Kevin Thompson, CEO of SolarWinds said that SolarWinds was doing what it has done for almost 20 years—identifying gaps in the solution set for its customers and then working to fill that gap with an “easy-to-use, affordable solution”. The addition of an ARM product will help users deal with internal issues around system and data access.
One of the problems with the cloud is that many of the services and apps, and data used in critical decision-making are better kept on premise or in smaller enterprise data centres. Cloud goes against the demand for mobility too as the data needs to be kept closer to the machine.
Now Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Intel and ARM, as well as researchers at Princeton University, are betting that the future of enterprise computing will be a hybrid model where information, applications and services are split between the cloud and the fog. Cisco came up with the name “fog computing” you can probably tell.
Cloud based data centres are huge and are working ok for now. But when, and if the IoT appears on the scene things are going to get messy.
When everything from cars and drones to video cameras and home appliances are transmitting enormous amounts of data from trillions of sensors, network traffic will grow exponentially. Real-time services that require split-second response times or location-awareness for accurate decision-making will need to be deployed closer to the edge to be useful, something which would cause the cloud to break.
The only thing which will save the cloud really is increased technology, or coming up with a hybrid approach to data. That will enable distributed fog networks in enterprise data centres, around cities, in vehicles, in homes and neighbourhoods, and even on your person via wearable devices and sensors.
If this sounds like the old “distributed computing” over “Centralised computing” debate which happened as the Internet was starting to arrive, it pretty much is. What Cisco is suggesting is incredibly complex networks.
That’s according to chief analyst Dale Ford at IHS, who said the merged entity will be in the top 10 semiconductor companies in the world, outranking other giants such as Broadcom and ST Microelectronics.
He said the strength of uniting Freescale and NXP will be shown in automotive applications particularly.
NXP, formerly the semiconductor division of Dutch giant Philips, used to compete in the same market, said Ford.
But the new top 10 will look fundamentally different. By revenues, Intel will remain number one with 14.14 percent, followed by Samsung, Qualcomm, SK Hynix, US DRAM firm Micron, Texas Instruments and Toshiba.
The merged company will be second place in the micro controller market, and it will also have significant share in the digital signal processing (DSP) market, much used in consumer applications.
IHS noted in its report that Freescale is practically an exclusive source for power architecture processors – and although its share in this market is tiny compared to ARM and X86 semiconductors, it has big wins in the military aerospace market.
The news is bad for ARM because it is wanted to dominate the microserver market and this package is exactly what it does not want out there.
The Xeon D line is built on Intel’s 14nm process technology and combines the performance of Xeon chips with the size and power savings of a SoC.
Intel says the Xeon D delivers up to 3.4x faster performance node and up to 1.7x better performance per watt compared to the company’s Atom C2750, which is part of Intel’s second-generation 64-bit SoC family.
Xeon D is the third generation and it’s actually based on Intel’s 14nm Broadwell architecture.
This puts Intel in the running for those customers who want low-power, high density infrastructure products. In fact Intel says that it can deliver server class reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features in an ultra-dense, low-power device.
Cisco, HP, NEC, Quanta Cloud Technology, Sugon, and Supermicro have sworn their loyalty to the chip, before all their dark gods, and are committed to building microserves based on Intel’s new Xeon D options.
This means ARM has not got much time before actual products are out there.
Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group at Intel said that the growth of connected devices and demand for more digital services has created new opportunities for information and communication technology,” said.
“By bringing Intel Xeon processor performance to a low-power SoC, we’re delivering the best of both worlds and enabling our customers to deliver exciting new services.”
Intel’s kicking things off with two Xeon D processors, the D-1540 with 8 cores, 16 threads, 2GHz, 45W TDP and D-1520 with its 4 cores, 8 threads, 2.2GHz, 45W TDP. These have memory controllers capable of up to 128GB of addressable memory.
They also feature an integrated platform controller hub (PCH), integrated I/Os, and two integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports.
All of this is based on Intel’s Broadwell so should give a reasonable performance per watt.
New CEO Lisa Su has said ARM servers will account for as much as 15 percent of the total server market in less than five years and AMD wants a slice of that.
