Following the path of Apple, Samsung and its old friend Microsoft, Intel will reach out directly to customers by opening up its own retail stores. Laptop Magazine attended an event this evening where Intel exec John Wallace explained a bit about the Intel Experience Store plan, and mentioned the first pop-up location will open November 23rd in New York City's NoLita area. There's a demo video of the planned experience (embedded after the break -- although we hope it follows Intel's cool Connected Store concept from a couple of years ago) however the company hasn't revealed many details on exactly what will be on sale in the stores.
What we do know is that it's working with local businesses and community organizations to bring events to the spaces, and teasing free coffee and free movie screenings to get people inside to check out the Intel-powered wares. It appears that the locations are only planned to stick around for the holiday season, but we should know more of the when/where details once they're officially announced in a few days.
[These stores are only planned to stick around for holiday season, but Intel may be testing out the concept perhaps? This is very interesting, IMO. Intel trying to connect directly with consumers ...could Intel be planning to go vertical and this is a pre-cursor to developing their own branded products?]
By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc warned that its revenue would decline between 8 percent and 10 percent in its second fiscal quarter, sending its shares down almost 10 percent in late trade.
Chief Executive John Chambers blamed weak demand in emerging markets such as China, saying companies there have become more hesitant to buy Cisco products due because of political repercussions from leaks about the United States spying on foreign governments.
Chambers said that in other countries, where the political impact was nominal, Cisco is seeing a slowdown in decision making due to macro economic issues there.
The executive also cited a big decline in revenue from set-top box sales as the company walked away from less profitable contracts in that market.
Mellanox also is offering a spec for an open switch, based on its SwitchX-2 x86-based top-of-rack switch specification. According to the company's description, its switch "supports 48 SFP+ ports and 12 QSFP ports, enabling non-blocking connectivity within the OCP Open Rack, or alternatively, enabling 60 10GbE server ports when using QSFP+ to SFP+ breakout cables to increase rack efficiency for less bandwidth demanding applications." It should offer better power consumption, latency and density, and lead to larger and more cost- and energy-efficient data center designs, officials said.
Cumulus is offerings its Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) software as a boot loader that will make it easier to install software on open switches, according to the company. ONIE supports multiple network operating systems that gives organizations greater control and choice in their networks, officias said.
Facebook kicked off the OCP in 2011 in an effort to create open standards for highly efficient data centers and IT hardware. The group has worked on servers and storage in the past, and now is looking at networks. Facebook and other Web-based companies, such as Google and Amazon, are always looking for more power-efficient systems to help keep costs down in their massive, dense data centers. They haven't always been able to find the resources they need from other vendors, and at times have developed their own servers, storage appliances and power supplies made from off-the-shelf components.
They're also embracing new technologies like software-defined networks, in which network intelligence is moved from expensive hardware and housed in software.
Hundreds of people are involved in the more than 30 potential contributions that are people developed for the Facebook-led organization, and four of those contributions—from Intel, Broadcom, Cumulus Networks and Mellanox Technologies—most likely will soon be accepted by members of the OCP's Contribution Committee, he wrote.
Intel has created a specification for an open switch that officials with the giant chip maker said will be for a bare-metal top-of-rack switch that can run 10 Gigabit Ethernet or 40GbE. The goal is to offer organizations more networking choice, greater flexibility and improved costs. Intel officials also said they bring with them a growing partner ecosystem to support the spec.
"The specification describes a 48x4 10/40G switch including all necessary subsystems for switching, control CPU, peripherals, external interfaces, power, cooling, and mechanical enclosure," Intel said in describing its contribution.
Intel's efforts in the OCP's networking initiative illustrate the vendor's desires to become a larger player in the data center beyond just supplying the silicon for systems.
Broadcom also is offering a spec for an open switch based on leaf-and-spine configurations. It leverages Broadcom's latest Trident switch architecture—Trident II—which is being embraced by many networking technology vendors. The Trident architecture supports a range of networking OSes and applications.
[Cisco is facing new rivals using cheaper servers with Intel inside and using SDN (software-defined networks). Add this with the OPCIe technologies and you have Intel and partners potentially stealing big network contracts from the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Google etc.]
