Intel: Customization Key To Transforming The Data Center

Software defined infrastructure will deliver big sales of Intel processors and gear as it helps unlock big opportunities for partners.

During a keynote outlining the chipmaker's big data offensive, Diane Bryant, senior VP and GM of Intel’s Data Center Group, said software defined architecture coupled with the big data market is a huge opportunity for Intel and its business partners.

"The big data market is growing at 35 percent a year. It's projected to be a $150 billion business from silicon systems, software [and] professional services by 2020," Bryant said.

[Related: Intel CEO Debuts Next-Gen Skylake CPU, And Touts IoT And Big Data As Its Future]

Sponsored post

Bryant set the table for developers at the Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco by laying out the company's vision for driving more opportunities as an Intel developer.

"Our industry is in a period of tremendous change," she said. "The world's dependency on technology is large and growing. Our demand for solutions outpaces our ability to deliver them. And we know that when the hurdles to deploy technology are lowered and it becomes easier and more affordable to solve today's IT problems, the pace of technology accelerates."

Bryant then focused the bulk of her keynote on breaking down how Intel was lowering those hurdles via a focus on pushing the software defined architecture -- of course -- powered by Intel's latest Xeon processors, Edison Internet of Things PCs and a partnership with open source-friend Cloudera.

"Software defined infrastructure is both critical and inevitable," Bryant said. "Pooling of resources, pooling of compute, pooling of storage and pooling of network gives you better overall IT utilization of capital and operational efficiencies."

Still a lot of challenges need to be addressed, she said. For one the data center is still too siloed with hurdles such as software defined storage not fully interoperable and still too proprietary, she said. Software defined networking opportunities also are handicapped by "proprietary fixed function network gear."

Joining Bryant on stage was Mike Olson, co-founder of Cloudera, who reinforced Intel's commitment to the Apache Hadoop project and collaboration with Cloudera. Intel and Cloudera have been in close partnership, Olson said, and Cloudera's upcoming Hadoop release (Cloudera Distribution for Hadoop 5.2) has been optimized for running on Intel's Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors.

"Big data has been around for a long time for companies such as Facebook and Amazon," Olson said. "But now it's coming down to others. Hospitals are installing sensors that are helping them do a better job at delivering care based on what they've learned. Smart sensors are revolutionizing manufacturing," he said.

"We more than double the performance of Hadoop on Intel's latest processor architecture," Bryant said.

NEXT: Big Investments To Tackle Complexities

Intel also recognizes the complexity at the software level when it comes to marrying big data opportunities with software defined architecture. The company, according to Bryant, is making big investments in a software orchestration level within the software defined architecture to have the entire system act more like the human brain.

Just like the human brain -- which gathers, analyzes and transmits signals -- Intel wants the software defined data center to shift to that model.

"We see the harnessing of data as the next killer app that will drive market growth," Bryant said. "We believe that in the near future that data analytics will be [an] explicit and implicit part of all services delivered."

The datacenters will be fine tuned for specific workloads, Bryant said, as she was joined on stage by F5 Networks Chief Technical Officer Karl Triebes. He said his company was virtualizing legacy hardware and putting those functions directly in the data center decreasing hardware cost and unlocking new capabilities.

Bryant added Intel's latest Xeon processor comes in 32 SKUs and an additional 20 custom SKUs designed for customers and their specific workload needs.

Intel partner Herald Weigold, senior consultant at German-based ITQ, an IT solutions and machine manufacturer, said Intel's Big Data vision of machine monitoring will help his firm become more efficient by allowing him to keep tabs on machines in a much more efficient way using predictive analytics to avoid costly repairs before a breakdown occurs.

"Today our Internet of Things strategy is based on expensive, wired solutions," Weigold said. "Wireless brings critical enhancements to our business from end to end -- machine monitoring, field data gathering and big data analysis."

He said Intel's postage-stamp-sized Edison PC with integrate 802.11 and Bluetooth will help drive new opportunities for his firm.

"My only reservation is sensor reliability and security. In an industrial environment there [is] a lot of machine noise that can impact wireless radios. We also can't afford any sacrifices in keeping our systems free from hackers," Weigold said. "Data collection is really important for us. If we don't get it right a bridge might collapse."