Intel Builds Its Microserver, ARM Hedges

Includes: ARMH, INTC
by: Larry Dignan

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) doesn’t do wimpy chips and made its name pushing performance. But just in case this crazy ARM-based microserver thing takes off Intel wants you to know it has a master plan.

In a briefing Tuesday, Intel executives rolled out its plan for microservers, small low-power units that are used in large-scale environments deployed by the likes of Facebook. The plan: Release new Xeons that are built for microservers.

ARM Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMH) has been very clear that it wants to take a chunk of the server market—specifically Intel’s piece of the pie. Intel, however, has worked with Seamicro, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Supermicro and others to show that its chips can be used as low-power server processors too.

Now the Xeon roadmap includes microservers, which are expected to be about 10 percent of the overall server market in the next four to five years.

Here’s a look at Intel’s money slide from its microserver talk:

Intel also launched a microserver lab and brought out Gio Coglitore, director of Facebook Labs, to talk microservers. According to Coglitore, Facebook has been experimenting with microservers and may plot a big deployment in late 2011 or 2012.

Now Intel would argue that high powered chips are the best choice in most cases. A Google paper also makes that case. But if the market wants wimpy, Intel will do that too.

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