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Michael Dell Wants To Work With Intel CEO As AMD, Nvidia Make Server Inroads

With Dell Technologies injecting AMD and Nvidia processors inside some of Dell servers, CEO Michael Dell reaffirms his commitment to Intel’s new CEO Pat Gelsinger.

Despite Dell Technologies recently using non-Intel chips inside some of its servers for the first time ever, including Intel rivals AMD and Nvidia, Michael Dell says he’s looking “forward to continuing to work” with Intel’s new CEO Pat Gelsinger.

Dell Technologies is the worldwide market share leader in servers and has historically leveraged only Intel processors inside its hardware. However, over the past 12 months, Dell has integrated several of its servers with chips from Intel rivals Nvidia and AMD.

For the first time ever, Dell’s market-leading hyperconverged system, VxRail, began leveraging a non-Intel chip with the launch of Dell’s new VxRail E-Series which contains AMD EPYC processors. Dell executives said the new addition of AMD EPYC processors was to create more choice and flexibility for customers. “Customers are starting to make their mind up in terms of leaning toward one direction or another,” said Dell’s Shannon Champion, director of HCI and CI product marketing in June. “Being able to provide the AMD EPYC processors for the E-Series in a very small footprint with some of the performance capabilities from AMD … allows you to have it at the edge in a small form factor but use it for things like database, VDI and unstructured data workloads.”

[Related: Dell Partners Can Now Sell VMware Licenses Via New Partner Program]

Dell is also now leveraging AMD EPYC processors in its PowerEdge R6525 1U dual-socket server.

On the Nvidia front, Nvidia said in June that its new A100 data center GPU is receiving broad support from Dell Technologies. Last month, Nvidia certified its AI-focused GPU’s on the Dell EMC PowerEdge R7525 server.

However, Michael Dell reaffirmed his company’s longstanding commitment to Intel in a tweet to Gelsinger today, saying he’s looking forward to working with him in his new role as Intel CEO.

Intel has historically been the main provider of processors for Dell servers and PCs. Intel has been one of Dell’s biggest technology partners for decades.

Gelsinger and Michael Dell have a tight relationship and spoke on nearly a daily basis for years when Gelsinger was CEO of VMware from 2012 to this month. VMware is majority-owned by Dell, while Michael Dell is also the chairman of VMware.

Intel is still the dominant leader in server CPU market share, owning more than 90 percent of the market, according to Mercury Research, but rivals like AMD are slowing gaining ground.

In IDC’s recent third quarter 2020 server market share, the research firm said worldwide revenues for servers running AMD CPUs were up 112 percent year over year, while ARM-based servers grew revenues 430 percent year over year, albeit on a very small base of revenue.

One top sales executive from a national Dell Technologies channel partner said some customers have been asking for non-Intel offerings on Dell solutions for years.

“It’s good for our business when Dell adds new chip flavors to their hardware,” said the executive who did not wish to be identified. “From the price differences to more choice and everything a non-Intel product brings to the table in terms of features and innovation, that can help us win [customer deals].”

The executive predicts that with Michael Dell and Gelsinger’s longstanding relationship, Dell will continue to place its bets on Intel. “They were basically co-CEOs in my view for seven or eight years just because of how important VMware is to Dell Technologies,” he said. “I’m sure Pat spoke to Michael about joining IBM before he left VMware. So I think Dell will continue to use Intel more than their competitors going forward.”

Gelsinger has vowed to overcome Intel’s manufacturing setbacks and return the chipmaker to its “position of the unquestioned leader in process technology” as it faces increased competition from AMD, Nvidia and companies embracing alternative processor architectures.

“We will be a fountain for continuous innovation in the industry through our unmatched IP, engineering talent and research into new next-generation computing architectures,” said Gelsinger in a memo sent to Intel employees today. “I am confident that we can be the world’s leading semiconductor company in a landscape of tremendous change and set a course for a new era of innovation and technological leadership. … I know Intel’s best days are in front of us.”

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