February 1, 2024 By Meryl Veramonti 4 min read

When it comes to bare metal servers, being dense is a good thing. In fact, the denser the storage and cores, the better. This week, we introduced IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers with 4th Gen Intel® Xeon® processors into more key IBM Cloud Data Centers around the globe. For anyone just catching up, 4th Gen Intel Xeon processors are Intel’s newest, most high-performing CPUs that we first announced in January 2023 across our core server fleet. Let’s unpack where core storage and compute density make a difference inside this latest IBM Cloud® and Intel release.

What is server density and why does it matter?

Greater server density can help organizations reduce core-based costs by requiring fewer CPUs while providing a matching level (or higher level) of performance—ultimately doing more with less. The same goes for attached storage and local storage options on a bare metal server, its cache design, number of threads, and more. Of course, the denser the server, the higher the cost. However, making a passive investment for denser servers that meet HPC and AI compute requirements (now and in the future) can yield gains on how quickly you time workloads to market and how many resources it takes to get them out the door. It’s an ROI that will show up not only in the form of faster production cycles, but also in the form of smaller compute footprints and less specialized hardware or software. For example, if a single CPU can do the work of two, organizations can reduce core-based licensing costs. Or, an upgraded cache design can help reduce associated bandwidth costs.  

Where does density make a difference on IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers with 4th Gen Intel® Xeon® processors?

In short, server density is all about unleashing greater value to help drive business growth. Let’s unpack where we see these dense features making predictable, powerful performance changes on our custom SKU, 4th Gen Intel® Xeon® 8474C IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers.

  • More cores, greater output – In comparison to our previous 2nd Gen Intel Xeon-based servers, our 8474C bare metal server delivers over 2x more compute density (96c./192t.) for better economy of scale with a 48-core dual processor and 96 threads as opposed to 24 cores and 48 threads. More threads (5x more) help increase the speed and efficiency of CPU multitasking without pulling additional storage resources required for heavy workloads.
  • Higher clock speeds When it comes to CPU performance and hitting that sweet spot, RAM matters. The upgrade from DDR4 3200 MHz to 8 channels of DDR5 4800 MHz on 4th Gen Intel Xeon 8474C delivers 1.5x faster memory speeds for memory intensive workloads. This helps significantly reduce lag with a massive amount of bandwidth per CPU core that was previously only achievable with overclocked memory.
  • Speed up access to data – We’re looking at over 6x the cache performance on 4th Gen Intel Xeon 8474C when comparing previous generations, which helps speed up access to data and reduces your overall bandwidth demand.
  • Speed up access to peripherals – This new custom processor also supports the industry-leading standards PCIe Gen 5 (an upgrade from 48 to 80 lanes compared to the previous generation), which is designed to deliver better access to network and cryptographic device cards on the motherboard, and RAID controllers that can process data faster into the CPU itself. With the newer PCIe Gen 5 also comes support for coherent interface with Compute Express Link – a new protocol that runs over the PCIe bus to interconnect devices like network adapters, SmartNICs, or storage adapters for highspeed and streamlined I|O bandwidth speeds.
  • More backup options – Unlike previous generations, the 4th Gen Intel Xeon 8474C features Mirrored M.2 NVMe to help support Raid 1 and other backup requirements for data integrity with enhanced boot drives.
  • Offloading where and when you need it – The built-in Intel® Quick Assist Technology (Intel® QAT) compresses and encrypts data in any state, and help save cycles, time, space, and cost by off-loading compute intensive workloads to free up capacity. It’s a purpose-built crypto and compression hardware accelerator, targeted for high-performance storage and high-volume encryption use cases where offload is optimal. This is ideal for network encryption, VPNs, content delivery systems, and more. Higher crypto throughput means freeing CPU cores for your other valuable workloads. Previously, Intel QAT was separate add-on card, and now it’s embedded into the 4th Gen Intel Xeon microarchitecture.
  • Embedded security – I know we’re sticking to compute and storage density features in this blog, but I couldn’t walk away without bringing up the newest TPM 2.0 and Intel® SGX®. Unlike our previous generation, the 4th Gen Intel Xeon 8474 is designed to deliver hardware-level protection against malware and sophisticated cyberattacks with the industry’s newest embedded authentication technology. TPM 2.0, which is FIPS-140.2 validated, can help generate, store and limit the use of cryptographic keys, help ensure platform integrity by using metrics that can detect changes to past configurations, and provide platform device authentication with TPM’s RSA key. Additionally, embedded Intel SGX helps protect your data in use and minimizes your trust perimeter via unique application isolation technology. It’s Intel’s most researched and hardened TEE for the data center.

Getting started

IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers built with 4th Gen Intel Xeon 8474C processors are currently available in DAL10, DAL12, DAL13, MAD02, MAD04, MAD05, TOK02, TOK04, TOK05, TOR01, TOR04, TOR05, WDC04, WDC06, and WDC07 IBM Cloud Data Centers with RHEL 8.x and 9.x, No OS, Ubuntu 22.04, Debian 11, Rocky Linux 8, and Windows 2019/2022 operating systems. Additional locations and operating systems will be made available throughout 2024.

  1. Visit our IBM Cloud documentation pages to dig deeper into solutioning and tutorials.
  2. Head on over to our IBM Cloud Bare Metal Server product pages to learn more about all bare metal offerings.
  3. Or, visit our Intel partner page to explore all cloud computing solutions we bring to market together.

And be sure to stay tuned for more exciting Intel and IBM Cloud news to come out of Intel Vision 2024 this spring.

Register for Intel Vision 2024

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