Intel’s new data centre systems chief Diane Bryant on keeping up with data centre demands and why Intel turned down SeaMicro
Intel’s new data centre group general manager, Diane Bryant, served as the company’s CIO for four years, so she can talk the talk with customers of any size or scope.
The conventional wisdom, of course, about all IT is that is only gets bigger or smaller (depending on what sector you’re talking about), faster (never slower), more capacious, lower-power, greener, simpler and easier to use.
So what does Bryant say to sceptics who say: “These new multi-core (E5 series) processors are the newest, fastest ones yet. But what about those chips Intel brought out last year, when THEY were the fastest and most efficient ever? Are those now chopped liver?”
“I think you start here by acknowledging that the demands on the data centre continue to grow,” Bryant told eWEEK in an interview on 6 March following Intel’s launch of its E5 processor line. “Some of the numbers are staggering, like the numbers of devices, all of those uses, 24/7—plus all the new uses, like that of the BMW car, which is constantly connected to a cloud, sending your email to you—it actually reads your email to you—and so on.
“So you have all these new usages, and they all require a back-end data centre infrastructure. If demand was flat, if just the world stopped, you could say, ‘Yeah, I’ve got a server, works fine, I’ll keep it for another four years. But the demands continue to grow, and the environment is changing, and virtualisation and security are fundamental pillars now in the enterprise that weren’t there, oh, five years ago. And you didn’t worry about it.”
When you look at the next-generation requirements for data centres, you need to look at such security measures as encryption for all documents, email, log data and other data streams, Bryant said.
“In the past, you couldn’t mandate that, the performance hit was too great,” Bryant said. “Now we can stop talking about it. We can encrypt, we can secure Intel IP, we can secure employee personally identifiable information, and so on.
“You have to look at how the world evolves every year. And you say, ‘Yeah, I love my old systems, my Xeon, but I need to grow consistent with the needs for increased security, increased performance, increased virtualisation.”
At the press conference, Bryant was asked about competitor AMD’s acquisition of rising and respected microserver maker SeaMicro, which gives AMD a leg up in the emerging smaller-server market for cloud—and standard—systems.
“We have a very robust and compelling road map for this [microserver] market, and we partner with Dell, Supermicro, NEC and Hitachi with others to be announced soon. We’ve been also collaborating extensively with HP on low-power servers and scale-out software research,” Bryant said.
“We just looked at SeaMicro’s fabric. There were very few people they didn’t shop their solution to. They came to us and asked if we would be interested in it, or in licensing the technology. We were not impressed, and we declined. Very soon after, we saw that our competitor bought it.”