Friday20 May 2022

Intel launches a new Xeon based SoC that should be perfect for Firewalls and NAS boxes

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In an unsurprising move Intel has kicked out a new SoC (System on Chip) that bears the label Xeon. The Xeon D 1500 family is intended as to be a one-chip solution for networking devices, storage appliances and micro-servers. The Xeon D also has functions to assist with compute operations which should make it pretty versatile.

The new family will start off with two members including the octo-core 2GHz 1540 and the quad-core 2.2Ghz 1520. It will be interesting to see if NAS (Network attached Storage) makers switch from Atom to this more powerful CPU family. We know that more than a few Firewall makers are eying this one to help them deal with the demands of NextGen software. If you do not know that term, let me explain.

NextGen for firewalls and network appliances is a generic term for using virtualization to handle multiple services and systems inside the same box. In other words, your actual firewall rules, IPS services, VPN, Http Proxy and more can all be run on one box inside separate memory and CPU spaces. These are kept in touch with the hardware by a hypervisor (of sorts). It is intended to make these systems cleaner and more functional. Having something like the 1540 under the hood could greatly increase performance without demanding more power.

Likewise dropping on into a NAS box could give you options for processing OS, application and network information, but still let you drop in a more powerful RAID controller than what has been used before. It potentially could bring about a new breed of NAS box to consumers (instead of the Atom based ones we are seeing). We will be reaching out to a few friends we have in the storage industry to see what they think about this as well.

This is not the first Xeon based SoC to hit the market, but Intel might finally have found the right mix of power and performance grabbing the best things from the Atom and Broadwell architecture. We guess time will tell if these make it out to a new class of appliances and NAS products or not.

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