Intel to Buy Altera in Effort to Grow Cloud, IoT Work
Organizations are increasingly looking for accelerators—not only FPGAs, but also graphics products—to improve workload performance, though different workloads benefit from different technologies. GPU accelerators can be found in many high-performance computing (HPC) environments, while FPGAs—with their ability to be reprogrammed to meet changing workload demands—are better used in environments where software is apt to change. Intel isn't ignoring the market for application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs)—the company last month said it is partnering with eASIC to bring ASICs to custom Xeons that can be used in data centers and cloud environments. The Intel-Altera deal "is really about providing the capability to bring workloads down into the silicon, which is going to happen somehow," Krzanich said, noting that his belief is that the best path is with Altera's technology integrated with Xeon chips. The opportunity in IoT is about $11 billion, he said. The company plans to use Altera's FPGAs with its low-power Atom chips for new devices in such areas as industrial and automotive systems. At the same time, Krzanich said he hasn't ruled out leveraging FPGAs for other platforms aimed at the IoT, including Intel's tiny, low-power Quark systems-on-a-chip (SoCs). If a combination of the two "makes sense, we certainly now will have the capability," he said.Altera brings with it about 3,100 employees in more than 20 countries and 12,600 customers. The company generated about $1.9 billion in revenue and $500 million in net income during its fiscal year 2014, with about 44 percent of revenue coming from the telecommunications and wireless markets and another 22 percent from such segments as industrial, military and automotive.
Intel in late 2016 will launch the first packaged Intel-Altera products, with the fully integrated offerings coming after that, Krzanich said.