While we have numerous methods of measuring performance in terms of absolute values it is also a matter of perspective and relativity. Driving at 70mph on the freeway is very fast relative to our own walking or even running pace but pales in comparison to a 200mph race car, let alone a Mach2 fighter plane. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and as such we are always striving to improve that “weak link.” So it is with any computer or network system platform. When we had to deal with a mere 10 or even 100Mbps on the network side, processors had no issue keeping up. As we moved to GigE with first 1 and now 10 GigE the weak link or bottleneck would switch between processing capacity and network bandwidth. With the introduction of Intel's latest‐generation microarchitecture (Nehalem) and the Intel® Xeon® Processor 5500 Series we are witnessing the next step in the evolution of parallel multicore processing, providing unprecedented performance and dynamic scalability. Enabling the next generation of packaged application server platforms and ATCA blades, Nehalem processors will be there to “suck up” that 10 GigE traffic. The perfect solution for performance hungry, high bandwidth, deep packet inspection, security and other content aware applications.
When it comes to examining the evolution of processor performance or for that matter most of the technology that now surrounds us Moore’s law comes to mind. Gordon Moore, a co‐founder of Intel, observed back in 1965 that the number of transistors that could be crammed into an integrated circuit was doubling approximately every two years. We have made great leaps in our processor innovation and no longer simply add more and more resistors; however, Moore’s law has been expanded and is often used to describe the overall evolution of performance, size, capacity and price. For example a PC< will halve in price for a technology that may be 2 years old and the price for latest models remains static while performance and capacities double. The Intel® Xeon® Processor 5500 Series is the fastest yet.