agenda for now and the coming years and Intel Xeon processor delivers firmly in these areas. .  So, with greater performance and security in a world demanding both, what’s not to like? Especially when we add sustainability factor whereby Intel® Accelerator Engines and software optimisations can help improve power efficiency across AI, data, analytics, networking, and storage¹. This can lead to more efficient CPU utilisation, lower electricity consumption, and higher ROI, while helping businesses achieve their sustainability and carbon reduction goals.

An increasing number of leading cloud vendors such as MS Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and Alibaba Cloud are already delivering services using Intel® Trusted Execution Engines and I would expect to see this grow as the value to the end customer is recognised and awareness grows, I was surprised though to not see AWS joining this delivery party, yet……

Intel continues to innovate, much behind the scenes to the average user or consumer, but in critical areas to those who deliver the services and compute power we have all come to rely on and take for granted in our everyday lives.

1. See [E1] at 4th Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors. Results may vary.’

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