Use Cases That Take Advantage Of The Enhanced Communications Features Of the Intel® AtomTM Processor C2000 Product Family

The Intel® AtomTM processor C2000 product1 family has a subset of server products that include enhanced communications features.  This communications focused product line codenamed “Rangeley” extends the base Intel® AtomTM processor C2000 product family with greater communications reliability, longer product lifecycle, enhanced thermal profiles, and Intel® QuickAssist Technology to accelerate cryptographic workloads.  The “Rangeley” product models that have some or all of the additional communications capabilities can be identified by an 8 at the end of the product model number (i.e. C2758, C2738, etc.), whereas the base product line codenamed “Avoton”, which does not include the communications capabilities, can be identified by model numbers that end in 0 (i.e. C2750, C2730, etc.).

The enhanced communications features are made possible through innovations in software and hardware.  The Intel® QuickAssist Technology hardware when combined with software optimized with the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (Intel® DPDK) provides additional acceleration for communications workloads.

Intel® QuickAssist Technology is enabled for direct access or via open source frameworks.  The integrated hardware acceleration includes support for Ciphers which benefit IPSec, SSL, or VPN traffic.

Ideal use cases for Rangeley scale with node density, where performance is less important and more emphasis is placed on cost savings, power efficiency, and communications.  Below are a few examples.

Cold Storage with Encryption

Cold storage refers to data that doesn’t change much and is rarely accessed.  This might include data such as music, video, photos, etc.  Cold storage is used heavily by service providers such as Facebook* to support users who need to store family photos and other content to a cloud service for occasional access and sharing.

The Rangeley platform can provide encryption for cold storage use cases making them more secure.  Additional benefits may be seen when optimizing the process with the Intel® DPDK, which has the potential to provide additional enhancement to I/O performance.  Rangeley targets the lower end market segment where bandwidth requirements aren’t as much of a priority while providing a benefit in cost savings.

Network Appliances

Rangeley can be integrated into network appliances for use in security applications that involve IPSec, SSL, or VPN traffic.  This includes uses such as intrusion detection and prevention, virtual private networks (branch office router), next-generation firewall, network routing management, and wireless base station (L2/L3 traffic).

Another instance where Rangeley would be of benefit would be SSL termination.  This capability is important for companies that require providing secure traffic, such as ecommerce or banking institutions.  In this scenario all of the cryptographic processing is offloaded to a Rangeley microserver which would sit in front the company’s main servers.  This would eliminate the need for company webservers to deal with encryption and decryption of the network traffic.

Content Delivery

Services delivered at the edge of the network to wireless customers can be optimized by use of an Intel based smart cell.  The smart cell can help reduce latency and deliver the responsiveness and always-on services that tablet and smartphone users demand.  Rangeley could be utilized within the smart cell to reduce buffering on mobile devices by caching frequently used audio, video, or media content that doesn’t require any processing.  For more information on Intel based smart cells see http://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/white-papers/smart-cells-revolutionize-service-delivery.pdf

Another example for consideration of content delivery would be Netflix*, where no content processing is required, and the video file streams to the end user via the network.

Hadoop

Hadoop* is a framework that can be used for anything ranging from off line analytics to interactive analysis.  During a normal Hadoop MapReduce query, there are parts of the workload that are network limited, parts that are disk limited and parts that are CPU capacity limited.  The relative percentage of time spent in each varies depending upon the data set and the number of servers in the cluster handling the analysis.  Rangeley maybe more efficient for Hadoop workloads that are more disk intensive, where there are less hard drives per node but more nodes available to better distribute the I/O.

Front End Webserver

Rangeley is also suited for websites where security remains a requirement but there is less demand for processing power and disk I/O by the webserver.  This would include websites that provide static content and have less complex HTML content with fewer interactions from the end user.  A few examples of a static website might include Wikipedia*, WordPress*, or Drupal*.

In Summary

As you can see there are a variety of use cases where the Intel® AtomTM processor C2000 product family may be of benefit when there is an need for  fast I/O speed and reduced power profiles, covering a wide range of datacenter and cloud needs: network devices, content delivery, web services, business analytics, and cold storage.  The hardware enhancements that assist with communications workloads can be augmented further through software optimization with the Intel® DPDK.  For use cases that may grow over time and require additional performance, Intel has scalable hardware solutions such as the Intel® Xeon® Product Families.  Regardless of hardware choice, any code optimized with the Intel® DPDK will be reusable.

 

The Author:  David Mulnix is a software engineer and has been with Intel Corporation for over 15 years.  His areas of focus have included software automation, server power and performance analysis, and cloud security.

1 “See the Processor Spec Finder at http://ark.intel.com or contact your Intel representative for more information.”

 

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