Intel Updates Data Center Strategy: More Devices Forces More Innovation

NEWS ANALYSIS: At its annual developers' conference, Intel unveils new initiatives involving big data analytics, high-performance computing and fabrics, security, cloud computing standards, and the increasing pace of cloud system adoption.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Intel, whose processors are firing away in 95 percent of all data centers, literally has been at the center of the data center world for generations. However, with all that power and influence in the silicon hardware sector, it has never been recognized by the general public -- and Wall Street, for that matter -- as the major player in the software world it is.

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That non-awareness is changing. Intel, with 12,000 of its 100,100 full-time people employed in its software development and testing division, now describes itself as the fifth-largest software producer in the world. And this isn't just about firmware; we're talking about software applications in all forms.

The world's largest chip designer and maker now wants to have more of an influence in how all that software runs inside those boxes and inside new-generation data centers. To do this, it needed a new approach, and Sept. 11 it sent Diane Bryant (pictured) to the Intel Developer Forum here at Moscone West to explain it all.

New Devices Fueling Change in the Data Center

"This is all rooted in the drive for innovation around the data center," Bryant, Intel's vice president and general manager of the Data Center and Connected Systems Group, told eWEEK in an interview. "There is an incredible amount of innovation taking place on the device side, with more and more people coming online with more and more devices. All of that fuels the data center buildup."

Bryant outlined Intel's data center strategy, wrapped around several announcements involving new initiatives and products. "What I'm responsible for are Intel solutions across server, storage and network," Bryant said, "all aspects of data center infrastructure, from high-performance computing, to cloud service providers, to our standard enterprise IT -- as well as all the billions of edge devices, the machine-to-machine connections."

Bryant did not reveal much detail in terms of the corporate initiatives, focusing instead on general overviews of what the world's largest chip maker is planning. The newest products involve new 22nm Xeon processors and a cloud-system research tool called Cloud Finder.

The initiatives involve current hot topics such as big data analytics, high-performance computing and fabrics, security, cloud computing standards, and the increasing pace of cloud system adoption.

A Lot Has Changed at Intel in Five Years

"Five years ago, Intel was all about selling Xeon chips to the enterprise," Bryant said. "Before 2008, 75 percent of Intel's business was with three customers: Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM, in that order. Now all this change (zillions of devices, cloud systems, larger workloads, the rise of analytics) forces us to think differently: The data center is now the system! And the cloud is the interconnection of multiple data centers.

"Intel's entire history is built on 'innovate and integrate': innovate new capabilities, and then integrate it onto a silicon platform."

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...