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Intel Taps Oracle Exec To Lead Cloud Group In Data Center Reorg
The hiring of Oracle executive Janet George to lead Intel’s Cloud and Enterprise Solutions Group was among a handful of executive moves announced in Sandra Rivera’s memo as part of a restructuring in the Datacenter and AI Group. ‘These organizational changes will help us accelerate our pace to be the preferred provider of industry-leading compute solutions for our customers today and build a foundation for the datacenter of tomorrow,’ Rivera wrote in the memo.
Intel has hired Oracle executive Janet George to lead the chipmaker’s Cloud and Enterprise Solutions Group as part of a reorganization in its prized Datacenter and AI Group, according to an internal memo sent this week that was seen by CRN.
“These organizational changes will help us accelerate our pace to be the preferred provider of industry-leading compute solutions for our customers today and build a foundation for the datacenter of tomorrow,” wrote Sandra Rivera, who was named the leader of the Datacenter and AI Group by Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger in a previous reorganization that happened last summer.
[Related: Intel Optane Leader Alper Ilkbahar To Depart]
Intel declined to comment.
As corporate vice president and general manager of the Cloud and Enterprise Solutions Group, George “will be responsible for delivering leadership solutions for a rapidly evolving market” when she begins Feb. 14, Rivera said. “Cloud today is an end-to-end architecture and deployment model for all our customers,” she added in the memo.
The hiring of George, who was most recently a group vice president at Oracle leading cloud-native, edge, machine learning and AI “strategic transformations,” was among a handful of executive moves announced in Rivera’s memo. This included the departure of Intel Optane Group leader Alper Ilkbahar, who is leaving for personal reasons and will be replaced by David Tuhy, the former leader of Optane and SSD software efforts at Intel.
As the new leader of Intel’s Cloud and Enterprise Solutions Group, George is taking over from company veteran Anurag Handa, who will report to George and take on “an expanded role leading design-in and driving [Intel Architecture] affinity solutions with all Hyperscale Cloud and Strategic customers,” the memo said. Prior to her time at Oracle, George held AI leadership roles at Western Digital and Yahoo. She was also a vice president at eBay and lead engineer at Apple.
Rivera’s data center reorganization also included the creation of the new Datacenter and AI Cloud Execution and Strategy Group, which will be led by Kavitha Prasad, a company veteran who returned to Intel in 2021 to focus on AI strategy and execution after helping found AI chip startup SiMa.ai.
“She will be chartered with developing [the Datacenter and AI Group’s] strategy for next-generation datacenter solutions, cloud architecture solutions, and deployment systems, in addition to leading Intel’s overall AI strategy and execution efforts,” Rivera wrote.
Rivera said in the memo that Matt Adiletta, senior fellow for data center architecture, will continue to lead the CTO organization in the Datacenter and AI Group on an interim basis until the company finds a permanent leader. She added that Ken Caviasca and the Custom-Logic ASIC Engineering team will move from the Programmable Solutions Group to Adiletta’s team “to ensure tighter alignment and collaboration with our cloud architecture initiatives.”
“The organization will continue to deliver best-in-class enterprise and network accelerator IPs, differentiated custom ASICs, and quality engineering services for networking and cloud applications,” Rivera wrote of Caviasca’s custom ASIC team.
As part of the reorganization, several senior fellows will join the Datacenter and AI Group’s “extended staff to provide guidance on strategy and decisions and elevate the voices of our technologists,” according to the memo.
Mahesh Iyer will join the Programmable Solutions Group, Karl Kempf will join the Datacenter and AI Operations team, Debendra Das Sharma will join the Data Platforms Engineering and Architecture team, Ronak Singhal will join the Xeon & Memory Group and Ofri Wechsler will join the AI Solutions Architecture team, the memo said.
The reorganization was announced as Intel’s dominance in the data center market faces increased competition on multiple fronts: from AMD, chip startups and companies like Amazon Web Services that are turning to alternative architectures on the CPU side, and from Nvidia and others on the AI side.
While Intel’s Data Center Group grew 20 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2021, the business was only held up by a boost in sales to enterprise customers and communication service providers. Intel’s sales to cloud service providers, on the other hand, declined by 5 percent.
Meanwhile, AMD said last week that its EPYC server CPU revenue more than doubled in the fourth quarter and for all of last year. That more than doubling of EPYC revenue in the fourth quarter also happened on the cloud side, thanks to more than 130 new AMD-powered cloud instances and internal deployments from AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and other providers.
Scott Cameron, who runs the Azure infrastructure practice for Tempe, Ariz.-based Insight, No. 14 on CRN’s 2021 Solution Provider 500 list, told CRN that the hiring of George, an executive from Oracle, to lead cloud and enterprise efforts in the Datacenter and AI Group reflects Intel’s increasing efforts to influence the consumption of Intel CPUs on specific workloads and across the hybrid cloud spectrum.
“It makes sense to pull people in from those industries,” said Cameron, who learned about the executive moves from CRN. “Oracle has a big part to play in high-end Intel CPU consumption in data centers and online.”
As one example of Intel’s increasing cloud investments, Cameron said Intel has been working to influence SAP and Oracle workloads that are moving onto Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure, which is one reason why he thinks Intel’s hiring of George is a good move.
“If they want to understand that business better, I‘m not really that surprised,” he said.