How Intel Is Keeping Ahead of Data Center Demands

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-03-07 Print this article Print

Analysis: Intel's new data center systems chief Diane Bryant also explains why Intel turned away SeaMicro before AMD made its acquisition of the microserver maker.

SAN FRANCISCO €” Intel's new data center group general manager, Diane Bryant, served as the company's CIO for four years, so she can talk the talk with customers of any size or scope.

The conventional wisdom, of course, about all IT is that is only gets bigger or smaller (depending on what sector you're talking about), faster (never slower), more capacious, lower-power, greener, simpler and easier to use.

So what does Bryant say to skeptics who say: "These new multi-core (E5 series) processors are the newest, fastest ones yet. But what about those chips Intel brought out last year, when THEY were the fastest and most efficient ever? Are those now chopped liver?"

"I  think you start here by acknowledging that the demands on the data center continue to grow," Bryant told eWEEK in an interview March 6 following Intel's launch of its E5 processor line. "Some of the numbers are staggering, like the numbers of devices, all of those uses, 24/7€”plus all the new uses, like that of the BMW car, which is constantly connected to a cloud, sending your email to you€”it actually reads your email to you€”and so on.

"So you have all these new usages, and they all require a back-end data center infrastructure. If demand was flat, if just the world stopped, you could say, 'Yeah, I've got a server, works fine, I'll keep it for another four years. But the demands continue to grow, and the environment is changing, and virtualization and security are fundamental pillars now in the enterprise that weren't there, oh, five years ago. And you didn't worry about it."

New Functions Require New Data Center Approaches

When you look at the next-generation requirements for data centers, you need to look at such security measures as encryption for all documents, email, log data and other data streams, Bryant said.

"In the past, you couldn't mandate that, the performance hit was too great," Bryant said. "Now we can stop talking about it. We can encrypt, we can secure Intel IP, we can secure employee personally identifiable information, and so on.

"You have to look at how the world evolves every year. And you say, 'Yeah, I love my old systems, my Xeon, but I need to grow consistent with the needs for increased security, increased performance, increased virtualization."

At the March 6 press conference, Bryant was asked about competitor AMD's acquisition of rising and respected microserver maker SeaMicro, which gives AMD a leg up in the emerging smaller-server market for cloud€”and standard€”systems. (See Jeff Burt's eWEEK story here.)

"We have a very robust and compelling road map for this [microserver] market, and we partner with Dell, Supermicro, NEC and Hitachi with others to be announced soon. We€™ve been also collaborating extensively with HP on low-power servers and scale-out software research," Bryant said.

"We just looked at SeaMicro's fabric. There were very few people they didn't shop their solution to. They came to us and asked if we would be interested in it, or in licensing the technology. We were not impressed, and we declined. Very soon after, we saw that our competitor bought it."

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features and Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: editingwhiz.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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