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Intel Stacks Enterprise Chips with SOA

SAN FRANCISCO -- Taking a cue from the software industry, Intel is adding Service Oriented Architecture-like qualities to its silicon.

Similar to the way software vendors are linking Web services resources on demand, Intel is designing its chips to let IT departments virtualize and compartmentalize their two-way and larger servers in a way that multiple software operating systems and applications can run independently and all be managed from a central point. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker outlined its new modular approach to its enterprise Itanium and Xeon processors during its bi-annual Developers Forum here.

Under the moniker of its Service Oriented Enterprise (SOE) initiative, Intel said it is combining elements of mobility, grid computing and system management into the framework. The company said the silicon-level controls also provide a basis for new capabilities and services such as RFID and Voice over IP telephony .

"The way we view SOE is a new generation for compute platforms," Deborah Conrad, vice president and co-general manager of Intel's Solutions Market Development Group, said during a keynote Tuesday. "This is going to require a broad ecosystem leadership of which, Intel is a key leader."

And while it is both a hardware as well as a software solution, Intel said its plan can help boost utility computing plans of software vendors like IBM, HP, Computer Associates, VMware, and VERITAS. Conrad said more initiatives based on this SOE initiative will be coming soon.

Intel is so committed to the program, that it tested the SOE configurations within its own corporate infrastructure. Prasad Rampalli, Intel vice president and chief architect of its Information Services and Technology Group, said some 78,000 employees in 294 sites around the world can now access Intel's internal system remotely, many from wireless networks. The benefit, he said is that the company keeps its pulse on the system and reduces system downtime, technical assistance visits and operational costs.

"As I see it, CIOs today are facing four challenges," Rampalli said. "First is the re-architecture of legacy systems and automation processes including modulation and virtualization. Secondly, security and controls spending is growing by about 15 percent of a CIO's annual budget. Third, is that data volume continues to grow by a factor of 2x every 12 to 18 months must harness as a corporate asset. Finally, business solution integration must migrate to a plug and play platform. To turn the cost curve, CIOs need an environment founded on modularity, standardization, automation and end-to-end manageability."

One key component to Intel's plan is its new Active Management Technology -- or iAMT. The software works with attributes in the server processor's silicon to let IT managers remotely access every networked computing system, even systems that are powered down, the operating system has locked up or the hard drive has crashed.

The technology is integrated into tamper-resistant hardware and firmware to prevent intentional or inadvertent removal of inventory, remote control or virus-protection agents from the systems. Intel said the technology features an out-of-band link that is independent of the operating system. This lets IT managers access a system even if the operating system is inoperative.

Companies like Altiris, BMC Software, Check Point Software Technologies, Computer Associates and LANDesk Software are early adopters of Intel's iAMT and are already showcasing their versions early solutions based on the technology for remote management, security, diagnostic and inventory.

Intel's Active Management Technology is also the latest in a set of product enhancements that the company is referring to as its "*T family." The technologies, which include Hyper Threading and Intel's 64-bit extensions (EM64T), will also be joined in 2006 with Intel's LaGrande Technology (Security, LT) and Vanderpool and Silvervale Technology (Virtualization, VT/ST) to coordinate with Microsoft's next-generation Windows OS named Longhorn.

To make iAMT and other management technologies available across all of its platforms, Intel created the Intel Cross Platform Manageability Program (CPMP). The Intel-wide program was created to develop common and consistent management capabilities, interfaces and protocols across all Intel platforms -- from cell phones to servers -- by extending the management technology and standards that are currently available.



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