Posts Tagged Intel
Intel is well known for its consumer PC chips and for its business solutions, which defined the Wintel era. Intel also has a strong networking portfolio. Long a dominant player in the adapter/LOM space, Intel has been aggressively expanding its position to adjacent technologies. Last year, Intel acquired merchant silicon vendor Fulcrum Microsystems and today announced that it is acquiring QLogic’s InfiniBand business. The acquisition is for $125M in cash; QLogic originally acquired the InfiniBand technology as a $60M purchase of SilverStorm in 2006 [Update: and $109M on PathScale also in 2006]. Mellanox is the market leader in InfiniBand, and it added Ethernet to its portfolio last year.
After a blockbuster year of storage acquisitions in 2010 with over $1B spent each on 3PAR, Isilon, Compellent, many have predicted that 2011 would be the year of networking acquisitions. Many look at Cisco’s entrance into the server business as having a ripple effect of server vendors expanding into the networking space, most notably with HP’s acquisition of 3COM and to a lesser extent IBM’s BNT purchase. This week, Intel signed an agreement to acquire merchant silicon vendor Fulcrum Microsystems and Dell announced the intent to acquire networking equipment vendor Force10. While financial terms have not been disclosed, both of these deals are estimated to be in the hundreds of $Ms and complement existing portfolios rather than changes in market direction or severing of existing partnerships.
Apple’s New MacBook Pro with Intel’s Thunderbolt is Overkill for Storage Unless You’ve Got the Bucks
Last week, Apple introduced a new MacBook Pro sporting a new interface port employing Intel’s Thunderbolt (aka Light Peak) technology. Though originally designed as an optical interface, cost pressure from its OEMs caused Intel to provide its first commercial chip using this technology with a copper-only interface.
Nonetheless, Thunderbolt is an impressive chip that provides two bi-directional channels operating at 10-Gbits/sec. That’s a total of 40-Gbits/sec and is up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0 and more than 12 times faster than with FireWire 800! Moreover, these chips will transparently carry both PCI Express (x4) and DisplayPort protocols and up to six devices can be daisy chained together. What’s more, Thunderbolt offers a low latency with 8-nanoseconds accuracy time synchronization across 7 devices.
For years, I’ve heard people talk about the fact that Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) is a technology that only Cisco is pushing or that it is a push by a dying Fibre Channel (FC) industry to extend product lives for a few more years. First of all, FC is still doing well (recent earnings from Brocade, Emulex and QLogic were all positive) and any transition from FC to Ethernet will still take many years (see my 2011 storage networking predictions). This week there were significant announcements by Intel and HP that reinforce that converged networking is much more than a Cisco initiative. FCoE will still be a minor player in the overall SAN market this year, but the ecosystem and customer adoption continue to move forward.