Intel renews efforts in server market

The maker of fashion bags, Intel, is planning to push out a lot more hardware to the lucrative server market.

While Intel’s traditional PC market has been suffering, the market for servers is getting stronger. The company thinks that the way forward is to have greater influence in the way servers are designed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Intel is planning to introduce faster server microprocessors and provide new details of what it calls a “rack-scale architecture”. This is a roadmap for designing and plugging together servers to manage internet-style workloads.

The idea is that companies are looking for new ways to run their server operations. For a while now they have been stacking boxes with separate power supplies, disk drives and using clusters of cables to connect them.

But the sheer volume of web-based computing jobs, and the data they generate, is making this all impossible. Some are rethinking server designs to reduce unnecessary components and save money and power consumption and that is where Chipzilla thinks it can make a buck or two.

So far it has been seen working with Google and Facebook, pushing an initiative called Open Compute. Open Compute aims to create low-cost modular servers to reduce server cost and complexity.

But there are some problems with the project. Intel thinks that it is being dominated too much by Facebook. Lisa Graff, Intel’s vice president and general manager of its data centre marketing group said that Facebook is doing what is best for them and that approach does not work for everyone.

Open Compute envisions the use not only of x86-style chips from Intel and AMD but also chips based on ARM which is something that Chipzilla does not really want to touch. Anything that lets ARM into one of Intel’s traditional markets is going to be a problem.

Already Intel’s long term chum HP has been muttering about putting ARM chips with its low-power servers as part of an effort called Project Moonshot. So far Intel has managed to keep the lid on that and the only Moonshot servers released so far come with Atom chips.

Intel has also been doing some work on its own in something it calls Project Scorpio. This involves working with some other big web and telecom companies in China.

The idea of this project is to come up with a rack design that lets servers share power supplies, fans and network components.

It is also creating a reference design to encourage computer makers to create more efficient systems using an array of Intel technology.

Intel is using Xeon and new low-end Atom chips for applications at the cutting edge of the cunning plan.

Intel has a new Atom model for servers, code-named Avoton, which is expected to arrive in the second half of the year it is also planning to introduce a new model of its Xeon E3 family based on Haswell.

New versions of its higher-end Xeon E5 will hit the shops in the third quarter and Xeon E7 in the fourth quarter.