Tag: intel

Stevenson made a rocket for Intel’s bottom line

lal303543Digging among the rubble of Intel’s financial results you can’t help be struck by the ability of CIO Kim Stevenson whose department managed to make the company an absolute fortune in 2014.

Stevenson’s global IT budget was just over $1 billion to provide IT for more than 106,000 denizens – which would be expected to be a black hole on Intel’s balance sheet.   However she managed to generate over $351 million in revenue for the semiconductor maker.

What she did was explain to the accounts department, how her department saved the company money by using the technology that it did.  Speaking to CIO Journal she said that it was important to let the company see behind the curtain and understand how value is generated.

Last year, Intel cut IT spending to 2.3% of revenue from 2.5% in 2012. The company also reduced the number of data centres globally down to 61 in 2014 from 87 in 2011.

Stevenson built several analytics projects which were designed to make the company more efficient, for example the first one involved helping salespeople become more efficient in outbound calls to resellers. The IT team got input about what a sales win looked like and created a probability model based on machine learning. It told the salespeople which resellers to call, in which order.

In 2013, Intel moved a few salespeople over to the new system and after the first quarter, they discovered that those people were five times more productive than their peers, she said.

Then her team helped the sales people change the conversation to tailor specific discussions to the reseller’s interest. In 2014, this initiative accounted for $76.2 million in revenue for Intel.

The company also used analytics to help business management teams make critical decisions related to pricing, such as when to raise or lower product prices and when to use rebates. The IT organization worked for two years to create a data model to help the company better manage prices and inventory. Part of that included a recommendation engine that helped salespeople bundle and cross sell products. Intel has set a $1 billion goal over four to five years to increase revenue.

It all paid off. In 2014, the first year, Intel increased revenue by $264 million. “We did a little better than we thought,” said Stevenson.

Intel is open source king

Intel Q4_14_ResultsThe once famous proprietary chipmaker Intel is set to become the largest contributor to the open sauce Linux.

A report from the Linux Foundation said Intel was the largest corporate sponsor of new contributions to the Linux computer operating system.

This means that Intel has replaced some top notch software companies, having made more than 10,000 more changes to Linux Kernel.

It makes sense, Linux plays a significant role in computers integrated inside communications networks and industrial equipment, which are vital segments for Intel.

Doug Fisher, who heads Intel’s software group, is also on the board of the Linux Foundation he said that Intel wants to explore new markets through its chips by integrating it in wearable computing, connected appliances and mobile technologies. Intel has hired several thousand software developers to assist in developing new features for Linux.

Intel has made $350 million in revenue during 2014 by using a component of the IT infrastructure it supplies, according to the company’s annual IT business review.

The report suggested Intel is exploiting IT services in a better way like data analytics and collaboration tools for “optimized business workflows and [to] unlock new insights” to generate millions of dollars of new revenue.

Intel’s Skylake is delayed

menunggu-godot-samuel-beckettIt is starting to look like we will not see Intel’s new Skylake CPU until the Intel Developer Forum on August 15.

It had been expected that the sixth-gen announcements and corresponding 100-series chipsets would start to appear in the second quarter. But it appears that Intel was just talking about the lowest-end, Core M-branded members of the family.

A plausible recently leaked product roadmap puts both the mobile Skylake-U and desktop Skylake-S on the fast track to third quarter debuts between July and September.

This would suggest that everything is gearing up for a big IDF event.

This is bad news for the likes of Microsoft and hardware manufacturers who look to the release of a new chip to boost PC sales. There is some evidence that some buyers are refusing to upgrade until Skylake is out.

VR-Zone has its paws on a document that not just corroborates the August unveil deadline, but also hints at the aggressive TDPs of some of the roster’s members. The top-of-the-line quad-core K CPU will blow 95 watts of maximum heat, but there will be more energy-efficient 65 and 35W variants.

Of course there are some fears that Intel will make the same mistake that it did with Broadwell which was so late some of us dubbed it the Godot chip.

Intel plans Xeon E7-v3 CPUs with up to 18 Cores

Intel-Core-MIt seems that Intel is planning a version of its Xeon E7-v3 CPU with up to 18 Cores under the bonnet.

 CPU-World.com has dug up a list of specifications for some of the upcoming Xeon E7 series processors from Intel.

The information has not been confirmed by Intel but since the list comes from a CSV (Comma Separated Value) price list for the X-series server products from IBM it is likely to be reliable.

The CPUs based on Haswell are baked using the 22nm process. It seems to be 165 W TDP which is hardly a low power envelope but given that it is running a chip with 18 physical cores at 2.5 GHz it is pretty good.