[more on the story here]
Facebook-Led Open Compute Project Eyes 4 Network Specs
The group will consider three switch specs from Intel, Broadcom and Mellanox, and networking software from Cumulus.
The Open Compute Project, which in May turned its sights on data center networks, is making significant progress in developing an operating-agnostic networking switch, according to the project's top official.
According to Frank Frankovsky, vice president of hardware design and supply chain for Facebook and president and chairman of the Open Compute Project (OCP), the group is preparing to vote on four contributions to the effort submitted by several technology vendors.
The goal is to create a top-of-rack switch that can run any operating system, a move that OCP participants hope will make networks as dynamic and flexible as virtualization has made servers and storage. It also would create a challenge to Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and other vendors that make a lot of money by selling expensive and complex switches that run their own operating system.
"Such [an open] switch … would enable a faster pace of innovation in the development of networking hardware; help software-defined networking continue to evolve and flourish; and ultimately provide consumers of these technologies with the freedom they need to build infrastructures that are flexible, scalable, and efficient across the entire stack," Frankovsky wrote in a Nov. 11 post on the OCP blog.
Broadcom, Intel, and Mellanox have developed competing specifications for datacenter switches, responding to a call from the Facebook-led Open Compute Project.
OCP called earlier this year for open specs for software-agnostic leaf and spine switches to complement its existing specs for streamlined servers. The specs aim to speed innovation in networking hardware, "help software-defined networking continue to evolve and flourish," and give big datacenter operators more flexibility in how they create cloud computing systems, said Frank Frankovsky, a Facebook datacenter executive and chair of the OCP Foundation in a blog posted Monday.
The project's goal is to deliver a switch that can be rebooted to handle different jobs as needed. So far the OCP group received more than 30 proposals for systems or components.
Intel posted online a full reference design for its proposal for a 48x4 10/40G switch (below). The design uses Intel's FM6764 switch acquired with Fulcrum Microsystems and two of Intel's own SoCs -- the Crystal Forest control plane processor and the Cave Creek chipset for daughter cards. Quanta and one other OEM built systems based on the design
Broadcom said it has delivered a spec and a working system based on its Trident II switching chip that meets OCP needs. However the company declined to release further details.
Mellanox proposed a switch based on its SwitchX-2 switch and an x86 processor running the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) software from Cumulus Networks. The switch supports either 48 SFP+ ports and 12 QSFP ports or 60 10GbE server ports when using QSFP+ to SFP+ breakout cables.
Separately, Cumulus submitted to OCP its ONIE software, a boot loader for installing software on network switches. It enables a generic switch to run a variety of networking software environments.
Further work on networking specs and proposals continues aat an OCP event this week in San Antonio.
Besides latency, copper wire has other disadvantages. There can be interference in a tightly-packed server box. Signal amplifiers solve that problem but add power costs. And the cables are heavy; up to 20 pounds. One OPCIe cable carries 10 times the bandwidth and weighs just a pound.
As part of its demo, Fujitsu took two of its Primergy RX200 servers and added an Intel Silicon Photonics module to each along with an Intel-designed FPGA to make PCIe work with optical networking. The servers connected to an expansion box with several solid state disks (SSD) and Xeon Phi co-processors, along with the connecting Silicon Photonics module and FPGA.
The demo showed the ability to connect separate boxes with compute or storage nodes so that they appear to the CPU to be on the main motherboard when in fact they are actually being fully virtualized. The SSDs and Xeon Phis appeared to the RX200 server as if they were on the motherboard. Thanks to the speed of light, data traveling a few meters down the cable had no latency
Fujitsu’s approach showed three key benefits: increasing storage capacity, because the server box is no longer a limit; Fujitsu was able to include Xeon Phi cards for massive compute power, something that would be impossible to do with hard drives in there; and the server ran much cooler.
The only question left is when will this hit the market. Fujitsu has no concrete plans, nor do any American-based server makers.
[I think someone posted this news before, but worth a repost. This is big news for data center.]
Photonics can replace copper wire connections, allowing peripherals to be further apart and yet still communicate faster.
