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In its second instalment, the Softcat presales team report on some of the significant news to cross their desks in the last month.

The new Intel CPU


  • Intel have started to release data on the next generation of CPUs, known as 'Broadwell', as well as revealing details of the third generation of E5 CPUs, AKA 'Haswell-EP'. These will form the basis of the new kit that will be coming onto the market in Q4 and beyond.
  • In terms of the Server CPUs, this will give us the foundation around which all the new OEMs' will be building their server line (HP Gen 9, Dell Generation 13 etc.). The demise of the quad-core CPU looks set to continue with entry models getting a bump up to 6 cores, and DDR4 memory support looks rather tasty.
  • Intel's Developer Forum begins on September the 9th, so expect to see full details around then, but for now, they have revealed some interesting info about the Broadwell architecture. Perhaps the most interesting part of this, for OEMs at least, is the potential for Core CPUs running without fans. Known as Core-M, the low power and size of the platform enables designs potentially as thin as 7.2mm.
  • The launch of Broadwell into the market is now expected to be Q1 2015.

Datacentre Infrastructure

  • There always seems to be something new in storage at the moment. New products, lots of reshuffles and constant flux in a very changeable market.
  • In terms of new products, Nimble storage have refreshed their product range, which for a vendor who has just reported 89% year on year growth, can only help to accelerate their growth. Broadly speaking there are three tiers of newness, with the CS300, CS500 and CS700. As you'd expect, performance and overall grunt goes up as the numbers do. CS700s can also be clustered. The CS200 range from the older lines still remain on the publications, so these look to be kept on for now as an entry level box. Eventually expectation is that CS300 replaces CS200.
  • Dell have signed an OEM agreement to be able to resell converged appliances from Nutanix, as well as the SC4020 or 'Baby Compellant', bringing the feature set of the large Compellant arrays into a smaller, more mid-market friendly box. This closes a gap in the portfolio, giving a Fibre Channel option in the midrange, as well as offering a differing option to the EqualLogic products.
  • VMware has lifted the covers off the product formerly known as Marvin. Now called 'EVO:RAIL', this is VMware's converged appliance. This is somewhat of a watershed moment, marking VMware's first foray into hardware, though predictably, the software is the clever bit. There is a demo video on youtube which is worth taking a look at. For a bit of trivia, MARVIN stood for 'Modular Automated Rackable Virtual Infrastructure Node'. As a VMware Premier partner we’ll be bringing you more information about this as and when it’s released.


All other business

  • The countdown to Microsoft Server 2003 going EOL has begun. Microsoft estimates that there is something in the region of 900,000 servers out there still running 2003 and that customers should start looking at alternative options – be that an on premise, cloud or hybrid solution. Softcat is ideally placed to discuss these options with you and more information can be found here -
  • The internet broke recently! This is due to the 512,000 route limit in the BGP protocol. This is however largely arbitrary, and TCAM (where routers store routes) can in fact scale higher, they just are set to default at 512K. Check your router settings. Newer kit is often dynamic (Cisco Sup2T jumps to mind as being dynamic TCAM). Get in touch with the Softcat Networking and Security team if you have any further questions about this and they will be happy to assist.

Softcat holds top tier accreditations with most if not all of the vendors mentioned above. For more information about any of the technologies mentioned please don’t hesitate to contact your Softcat account manager or email