The list is

Model                                   Cores    Frequency          TDP

Xeon E7-4809 v3               8              2.0 GHz                 115W

Xeon E7-4820 v3               10           1.9 GHz                 115W

Xeon E7-4830 v3               12           2.1 GHz                 115W

Xeon E7-4850 v3               14           2.2 GHz                 115W

Xeon E7-8860 v3               16           2.2 GHz                 140W

Xeon E7-8867 v3               16           2.5 GHz                 165W

Xeon E7-8870 v3               18           2.1 GHz                 140W

Xeon E7-8880 v3               18           2.3 GHz                 140W

Xeon E7-8880L v3             18           2.0 GHz                 115W

Xeon E7-8890 v3               18           2.5 GHz                 165W

Xeon E7-8891 v3               10           2.8 GHz                 165W

Xeon E7-8893 v3               4              3.2 GHz                 140W

 

Core counts range from four through 18 cores, and clock speeds  from 1.9 GHz through 3.2 GHz. More cores operate at lower clock speeds.

No word on price yet but these processors are likely to be very expensive so they are only going to go into server situations where they are going to get shedloads of use.

Intel’s diversity plans revealed

diversityatintel.rendition.cq5dam.thumbnail.606.336Intel’s Rosalind Hudnell is working on an ambitious plan to create a more diverse staff base at Intel.

Hudnell is Intel’s chief diversity officer,  and is responsible for implementing the company’s much publicised $300 million initiative to bring more women and under-represented minorities into its workforce by 2020. Talking to IT World she said that the company is diverse, but not diverse enough.

If she pulls it off she could break Silicon Valley’s dominance by white and Asian males, but she has an uphill battle as efforts so far have been inconsistent

Intel had 107,600 employees worldwide at the end of 2013.  Only 24 percent are women and four percent African-Americans.

Intel does have women top executives including Renee James, who is president, and Diane Bryant, who runs the Data Centre Group. And let us never forget Genevieve Bell. Intel already provides same sex domestic partner benefits; it also offers LGBT and faith- and culture-based resources to workers.  Gender and race diversity is apparently a  little tricky.

Intel is establishing specific numbers on hiring a more diverse workforce and tying executive compensation to meet those goals. However, even with Intel’s renewed commitment to diversity, the company’s workforce will still be just about 32 percent women in five years.

Most of the $300 million will be applied over five years to change hiring practices, “retool human resources”, whatever that means, fund companies run by minorities and women, and promote STEM education in high schools.

The problem is getting talent. Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) degrees are still mostly taken by men. Around 74 percent of computer professionals and 86 percent of engineers are men.

Intel aims to build a larger pipeline of qualified candidates over time by investing in STEM education.

Intel is monitoring its diversity initiative based on 59 measures related to gender, race, education and corporate role. For example, Intel wants employ more women, Hispanic and African-Americans in technical and engineering roles, which are dominated by white and Asian males. A diversity goal for the technical group will be different from the non-technical group, which employs a larger percentage of women.

Intel will also step up investments in companies run by minorities and women. That means change for the capital investment program, which is known for relying on word-of-mouth for funding decisions and being unresponsive to companies seeking investment.

“We’ll be very clear and transparent about what we’re looking for,” Hudnell said. “We’ll have a diverse advisory board that will probably make those decisions,” Hudnell said.

 

Intel thinks it has Apple by the short and curlies

Intel Q4_14_ResultsIt is rare that a company claims to have control of Apple, but it seems that Intel believes that it has Jobs’ Mob wrapped around its little finger.

After ten years working with Apple, there are rumours that Jobs’ Mob is considering ditching Chipzilla and will start making its own Mac chips.  After all Apple already creates its own chips for the iPhone and iPad based on designs from ARM and then has manufacturers like Samsung build them.

The Tame Apple Press thinks that eventually Apple’s ARM chips will be so powerful, Apple won’t need Intel anymore.

But in an interview with Business Insider, Intel’s CFO Stacy Smith brushed off those concerns and  claimed that Intel is so far ahead of the competition when it comes to PC processors that Apple – and just about every other PC maker – has no choice but to use Intel chips.

Smith said that Apple was a  “great partner of ours” and like Intel they like bringing really cool stuff to the market.

Intel’s leadership over the rest of the industry is extending. We’re not delayed relative to the industry. Intel is ahead of the industry, Smith said.

For Jobs Mob that means that if it abandons Intel it will have to lose lots of performance in its new Macs.

Intel thinks that Apple customers would have to take such a big step off performance if Jobs’ Mob abandoned Intel it is not worth it.

