Intel Looking to Boost Enterprise Biz in 2014
On the horizon is the upcoming next-generation high-end Xeon E7 v2 chip series, which reportedly will include a 15-core processor code-named "Ivy Town." Later in the year will come the 14-nm E3 "Broadwell" chip and a system-on-a-chip (SoC) version of Broadwell, as well as other offerings. Intel also will continue to expand its data center reach beyond servers and into such areas as networking and storage devices, including with its SSD offerings. In December, Intel unveiled the high-end Highland Forest networking platform, which pairs a Xeon E5-2600 v2 CPU with its new Coleto Creek chipset, and said accelerator chips for such jobs as packet inspection and encryption were being developed. Intel officials are targeting what they say is a $16 billion market, of which Intel only has 5 percent. The company also is looking to its low-power Atom platform for the networking space. In September, Intel rolled out the Atom C2000 family, which included not only the "Avoton" chip for microservers but also the "Rangeley" offering for networking systems. Intel is looking to challenge established platforms—such as IBM's PowerPC, ARM and MIPS—in the networking space, Poulin said. "Atom gives us a great opportunity to come in and sweep up a lot of these [networking] designs," he said.In addition, more virtualization means fewer servers, according to Peter ffoulkes, research director for servers and virtualization at TheInfoPro. "Generally, people are getting by with fewer servers, so there is less money being spent on them," ffoulkes told eWEEK. Gartner analysts also are expecting most of the action in servers to be in one of two places: in hyperscale environments in the low end and converged infrastructures in the high end, with less demand for systems in more mainstream areas.
However, despite improving economy and product plans, Intel and other server and component makers will continue to face challenges, according to analysts. In a report in December, analysts with TheInfoPro said spending on IT infrastructure—particularly servers—will slow over the next two years. Enterprises that had gone on a spending spree on x86-based servers and other hardware to get their infrastructures ready for virtualization have largely completed the job, and are turning their focus now to software.