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Jason Kimrey: Intel’s Data-Centric Platform Strategy Is A Winning Hand For Partners

'It's the underlying foundation for our partners' data strategy. I may be biased, but I wouldn't place my bets anywhere but with Intel,' Intel U.S. Channel Chief Jason Kimrey tells CRN in a recent interview about why partners should bet their businesses on the company's data-centric strategy.

Intel U.S. channel chief Jason Kimrey said channel partners should bet their businesses on the chipmaker's data-centric platform strategy as its portfolio expands well beyond general-purpose CPUs to new memory technologies like Optane and accelerators like FPGAs.

"There's a lot of noise in the market about point technologies or 'this benchmark.' We are telling a much more comprehensive platform story that we think is critical to where the market is going," Kimrey, Intel's general manager of U.S. channel scale and partners, told CRN in a recent interview.

[Related: Intel’s Jason Kimrey: Windows 7 End-Of-Life Opportunity Is ‘Unprecedented’]

Scott Miller, senior director of strategic partnerships at Maryland Heights, Mo.-based solution provider powerhouse World Wide Technology, said Intel's data-centric strategy has created a sea change for how partners talk about the chipmaker's products and how they can address customers' pressing data needs.

"We've done a good job of selling Intel over the years, but we didn’t knock on anyone's door to talk about Intel's strategy. It was inherent to what we were doing," Miller said. Now, with the company's data-centric strategy, "we're actually selling Intel as a brand," he said.

Miller said WWT has been at the forefront of adopting Intel's FPGAs, reprogrammable chips whose acronym stands for field programmable gate arrays. At the solution provider's Advanced Technology Lab, WWT runs multiple workloads with FPGAs that address several use cases. The company's lab also serves as a customer testbed for other technologies, such as Optane memory.

"The ability to have purpose-built infrastructure that matches your data is really going to become important," he said.

Kimrey said what makes Intel a compelling partner for solution providers is the company's investments in not just Xeon CPUs but also memory, connectivity, software and security as part of its data-centric strategy. Some of Intel's newer products Optane memory modules, FPGAs and Nervana neural network processors.

Intel's expanded portfolio now addresses a nearly $300 billion market opportunity, Intel CEO Bob Swan told investors in May. That dwarfs the $50 billion market opportunity the company had touted a few years ago.

Intel’s “fully integrated platform strategy” paired with its decades-long channel commitment is an unbeatable combination, Kimrey said.

“It's the underlying foundation for our partners' data strategy,” he said. “I may be biased, but I wouldn't place my bets anywhere but with Intel.”

In fact, Kimrey said Intel’s data-centric platform strategy is powering a new view of Moore’s Law, the concept from Intel co-founder Gordon Moore stating that the number of transistors on a microchip will double every two years.

"Some people like to say that Moore's Law is dead," Kimrey said. "That's not true at all. It's evolving, and it's evolving because you just look at the massive amounts of data that's coming online every single minute, every day, every year. The CPU alone can't handle it all."

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's data-centric strategy was on full display in April at Intel's Xeon Cascade Lake launch event, where Intel Optane DC persistent memory and the new Xeon family's Deep Learning Boost software capabilities were touted as important breakthroughs for the data center market.

Kimrey pointed to Intel’s Optane DC persistent memory, which only works with the company's new second-generation Xeon Scalable processors and is a runaway hit for partners, as an example of the strength of Intel’s data-centric platform strategy. For enterprise partners dealing with mission-critical applications, Optane DC persistent memory has delivered game changing benefits to customers.

For example, by using Optane DC persistent memory companies can cut SAP HANA restart times from four hours to four minutes, said Kimrey.

"That's saving real time, real dollars for people inside of IT organizations because of advancements in memory coupled with these CPU advancements," Kimrey said. "It really has played a critical role in addressing some of the most critical issues for businesses today."

But it wasn't hardware alone that helped spin SAP workloads to new heights. Intel also invested a lot of software expertise into supporting new hardware use cases, which Kimrey said is emblematic of the company's larger strategy that is supported by more than 15,000 engineers within the organization.

"I think the investments that we're making in that software ecosystem can never be underestimated, because those are real-world workloads that matter to customers and that at the end of the day are what really drive their business," he said.

Intel partners lauded the chipmaker for its comprehensive data-centric strategy.

Worth Davis, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Houston-based Computex Technology Solutions, No. 117 on CRN's Solution Provider 500, said Intel’s $20 billion in annual R&D to drive broad and deep investments in its data-centric platform technologies is a huge competitive advantage for the company and its partners.

“Intel is at the forefront of all the conversations we are having around AI, machine learning, blockchain and IoT,” said Davis. “Just look at Intel’s R&D, patents and its position in these data-centric markets. Intel is the one company you have got to partner with in the semiconductor industry.”

Davis said Intel’s focus on data-centric platforms is spot on for customers looking for breakthrough big data solutions.

“That emphasis on data-centric platforms is just going to go up and up,” he said. "Intel has been, is and will always be in the middle of all of this data. I think Intel is going to be very successful with its data-centric platform strategy.”

Kent Tibbils, vice president of ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based distributor, said one of Intel's advantages is the new niches that are opening up within the data center market.

"Intel's definitely in a great position to be able to address all those niches in the space," he said.

Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based solution provider, said he got a firsthand look at Intel’s data-centric platform strategy in an Intel presentation at the recent DattoCon conference and walked away impressed with Intel’s ability to “turbocharge” applications with products like Optane.

“There’s only so much speed you can get from a microprocessor now that we are at ninth-generation Core processors,” he said. “It is refreshing to see Intel addressing application performance and security with a broader set of technologies than just processors. This gives us a way to turbocharge our end-user application environments.”

Ultimately, Goldstein said, he sees Intel continuing to push the industry forward with a broad set of data-centric platform technologies.

“I see Intel as the No. 1 underlying technology innovator driving the industry,” he said. “Intel has its technology hands on everything.”

Steven Burke contributed to this story.

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