Of course, Smith fails to understand that if Apple decided to walk away from Intel, it would simply tell its customers its solution was better and the Tame Apple Press would agree with it. Apple has never been about performance, it has always been about the design and the Apple logo.

 

 

Intel buys German chip company

Intel Q4_14_ResultsGiant US microprocessor combine Intel has paid an unknown amount of money to snap up a Germany chip company.
Lantiq, owned since 2009 by a private equity company makes semiconductors used in different applications including broadband, wi-fi, and fibre connections.
Lantiq was sold to private equity company Golden Gate for a quarter of million euro. Lantiq was originally a wing of Infineon.
It’s believed that the Intel acquisition is part of its attempt to be a major player in the much hyped “internet of things”.
But while there is no doubt that the internet of things will generate a lot of revenue, there is no one standard and other companies, including Qualcomm and Google want to grab a share of that market too.

 

Intel hears Bell and changes its approach

Genevieve_Bell_Workers_in_the_world For years Intel has been an engineer’s company, pushed the technology of its chips, and followed a religion based on shrinking and tick following tock.  However, it seems that its mindset is changing – and it appears to be something to do with the influence of its vice president anthropologist Genevieve Bell.

Yesterday Intel held a product announcement for its 5th Gen Intel Core vPro Processor. In the bad old days we would have been given a spec sheet of all the product’s wholesome goodness and be told how great it was. We would have popped back to the office with a picture of a chip and wrote it up something like “Intel wants a world without wires”.

But the actual technology almost took a back seat – instead there was Bell.

Bell told us about how the workplace was changing along similar lines to the Industrial revolution. The needs of the Industrial revolution created a demand for documentation and lead to the evolution of the typewriter. The typewriter transformed the office and lead to a more diverse workplace, with more women entering for the first time.

Bell argued that technology is doing the same thing now and the workplace is changing and becoming more diverse as older people now work longer and with more ethnic diversity.  This change is as a result of evolving technology and a move to more creative and collaborative business practices.

So what does this have to do with the 5th Gen Intel Core vPro Processor? Answering that question suddenly laid bare Intel’s cunning plan and explains  Chipzilla’s actions of the last few years. The concept of Intel actually having a cunning plan is surprising, after Intel appeared to miss the so-called mobile revolution, we thought its direction was similar to that of a headless chicken, but Bell seems to be encouraging a different role, which it if pulls off could see Intel at the centre of significant workplace change.  Intel is thinking less about the technology, and more about how that technology is going to change the workplace. It is creating small technology combos which could make for bigger changes – not, as it has done in the past in technology, but in the workplace.

Tomasz Klekwski, Intel’s EMEA business market manager said that the technology itself was not enough to bring about the sorts of transformations which Intel wants to take place.  In other words, it is not just the chip – it is how the chip fits into the organisation and what transformations the organisation has a result.

5th Gen Intel Core vPro Processor, for example, has wireless features which enable companies to dump a huge amount of fiddly networking cabling.  It creates technology which can wirelessly and automatically connect to video screens in meeting rooms and charge and connect laptops but also build hot deskwork environments.

All this is a mobile future but it is far different from the consumer based technology being pushed by Apple and its new chum IBM which emphasises tablets, BYOD and simply packages consumer tech for businesses.

It is a vision which has an Intel notebook at its centre – admittedly one that might turn into a laptop, is super-thin and with a long battery life, but Chipzilla’s traditional money-spinner nevertheless.  But listening to Bell and Tom Garrison, Vice President, PC Client Group sell the idea in its historic context it starts to make sense.

As Garrison pointed out – consumer ideas do not work well in the business, and the money is rarely in consumer devices but more in engineering business changes.

The concept that this is all marketing bollocks is not far from the mind of any sceptical journalist, but if you accept the historical approach to the rise of technology touted by Bell you had to admit, Intel is onto something better than simply repackaging consumer fads.

If she is right, then it did not matter too much that Intel missed the mobile computing trend. Sure, it was big enough and should have had a chip in place, but mobile phones and tablets, even the Internet of things are going to be the side-salad in any serious business evolution. It will be small things that make a difference and if you know what the business is evolving into you can make the products it needs.

Intel will have a hard time selling this vision – both to IT journalists and its own staff.  The first thing we noticed yesterday was that Intel suits dominated the poorly dressed media – in fact we had the impression that the meeting was more being held for them. Secondly many hacks walked away from the event to write headlines like “Intel wants a world without wires”. Or to sing the praises of the 5th Gen Intel Core vPro.

