Multi-core processor benefits and trends

Dual-core success has paved the way for quad-core or many-more-core processors. Author Barb Goldworm highlights the benefits of using multi-core processors in customer shops.

With the success of dual-core and the advantages it brought, the battle for quad-core and beyond has been raging. In the x86 world, quad-core processors are shipping today (though some disagree on whether the current quad-core processors from Intel are truly quad-core). AMD quad-core will be out shortly. Sun is already shipping its 8-core Niagara chip; 8-core will likely come to the x86 market by 2008 or 2009. We are clearly moving down the path to tens or even hundreds of cores. The key to leveraging this hardware trend will of course be in the software. Multi-cores are only as valuable as the multithreading software running on them.

Multi-core processors can deliver significant performance benefits for multi-threaded software by adding processing power with minimal latency, given the proximity of the processors. The most significant benefits will be seen in applications such as larger databases, CRM (customer relationship management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), ecommerce and virtualization. The more threaded applications will clearly get more benefit. Over time, this trend is beginning to and will shape the future of software development towards parallel processing. In the meantime, target quad-core servers for those types of applications that can get the most out of them.




Technology trends in processors and servers

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 3: Licensing for multi-core processors and virtualization



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Barb Goldworm
Barb Goldworm is President of Focus Consulting, a research, analyst and consulting firm focused on systems and storage. She has spent 30 years in technical, marketing, industry analyst and senior management positions with IBM, Novell, StorageTek, Enterprise Management Associates, and multiple successful startups. She chairs the Blades and Virtualization Summit conference on blades and virtualization, and has been one of the top three ranked analyst/knowledge expert speakers at Storage Networking World. Barb has authored numerous business and technical white papers and articles and has just finished a book, Blades Servers and Virtualization: Transforming Enterprise Computing While Cutting Costs. Email Barb for more information.
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