Intel: towards a simplification of the Xeon range thanks to SDSI?


In the next Linux 5.18 patch, the Intel SDSi should be fully integrated, allowing to pay for the unlocking of some features on each CPU. A method that could reduce the lengthy ranges of 30-40 different models?

Intel SDSi: processors with paid options?

The world of servers is a complicated one, where there are many different applications that require unique solutions. In this context, for years, Intel has been offering a wide range of processors, for example Xeon Ice-Lake with 42 different CPUs or Cascade-Lake with more than 70 different versions.

Intel segmented the range according to several criteria: RAM capacity, support for a single socket or more (2S/4S/8S), optimize for the cloud and VMs… etc.

Intel Xeon Ice-Lake Scalable

This is what would give interest to this new feature called SDSi (Software Defined Silicon), which would solve its problems of segmentations on server processors, needing to manufacture only certain models with the maximum number of cores, instructions, cache… and then to restrict the CPU as needed.

The buyer could, if he wishes, pay for certain options that might be necessary in the future, without having to order a new processor with the required features.

Of course, all this will bring back bad memories of the Intel Upgrade Service from ten years ago, where you could unlock the cache and increase the frequency of certain CPUs, a system that was abandoned quite quickly in view of its popularity.

It is important to remember that SDSi will only be present on server processors and will not (for the moment?) affect the general public. We will have to wait for the next Linux 5.18 release and an official announcement from Intel to know more.