By Andy Patrizio
November 12, 2013, 1:03 PM — Intel and Fujitsu last week showed off a new server prototype using Intel's silicon photonics technology to power an Optical PCI Express (OPCIe) design, a fiber optic interconnect which allows the storage and networking to be moved away from the CPU motherboard. The demo took place at the annual Fujitsu Forum in Munich, Germany.
Fujitsu is a leading server maker in its native Japan but has struggled to get any traction in the U.S. It has worked with Intel for some time on this OPCIe server interconnect and this was its first public showing. Intel, for its part, has been working on optical networking interconnects for some time, beginning with the Light Peak interconnects that became Thunderbolt, used by Apple.
In the demonstration, OPCIe servers connected to an external expansion box containing additional compute and storage nodes. Normally these nodes would have to be extremely close for a copper wire connection to minimize time as the bits travel down the wire. With photonics, things travel at the speed of light, so there is no problem with putting them many feet apart.
This means a little more room inside rack servers, since 1u servers are extremely tight. They aren't called "pizza box" servers for nothing. Four-socket 1u and 2u servers are common, but after you put four CPUs and memory for each CPU and a huge fanless heat sink, there isn't room for much else. So with the OPCIe interconnect, you can put all the storage outside of the rack.
HP’s first Windows tablet with an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor is now available for pre-order. The HP Omni 10 is up for pre-order from The Microsoft Store for $399.
The tablet has a 10.1 inch, full HD display, a quad-core processor, Windows 8.1 software, and HP claims it should run for up to 8.5 hours on a charge.
The HP Omni 10 is powered by a 1.46 GHz Intel Atom Z3770 processor and features 2GB of RAM and at least 32GB of storage. It has an 8MP rear camera and 2MP front-facing camera, a 1920 x 1200 pixel display, and a sturdy Gorilla Glass 2 screen.
HP’s tablet supports 5-point multitouch input and features a micro USB port, micro HDMI port, microSD card slot, and a 31Whr battery. It supports 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, and Miracast wireless display technology.
The Omni 10 measures 10.2″ x 7.1″ x 0.4″ and weighs 1.4 pounds.
- touchscreen notebook for $300
- Venue 8" Android tablet for $130
- Venue 8 Pro, still $300 but you get the folio and 1 year accidental service
- notebook for $200
By Stacey Higginbotham
Intel’s formalizing its interest in the internet of things with the creation of a new division that will report up to the chip giant’s executive office.
Intel is joining other technology firms such as Cisco and GE in carving out a special division to focus on the internet of things. The new IoT Solutions Group combines the Intelligent Systems Group and Wind River acquisition, and will be headed up by Doug Davis.
The Intelligent Systems Group (embedded) previously reported to Diane Bryant in the Data Center Group while the Wind River group that previously reported into Doug Fisher in the Software and Services Group. However, now the internet of things group will be elevated to the same level as the data center and software and services groups. Intel has been in the embedded market for three decades, but clearly it’s signaling that it now expects a lot more from this type of computing.
It even launched a new series of chips aimed at the market dubbed Quark. After the launch of Quark and an IoT platform in October, I spoke with Ton Steenman, who is the VP and GM of Intel’s Intelligent Systems Group, about the company’s plans.
In that interview Steenman explained that Intel is a big believer in openness and working with partners, and it’s well aware that most people will be trying at first to connect their existing products and analyze data from them. Steenman told me that 85 percent of the information companies want to use is already coming in via a legacy infrastructure. You can listen that podcast here:
Silicon Photonics is a new approach to using light (photons) to move huge amounts of data at very high speeds with extremely low power over a thin optical fiber rather than using electrical signals over a copper cable. It’s been in the research stage at Intel for over 10 years, while a few component/module companies have already shipped SiPh receivers (but not integrated transmitter/receivers or transceivers yet).
Exponentially increasing Internet traffic along with the Internet of Things (IoT) will place a huge burden on next generation, cloud resident data centers. The new requirements include: higher system performance, coping with higher power consumption via more effective cooling concepts, faster interconnect speeds (between components, modules, cards, and racks). The challenge for designers is to provide faster compute/storage/networking systems with more effective bandwidth/performance per Watt and with highly efficient cooling. Hopefully, all that can be provided at improved cost/ performance/power efficiency to the owner of the data center.
