Intel Outlines SDN Strategy Amid Dwindling PC Market

By Erin Harrison April 18, 2013

Add Intel to the growing list of technology companies that hope to successfully redefine their business models in the fast-approaching “post-PC” era. Chipmaker Intel recently announced a new networking strategy that’s centered on software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization.

These reference architectures, focused on the telecommunications, cloud data center and enterprise data center infrastructure market segments, combine open standards for SDN and NFV with Intel hardware and software, in an effort to allow networks to be more agile and intelligent so they can adapt to changing market dynamics.

Intel’s philosophy is that integrating SDN and NFV on standard x86 platforms help to lower the acquisition and management costs, as well as allow for new innovative services that were not possible before in networking infrastructure, according to Rose Schooler, vice president of Intel Architecture Group and general manager of Intel’s Communications and Storage Infrastructure Group.

“SDN and NFV are critical elements of Intel’s vision to transform the expensive, complex networks of today to a virtualized, programmable, standards-based architecture running commercial off-the-shelf hardware,” Schooler said in a statement. “The reference designs announced today enable a new phase in the evolution of the network and represent Intel's commitment to driving an open environment that fosters business agility and smart economics.”

Intel’s new hardware and software tools – Intel Open Network Platform Switch and Intel Open Network Platform Server reference designs and Intel Data Plane Development Kit Accelerated Open vSwitch – will be released in the second half of the year.

Several ISVs, OEMs and service providers are using Intel’s networking solutions on top of Intel’s switch reference architecture, including ATT Foundry, HP, NTT Data and VMware.

“By decoupling the network from underlying hardware and enabling a new network architecture based on industry-standard x86 technology, network virtualization can transform the operational model of networking to help customers dramatically lower operational and capital expenses,” said Allwyn Sequeira, vice president of networking and security at VMware.

Despite a slowing PC market, Intel’s Q1 2013 earnings fared better than its counterparts in the dwindling PC space. Coming in just short of expectations, with revenue hitting analyst targets, Intel’s revenue decreased more than 2 percent to $12.6 billion from $12.91 billion a year ago.

The chipmaker’s gross margin of 56 percent was down 2 percentage points sequentially and 8 percentage points year-over-year.

Global PC shipments witnessed a quarterly decline (11.2 percent year-over-year) in Q1 2013, according to Gartner. In fact, global PC shipments went below 80 million units for the first time since the second quarter of 2009.

Software-defined networking will have its own discussion at SDN Pre-Con, accompanying this year’s ITEXPO Las Vegas in August. Click here to learn more and register.

Edited by Braden Becker

Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

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