How Intel Is Keeping Ahead of Data Center Demands
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?"
"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 cloudand standardsystems. (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. Weve 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.