It is a long term gamble, and one which is a move away from AMD’s traditional x86 plans.
What is also strange about the plan is that it does create rivals from companies that are also bidding to put ARM in the data centre.
There is also the problem that ARM adoption in the server space is new and lacks the software and driver maturity of x86 – something which AMD actually knows rather a lot about.
To keep the flag flying. AMD plans to increase its custom semi-design business. AMD has recently signed a number of new customers up to its “semicustom” practice, which it expects to grow into a business worth as much as $1 billion in much-needed new revenues.
Mark Hibben, at Seeking Alpha, said that while the CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich, delivered a keynote at MWC, Samsung’s announcement of the Galaxy S6 phone shows that the California company is way behind in its egregious goals.
Hibben said that Samsung is targeting Apple’s iPhone 6, “making it clear that Apple and Samsung completely dominate the mobile device world, leaving Intel with only aspirations”.
The Galaxy S6 smartphone uses a Samsung 64-bit processor, using the company’s 14 nanometre FinFET process.
He said this shows that ARM has leaped into the process lead over Intel, which only has its SoFIA on a 28 nanometre TSMC process, said Hibben. That, he thinks, makes Intel two generations behind process tech for smartphones.
He said companies like Apple and Samsung “can deploy staggering capital resources in the pursuit of non Intel Inside”.
Intel made a $4.2 billion loss in its mobile group in 2014.
The competition runs from March to June this year with the goal to create devices in the home automation, measurement, the internet of things or system control.
Registration for the contest starts today and finishes on March 31, 2015. Competitors will receive software development tools, a debug unit, hardware containing the M4 chip and peripheral components.
Competitors can choose from platforms provided by Freescale, Infineon, NXP or ST Microelectronics.
Final prototype designs need to be submitted by the 30th of June 2015, with winners announced in October 2015. There will be five prizes ranging from $500 to $5,000.
Reinhard Kell, director of micro controller tools at ARM said: “New technology invention was previously the domain of those with advanced processor knowledge and access to funding. That has changed now.”
Competitors get a complementary licence for the ARM Keil Microcontroller Development Kit, professional edition.
You can register for the competition by clicking here.
ARM posted a 25 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit, ahead of expectations, helped by a strong year end in companies licensing its technology and growing royalty revenues.
The Tame Apple press claims that the ARM success has all been down to Apple’s iPhone 6, although ARM powers most of the world’s smartphones.
ARM reported pre-tax profit of 118.9 million pounds on revenue of 225.9 million pounds, up 19 percent.
Licensing revenue was up 27 per cent on the year mainly based on 53 licences signed for processors.
“We anticipate that total group dollar revenues for Q1 will be up about 10 percent year on year, based on strengthening royalty revenue growth, and our expectation of the profile of license revenue through the year,” the company said.
Analysts were predicting pre-tax profit of £113 million, according to a consensus compiled by Thomson Reuters.
It is all part of ARM’s cunning plan to make chips for the internet of things. It seems that the move by Intel to buy McAfee is starting to make some sense and ARM is seeing the wisdom of having inhouse security software.
Offspark’s PolarSSL technology is designed for sensor modules, communication modules and smartphones.
ARM said buying the group would add its security and software cryptography to its IoT platform, designed to link billions of devices online.
It is not clear how much ARM paid for the security outfit. ARM has promised that the technology will remain open source and will be made available to developers for commercial use.
It complements ARM’s Cryptobox technology of mbed OS that enables secure execution and storage.
Apparently ARM is to release mbed OS under an Apache 2.0 licence which will include mbed TLS, Thread, and other key technologies toward the end of 2015.
The release of mbed TLS 1.3.10 is now available under GPL and to existing PolarSSL customers on polarssl.org.
We will not see the new Cortex-A72 processor hit the streets until next year but it is being touted as saving ARM’s bacon.
Investors are concerned about lower royalty rates for ARM as growth in the smartphone market shifts to China, where consumers typically buy devices priced at $200 or less, compared with more than $600 in the United States.
ARM licenses its processor technology to other semiconductor companies and receives its cash based on the selling prices of chips shipped by its partners.
On the technical side, ARM claims the new processor has 3.5 times the performance of comparable chips from 2014.
