The growth in the number of computing devices and the move from "retarded" PCs to smart devices is forcing businesses to look at new ways to deploy and manage them.
That's the message from Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel, who used his Friday keynote presentation at the Dell World conference to also show how Intel is both leading and responding to the surge in devices.
Thanks to Moore's Law, which states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every two years, the number of transistors shipped worldwide has grown from 5 quintillion per year in 2005 to 80 quintillion in 2010, and is expected to hit well over 1 sextillion, or 1,000 quintillion, by 2015, Otellini said.
That growth has lead to a 60-fold increase in server performance and a 32-fold increase in client performance coupled with a doubling of client power efficiency in the last decade, Otellini said. "That sets a baseline for going forward," he said.
The most obvious result of that growth is the fact that the world's consumers and businesses in 2011 were using over 4 billion devices connected to the Internet generating over 300 exabytes of data, Otellini said. That has led to a $450 billion-plus data center spend for this year, he said.
In addition, cloud computing has become pervasive, allowing people to work any time, from anywhere, using any device, he said.
"Everything is more connective, more creative, allowing us to be more collaborative," he said.
Otellini identified four primary IT trends and their impacts resulting from the explosion in the number of transistors being shipped.
The first trend is the growing consumerization of IT, a trend in which users are using more devices to connect to the Web and are demanding the right to choose which devices they use.
This is a far cry from just a few years ago, when the PC was the only device available, Otellini said. "We at Intel love PCs ... But the PC has been retarded in the last few years," he said.
Intel's most recent response was to develop the Ultrabook, a new form factor PC which Otellini said is more portable, user friendly, and better for high-capacity creative work than any existing PC platform.
Otellini said the new Ultrabook, which will hit the market starting next year, is much more than a "cool" device. "We have to make them more enabling, for instance by adding touch screens, and more secure. . . . And of course they have to be affordable," he said.
Intel is pushing Ultrabook affordability by setting up a pool of $300 million to invest in helping component manufactures bring the required touch screens and other necessary components to market quickly and at a low price,
Intel is also betting on Microsoft's Window 8 as the primary operating system for not only its Ultrabook PCs but also for tablet PCs, Otellini said.
One of the advantages of Windows 8 is the same operating system, the same applications, will work on the PC and tablets," he said.
That fact is important also because of the need to be able to continue running millions of legacy applications, he said.
The second trend is the need to secure all those mobile devices, an area where Intel has responded with encryption and identity protection technology to secure customers' hardware, Otellini said.
Next: Better Management, Vastly Better Performance On The Way
Intel's acquisition of security technology developer McAfee let the company take security deeper into hardware architecture, enabling a more holistic approach to security than can be done with software only, Otellini said.
"All this is about staying a couple of steps ahead of the bad guys," he said.
The third trend is smart management of client and data center devices. Otellini said Intel's vPro technology, which is built into all its new processors to allow remote management of PCs, can save an estimated $5 million per year in management costs for every 3,000 PCs a company deploys, he said.
New Intel software applications, including Node Manager and Data Center Manager, also let companies easily manage their servers at the rack, row, and data center level to control power and cooling costs, he said.
The fourth trend, virtualization, has lead businesses to increase efficiency with the ability to replace multiple servers with a smaller number of new machines, Otellini said.
All these trends, taken together, take advantage of Moore's Law to make it possible for businesses to use supercomputer-like performance to tackle ever-larger problems, Otellini said.
For instance, while it cost $1 million to sequence a single human genome in 1997, that cost has dropped to $10,000 today and will soon fall to $1,000, Otellini said. "That allows personalized medicine," he said. "You couldn't do that without Moore's Law."
That same power will soon allows such tasks as predicting the path of a hurricane down to the specific zip code two weeks in advance. "This will lead to breakthroughs in saving lives," he said.