But as the meeting pointed out, much of the technology of the 5th Gen Intel Core vPro has been around for a decade and slowly evolving. What Intel is noticing is that people are finally starting to switch on and use its functionality. This suggests that companies are getting what IT hacks and technology companies haven’t – it is not about the technology stupid it is how it creates a change.  If Intel is the only one to gets that, it will be the only one which makes a lot of money as the workplace changes.

Intel pins its hopes on enterprise market

Intel Q4_14_ResultsFaced with stiff competition at the mobile end of the market, it appears that Intel is hoping sales of expensive machines to enterprises will set the company back on track.
Talking to Reuters, Tom Garrison, an Intel VP, said that sales of its vPro microprocessors represent a fifth of the corporate PC business.
Garrison said that there are over 100 million vPros in enterprises worldwide and sales of these particular processors are particularly lucrative.
It introduced what it described as a fifth generation vPro today.
In overall terms, Intel said earlier this month that the PC market will be flat in 2015 with prices falling.

 

Intel carries on wasting money

Intel Q4_14_ResultsChip giant Intel is being stubborn about its mobile strategy and will continue to throw money at the problem.
The firm has attempted to make headway in the tablet and smartphone market but has wasted around $7 billion so far without very much result.
Now, according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, there’s evidence that Intel is going to carry on wasting money in a segment that has brought it nothing but woe so far.
Digitimes said that it is in cahoots with Chinese firms Spreadtrum and Rockchip and wants to continue to compete with Qualcomm and Mediatek in these markets.
The report claimed that it has licensed its X86 tech to both companies in a bid to ramp up its mobile business.
The report said Spreadtrum will release a number of system on a chip devices in the second half of this year.
Intel apparently wants to be a leader in the much hyped “internet of things”.

 

AMD rumoured to be up for sale

AMD, SunnyvaleFinancial analysts on Wall Street yesterday gave credence to rumours that Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is up for sale.
The putative buyer is rumoured to be a Chinese company but there are caveats around such a deal.
For example, AMD’s licence agreement with chip behemoth Intel would fall into desuetude if such a sale was to go ahead.
But the company may be worth something even without that element, given that AMD’s X86 business isn’t that important any more.  Its graphics business continues to do well.
AMD’s share price closed yesterday at $2.70.
On the 20th of January, AMD released its fourth quarter results, showing revenues of $1.24 billion – down 22 percent compared to the same quarter the year before.
Newly sprung CEO Dr Lisa Su said then AMD had made some progress diversifying its business but admitted its PC business faced challenges.
It is facing “channel headwinds” in its computing and graphics segment, she said then.

 

Windows 10: the mess begins

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseMicrosoft appears to have further muddied the waters with its announcements about Windows 10 last week.
The new version of Windows, which no one really expects to be available until September this year at the earliest, is supposed to run on all sorts of different hardware platforms.
But, according to veteran expert Mary Jo Foley over at ZD Net, you might need a degree in both physics and marketing to try and make any sense of what’s in store for millions of people later this year.
She writes that the different SKUs – stock keeping units come in a plethora of shapes and sizes.
For example, the preview edition available to test now is Windows 10 desktop that will run on Intel based devices.
But the February version will be Windows 10 mobile and that’s intended to run on phones based on ARM chips.
There are other versions of Windows 10 intended for different kinds of devices.
You can read more about what Mary Jo has to say, here.
Our take on this is that all Microsoft will do is persuade its enterprise customers and everyone else that it is deeply confused about the future.
Some sources estimate that as many as 10 percent of people that use Windows are still using Windows XP.  That’s because they failed to be convinced it was worth moving to Vista, Windows 7, or the widely disrespected Windows 8.1.

Mediatek munches up Qualcomm’s lead

qualcomm-snapdragonA report from US firm Strategy Analytics said that while Qualcomm still had a 64 percent lead in the third quarter of 2014, its lead is being eaten into by Mediatek.
Mediatek has 17 percent share of the top five baseband revenues, followed by Spreatrum with six percent revenue share.
Qualcomm did have 85 percent share in the LTE baseband market but that fell to less than 80 percent in the period, mostly due to incursions from the Chinese company.
Mediatek overtook Marvell and Strategy Analytics believe it is set to continue its growth in LTE.
During the quarter, HiSilicon, Intel and Marvell made progress in the marketplace.  Intel won some major design wins with Samsung.

 

Dell, HP fight back on server prices

server-racksA price war has developed on the server front after multinationals faced competition from original design manufacturers (ODMs) that make the machines.
Over the last year or so, companies such as Quanta Computer have undercut Dell and HP and won big orders from the likes of Google and Amazon.
Digitimes reports that HP is fighting back by striking a deal with giant Taiwanese combo Foxconn to offer cut price X86 servers to customers.
Meanwhile, Dell has struck a deal with Microsoft to offer cloud based systems in a bid to sell private cloud data centres.
But while the news might be good for enterprises looking to pay less for their X86 servers, it can’t be good news for margins.
And Intel, which supplies the majority of microprocessors that power servers, must be worrying about an effect it may have on its margins.

