Upcoming Events

Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

Register Now!

A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

Register Now!

More Events »

Subscribe to Newsletter

  • Keep up with all of the latest news and analysis on the fast-moving IT industry with Network Computing newsletters.
Sign Up

Intel's Next CEO Must Reverse Years of Mobile Neglect

Whoever wins the soon-to-be-vacant CEO chair at Intel will presumably inherit a strong seat. Financially, Intel had a blowout year in 2011, in which both the top and bottom lines hit record highs. This year, its Data Center Group (server CPUs) is showing strong 5% year-over-year growth, and Intel dominates the server business, as our InformationWeek State of Servers report makes clear.

Sounds great, but Intel still generates more than three times as much revenue from the PC side of its business. That's a problem. The PC market, if not in outright decline, is undoubtedly in a state of long-term lethargy. And it's starting to show up in Intel's books. Its revenue and income have been flat this year, with a rough third quarter that can be easily blamed on procrastinating PC buyers waiting for Windows 8.

More Insights


More >>

White Papers

More >>


More >>

But even if Windows 8 is a hit, the future of client computing is mobile. By more than one estimate, global tablet sales will exceed sales of PCs by 2015, and, so far, Intel has been completely irrelevant to the smartphone and tablet markets.

Mobile devices present two fundamental challenges to Intel beyond eating into its fat PC margins.

First, mobile system requirements are dramatically different from servers. Whereas Intel could leverage the same chip architecture and design features for both its PC and server products, mobile devices are driving a wedge between client and server platforms. Even if Intel is ultimately successful in transforming its Atom line into a viable ARM alternative, its practice of copying and pasting many of the same subsystems from its Core products into server Xeon chips will come to an end.

Second, Intel was built on the notion of cranking out tens of millions of the same commodity parts. But despite largely using the same ARM CPU architecture, mobile chips aren't commodities, but rather a customized systems on a chip (SoC) built around a common, freely licensed core: the Dim Sum to Intel's mass produced Value Meal. Worse yet, some companies, most notably Apple, have built the CPU design talent to actually customize the stock ARM core, meaning the iPhone's A6 is tailor-made for that device.

As I wrote in September, Intel's mobile angst was on full display at this year's IDF, where the emphasis was more on power efficiency, mobile systems design and touchscreen UIs than it was on raw CPU performance, instruction set enhancements and faster system I/O. Yet if 2012 marked the year when Intel finally had its mobile epiphany, it might be too late to achieve salvation.

Don't think Wall Street hasn't noticed, as evidenced by this comment from a Piper Jaffray analyst: "While Intel's manufacturing capability is currently second to none, Samsung is catching up. Increasingly, new designs favor less expensive process technology, not high performance transistors used in PC CPUs. In the mobile era, customers such as Google, Facebook and Apple are designing their own mobile processors and server processors."

The problem for outgoing CEO Paul Otellini's legacy is that none of these market changes should have taken Intel by surprise: The iPhone is more than 5 years old and on its fifth generation, the first Android phone shipped over four years ago, and of course the iPad is coming up on its third birthday. All of this occurred on Mr. Otellini's watch, and while he's done a commendable job keeping Intel's tick-tock CPU strategy in perfect time, steadily improving both semiconductor process density and CPU architectural efficiency in alternating product cycles, he's arguably been oblivious as a classic disruptive technology came up and bit him in the rear.

Like Microsoft, Intel is facing multiple challenges to its lucrative PC franchise, and it may just be time for some fresh thinking at the top. In a world where smartphones and tablets are meeting a greater share of end users' IT needs, it's probably a good time for Intel to get new leadership; and between Intel's deep bench and the recent high-level departures at Apple and Microsoft, there's plenty of available talent.

Related Reading

Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
Vendor Comparisons
Network Computing’s Vendor Comparisons provide extensive details on products and services, including downloadable feature matrices. Our categories include:

Research and Reports

Network Computing: April 2013

TechWeb Careers