The dual-socket server market is absolutely huge. So, any major technology refresh in the segment triggers billions of dollars in refresh purchases. HP already announced its new ProLiant Generation 9 servers and other vendors will roll out their own implementations starting today. Most server systems have a field life of three to five years. It follows, then, that Haswell-EP-based processors will replace platforms built on Nehalem-EP, Westmere-EP, and Sandy Bridge-EP. And unlike most desktop PCs, every dual-socket server can easily cost many thousand dollars.
As you are undoubtedly aware, there are three distinct lines under the Xeon banner. These E5s represent Intel's mid-range platform. The E3s more closely align with mainstream desktop core configurations, while the E7 tier is higher-end, scaling up to eight processors, many terabytes of system memory, and enabling RAS features for mission-critical applications. The E5 is a utility player of sorts, handling everything from heavily virtualized workloads to bare metal HPC applications. The "2" in the part number lets us know that we're looking at single- and dual-socket-capable parts. The "6" immediately following loses some of its meaning this time around. Previously, Sandy Bridge-EP- and Ivy Bridge-EP-based processors were also available as Xeon E5-2400s, which weren't as fully-featured. There is no Xeon E5-2400 v3 this time around, though. As of now, the E5s are 2600-series chips.