 

Oracle unveils X5 with Intel Inside

Oracle-Announces-X5Oracle chairman and chief technology officer Larry Ellison unveiled X5, its fifth generation of Oracle’s engineered systems, to media and analysts at company headquarters on Wednesday afternoon.

Ellison introduced the company’s X5 as “the future of the datacentre” based on Intel Xeon® E5-2600 v3 processor family (Haswell-EP with up to 32 cores) and support for high bandwidth NVM Express (NVMe) flash drives.

The X5-2, a 1U two socket server, is designed and optimised for running Oracle Database in a clustered configuration. Optional four NVMe drives can be used to accelerate Database performace via Smart Flash Cache. This server is targeted at high-density vitualization environments.

The X5-2L, a 2U platform, is targeted for single-node databases and enterprise storage applications. The supports up to 758GB of memory, and configured for a maximum of 50.4TB of direct attached storage.

Also announced was Oracle’s NVM Express (NVMe) design providing up to 6.4TB of hot-swappable flash providing 2.5X the data rate of older SAS3 SSD interface drives using PCIe Gen3 Small Form Factor NVM SSD drives (12Gb/s vs. 32Gb/s). NVM Express flash technology is optimized to accelerate Oracle Database using a feature called Database Smart Flash Cache. This feature keeps recently accessed data warm in flash storage, reducing the chance that the database needs to fetch the data from slower magnetic media that may be direct attached or resident on a NAS/SAN fabric. In addition to the high-bandwidth interface to the NVM Express SSDs, the flash technology itself has been engineered to be high-endurance and write-optimized for Oracle Database.

Ellison’s new “vision” entails connecting datacentres efficiently and at lowest cost to the cloud – “There has to be some degree of compatibility between the public cloud and your private datacentre”, Ellison said.

Ellison emphasised Oracle’s “new strategy” using Intel processors to compete for the two-socket core business. The new “Virtual Compute Appliance X5” converged infrastructure system, consists of compute servers and software defined networking.

That integration comes in the form of th Virtual Compute Appliance X5 converged infrastructure system, consisting of compute servers, software-defined networking and Oracle designed hardware. Ellison went on to highlight the company’s abilities in software defined configuration of server and storage networks on VCA, supporting infiniband internal networking with external connectivity provided by Ethernet and Fibre Channel to link with existing networks.

Included within the X5 product portfolio are Oracle’s Big Data Appliance for Hadoop and NoSQL big data jobs and Exalogic X5-2 for private clouds.

Ellison described Oracles Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance capable of full data recovery with real-time “redo” transport and fully automated recovery functions, log re-examination with extraction of malicious transactions followed by re-entry of those processes again allows the appliance to be restored to any point in time.

Further the appliance, which can handle thousands of databases with backup connections to on-site datacentre, remote datacenters and cloud. “The big deal is it’s fully automated, so it’s easy to operate, and you never lose data. It’s a no brainer appliance as we have, “Ellison stated.

Ellison reminded the audience that “Oracle manufactures tests and supports all of these products in-house”, naming rivals Cisco, EMC, VMware, Microsoft and Red Hat hinting at more expensive and fragmented support by rivals. Further “One appliance alone can handle thousands of databases with potential backup connections to on-site datacentres, remote datacentres, and the cloud.” he said.

“The big deal is it’s fully automated, so it’s easy to operate, and you never lose data. It’s as a no-brainer appliance as we have,” Ellison remarked.

He further stressed Oracle has manufactured, tested, and support all these pieces in-house, calling out rivals Cisco, EMC, VMware, Microsoft, and Red Hat and hinting at more fragmented (not to mention expensive) deployment options. All X5 machines are available now.

TechEye Take

The rumor of the Intel invasion of Oracle has been circulating since OracleWorld 2012. This is a major shift for Oracle. The company’s management, currently in the midst of a “reinvention period”, includes the fact that Larry Ellison is executing a gradual accession plan as he moves toward retirement.

The X5 release is seen as one aspect of the company’s new strategy – one in which the company protects their private datacentre market base while adjusting to a world increasingly enveloped by the evolution of open hardware, software and the cloud. Ellison is a sharp toothed shark and Oracle is having a problem finding a way to replace his natural instincts – how this evolves is another one of those “only in the valley” stories.

It is looking like a very good year for Intel’s E5000 series though…,