Q&A: Will Intel's Jasper Forest Revolutionize Storage?

Do Intel's new processors signal a seminal moment in storage innovation?

Despite all the interest in Jasper Forest, Intel's latest and greatest processors, it all boils down to one thing: what does this mean for IT? Promise Technology believes the chips signal a big change in storage. To learn more about what has the company so excited and what's ahead for the data center, we spoke to Ray Bahar, vice president of Promise Technology.

Enterprise Strategies: Why do you expect Jasper Forest to bring such significant change to the industry?

Ray Bahar: There has been a lot of buzz about Jasper Forest, Intel’s latest C5500 and C3500 processors. In fact, Promise has said that Jasper Forest signals a seminal moment for storage innovation. Jasper Forest is dramatically increasing performance and a new feature set has had a significant and positive shift in the ability to address the exponential growth of data.

Additionally the Jasper Forest architecture has made it possible to have a variety of applications written for it that address such critical areas as backup and archival, media applications, video surveillance, etc. We expect that Jasper Forest will become the de-facto industry standard processor.

What industries are most likely to adopt storage based on Jasper Forest technology? Why?

Rich media, backup/archives, HPC, and cloud computing (integrated appliances) are the most likely beneficiaries of Jasper Forest technology. Why? Intel tells us that there are four key features that storage vendors and end users will benefit from: a built-in RAID accelerator, asynchronous DRAM self-refresh technology, PCIe non-transparent bridging, and increased bandwidth.

Intel said that it tailored Jasper Forest specifically for the storage industry by integrating key storage features listed above. Also, Intel is offering a fully integrated processor with XOR parity calculation, lower power consumption, and a dramatic increase in bandwidth that is available in a single- to quad-core options making it much improved from existing processors.

Is Jasper primarily aimed at an enterprise market or SMB market?

Jasper Forest is aimed at the SMB to enterprise markets. The Jasper Forest platform can evolve from a single-core to a quad-core processor, making it the ideal solution to address Tier 2 and Tier 3 storage challenges. You get more functionality without sacrificing processor performance bottlenecks.

How quickly do you expect market adoption take place?

It is here and it is happening now. We are finding great interest in this platform.

Is Jasper going to add significant cost to storage hardware?

Based on the price/performance and the tremendous throughput you achieve with this platform, I would say the cost impact is minimal to current storage architectures. Your overall cost/GB and TCO will be substantially reduced.

Will the adoption of Jasper Forest render existing technology obsolete? Can existing hardware be retrofitted with Jasper Forest?

Jasper Forest is going to be ideal for Tier 2 and Tier 3 storage challenges. Not everyone will need the type of processing power Jasper provides. If you have existing hardware and are thinking about retrofitting, the architecture would have to change to support Jasper Forest. Of course, other storage vendors that are using their own proprietary ASICS solutions will have a competitive disadvantage.

Are IT managers eager to deploy Jasper Forest technology?

IT managers continue to seek non-proprietary solutions with higher performance, more features, better price/performance, and TCO and we think our company's adoption of the Jasper Forest platform is well positioned to address those needs.

What is the most important feature to consider about adopting Jasper Forest processors?

Innovative processing architecture with lower power consumption and lower thermo is the most important feature we’re seeing interest in.

Are there any “gotchas” to watch out for when transitioning storage applications to Jasper Forest?

It’s important that you pick the right storage partner with years of storage knowledge, a solid technical team, and an excellent working relationship with Intel. Additionally, to fully leverage the power and features of the Jasper platform, we recommend choosing a storage vendor with non-proprietary solutions.

How will Promise take advantage of Jasper Forest?

We are extremely enthusiastic about the new Jasper Forest architecture and have a very long-standing working relationship with Intel, which helps provide in-depth knowledge and understanding of the unique dynamics of this new platform. We are currently looking at future product development and strategies and how best to leverage this new platform.