Intel claims that Silicon photonics offers a way to extend silicon manufacturing to higher speeds and thus provide low cost opto-electronic solutions and tremendous bandwidth. The results would be advances in a wide range of applications in servers, high-performance computing, and networking. Recent developments point to practical applications in the near term. For example, a new optical connector and fiber technology support data rates up to 1.6 terabits per second.
But Intel may be announcing SiPh products very soon. This past January, they announced they’re working with Facebook on 100G b/sec rack interconnects for Data Centers.
And we couldn’t help notice this Intel job advertisement for a SiPh Market Development Manager.
Would Intel be hiring such a person if a product announcement was not forthcoming
The Lenovo IdeaTab Miix 2 is an 8 inch tablet with Windows 8.1 software and an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor. Priced at $300 and up, it’s one of the most affordable Windows tablets on the market, and it’s now available for purchase from Amazon.
For $300 you can pick up a model with 32GB of storage. A 64GB model runs $350.
Both models feature Intel Atom Z3740 quad-core processor, an 8 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS display and 2GB of RAM.
The tablet measures 5.2″ x 8.5″ x 0.3″ and weighs 12.3 ounces. It features 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a 5MP rear camera and 2MP front-facing camera, and stereo speakers. There’s a micro USB port, microSD card slot, and headset jack.
Like most new Windows tablets with 10 inch and smaller displays, the IdeaTab Miix 2 comes with a fully licensed version of Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013, and Lenovo also includes its own Cloud Storage app, Evernote, Amazon Kindle, and Zinio magazine apps.
Lenovo also plans to offer models with up to 128GB of storage and optional mobile broadband capabilities.
The Miix 2 isn’t the first 8 inch Windows tablet with a Bay Trail processor to hit the streets. The $300 Dell Venue 8 Pro and $330 Toshiba Encore are both available as well.
Dell’s tablet includes an active digitizer, which helps set it apart from the crowd. Lenovo’s tablet does not, but the company does plan to offer an optional $20 cover case that comes with a capacitive stylus.
Part of what sets Windows tablets like the Dell Venue 8 Pro and Asus Transformer Book T100 apart from an iPad or Android tablet is the ability to run full-blown desktop apps. Apparently I’m not the only one who got the idea of actually using one of these tablets as a desktop computer.
The folks at Plugable wanted to see how a tablet with an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor works when you hook up multiple displays — so they connected the tablet to a Plugable dock connected to 4 separate monitors
The results look pretty good.
Plugable used a Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet for the test. The tablet doesn’t have a video port or full-sized USB port, but with a micro USB OTG cable they were able to connect a $129 Plugable docking station to add USB, Ethernet, and DVI and HDMI ports.
That’s all you need to do if you want to connect a monitor or two, since you can use the HDMI and DVI ports to display video on up to 2 external displays. But thanks to DisplayLink adapters which let you hook up a monitor over a USB port, they were able to connect 4 monitors at once.
What’s really cool is that since the Dell Venue 8 Pro is running a full version of Windows 8.1 software, it can download all the drivers automatically so the setup process is pretty painless (once you have the hardware in place). And the Intel Atom Bay Trail processor is powerful enough to handle multiple display setups pretty well.
In the demo video, Plugable’s founder showed a YouTube video playing on an one display — and being dragged from monitor to monitor seamlessly. You can run different windows in each display, or extend windows across multiple monitors.
When you want to take the tablet on the go, just disconnect the dock and you can use it as a standalone device again.
Intel has long been cozy with the e-textbook developers at Kno, going so far as to license their hardware and preload their software on its own tablets. The chip giant clearly wants to take that relationship further, however, as it just acquired Kno outright. While Intel isn't providing the terms of the deal, it's not shy about revealing the motivations -- it's determined to grow its educational content library, which now includes over 225,000 titles thanks to the Kno deal. Not everyone is happy with the new alliance, though. TechCrunch has discovered that Kno founder Osman Rashid turned down a chance to join Intel after disagreeing with the bigger corporation's focus on international rollouts over concentrating on North America. While that's a significant loss, we doubt that Intel is complaining much. The buyout still gives it a rich educational content ecosystem that could help fend off rivals like Amazon, which recently bought TenMarks to bolster its own schoolroom cred.