The chip design will also deliver a 75 percent reduction in energy use, helping reduce battery drain on smartphones, they claimed.
However, most of the advances depend on contract manufacturers like TSMC getting its 16nm process technology to higher yields.
Nandan Nayampally, ARM’s vice president of marketing, said with the Cortex-A72’s increased computing horsepower, smartphones and tablets will be able to handle complex computing like voice analysis without having to connect to the Internet.
Many compute-heavy tasks on smartphones today are handled remotely in data centres owned by Internet heavyweights like Amazon, Google and Facebook In instead of by the smartphone’s processor, with results instantly sent to the device.
Ten companies have licensed the new technology, including China’s Rockchip and Taiwan’s MediaTek, ARM said.
Intel released its fourth quarter 2014 results yesterday afternoon with income jumping 39 percent on improved demand for personal computer and server system chips. The company allowed that it is expecting a somewhat flat first quarter for 2015 which led shares 1.9% lower in after-hours trading. The PC Client Group’s earnings improved by three percent while the Data Centre Group’s earnings improved by 25 percent. Overall revenue increased by six percent year-on-year and gross profit margin exceeded 65 percent.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share earnings of 66 cents and revenue of $14.71 billion.
For the current first quarter, Intel projected revenue between $13.2 billion and $14.2 billion and gross margin of 60 percent, plus or minus a couple percentage points. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue of $13.76 billion and gross margin of 61.2 percent, according to Reuters.
For the year, Intel projected revenue to rise by a mid-single digits percentage rate and achieve a gross margin of 62% of revenue, plus or minus a couple percentage points. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue to rise 4% and gross margin of 63.4%, according to Reuters.
PC Client Group Improves
Intel’s integral attachment to the PC market greatly affected earnings as the PC market growth slowed and consumer market demand was satisfied with less costly tablets and high capacity smartphones. The uptick in PC demand last spring has had a positive effect on earnings and aided in the company’s turnaround effort to become “the” dominant supplier in the mobile market. With Intel’s 14 nm manufacturing muscle Brian Krzanich is now “loaded for ARM” vowing to place 40 million Intel chips into tablets now dominated by ARM Holdings PLC.
3D 256 Gb NAND-Flash Bundling?
No mention was made by Intel of its recently announced 3D 256 Gb NAND-Flash devices. Intel has what can only be called an obsession with its ability to control the memory side of the sales equation without owning any of the fixed assets to produce it.
Analysts have been wondering why Micron was not more upbeat on the announcement; it is, after all the controlling partner in Intel-Micron Flash Technologies, Inc. (IMFT). Sources indicate that Intel will most likely begin bundling Processors and Memory kits with Intel claiming the lion’s share of margin leaving Micron to its own pursuits with its share of output.
Last but Not Least
The Data Centre Group is rumoured to be the earnings darling of the coming quarters with sources indicating market moving announcements over the first half of 2015. Those announcements concern Intel’s SDN for Cloud Computing efforts…
According to WCCFTech.com, AMD GPUs are made by TSMC as are Nvidia’s chips. But it looks like all TSMC’s capacity has been sucked up by Apple and Samsung.
This is hard on Nvidia which already had to make the chips in its GTX 980 and 970 cards, using the 28nm process instead of the 20nm it wanted. Nvidia thought it was better to skip 20nm and go straight to 16nm for future designs.
AMD wanted to drop from 28nm to 20nm for its new GPUs but hit the same capacity issue which stuffed up the delivery of AMD’s 20nm R9 300 series graphics cards. We expected these in February and March of this year but now they are at least two months behind.
AMD’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster has warned that there would be 20nm and 28nm products in 2015 but no 14nm or 16nm products until 2016.
And the reason is because Apple’s 16nm A9 chip, which is being made by TSMC has priority and what is left is being taken by Samsung which outsources a lot of work to TSMC.
AMD and Nvidia are stuffed. The only other manufacturer with spare 14nm capacity is Intel and it is not very likely that Intel will sell capacity to its rivals.
What this means then is that the world is not getting cutting edge GPU technology from the two top vendors because Apple has a huge control of TSMC and Intel is Intel.