"The cloud will change the landscape"
Nick KnupFfer, Marketing Director, Intel (Asia Pacific & China)
Issue Date - 01/10/2011
What is your cloud computing strategy?
We have a vision of what the cloud will look like by 2015. While we expect our server chip sales, in the cloud space, to quadruple by 2015, we see our overall market to double by 2015. So, our cloud business is expected to be growing faster than overall Intel operations. We see three big pillars for this to become a reality. These are automated cloud, federated cloud, and client aware cloud. Automated cloud operates with maximum efficiency, with little interference from human beings, like the Load Manager, TXT, and others. Federated cloud is probably the most important thing that has to happen. It means data and application can move between clouds, and not locked into one provider. Why we need it is because companies like us do lot of computation when we design our CPUs. Currently all our servers are dedicated to the task, but if we could we would like to take advantage of the public cloud to accelerate that process, to make our chip calculations faster. But the problem is thereís no way of doing that and also doing it securely. Another example is animation companies such as Pixar would like to render their movies on public cloud, to see how they look like, but itís insecure right now. Client-aware cloud will help cloud know exactly what device you are using, be it laptop or a tablet. For instance, if you are running an application using a laptop with a big CPU, itís a different experience than doing it on a BlackBerry or some other smartphone. Therefore, the cloud should know what device you are using and give you the appropriate experience as per the device.
Do you believe that there is a post-PC era?
No, not at all. People have been talking about it since the PCs came out almost 20 years ago. Itís just semantics which are changing. In fact, we are selling more and more PCs every year. At Intel, we are selling one million CPUs every day, itís definitely not post-PC era.
And what about your smartphone strategy?
We have a dedicated team working on these kinds of products. In fact, we showcased a prototype of an Intel Atom processor based smartphone recently. We displayed it at the analyst conference we had in Hong Kong and also at the IDF, and itís high on priority list of our CEO. So we are making progress, and we are keen to be the leader in this market.
Intel has bought over MacAfee and Infineon. What's the logic behind these acquisitions?
Now security is becoming increasingly important with all the news of hacking going around; for instance, the recent Sony PlayStation hacking. Therefore, you would imagine we donít want that to be repeated. MacAfee acquisition is an effort to bolster the hardware level security in processors. While, Infineon makes communication stacks for mobile phone type application. Thus, you can guess what that will be used for. Obviously, smartphone is a big focus area for us.
What's really going on in Intel these days, when it comes to innovations?
Cloud is definitely one thing which will change the landscape. Since cloud runs on Intel, we have a big stake in it. We are also working on different types of chip architecture. In highly competitive computing space applications such as design, modeling climate, etc are very threaded and parallel, so we are designing chips which will have more than 50 codes unlike the 6-8 on current ones; we might launch them next year. We are also working on low-power consumption chips.
Anything to enhance graphics and video capabilities?
We are not doing anything on the server space. But we are very quickly advancing the technology for graphics for personal computers like laptops. So new laptops like the i5 and i7 series have a very good graphic chip embedded in them. And itís very efficient as it shares resources with the CPUs. As for hard core gaming (in 3D) you would prefer desktop with good graphic features anyway. But for nearly everybody else, the laptop chip configurations are very good. The new generation of chips that will come out next year will have even more power and graphics capabilities. So, if you expect Intel to come up with dedicated chips for only gaming or graphics purposes, thatís not happening. In fact, itís the opposite. More and more normal CPUs are getting graphic capabilities, and dedicated chips are getting less popular right now.