At 32, Pat Gelsinger, senior vice-president and general manager of Intel Corporation’s Digital Enterprise Group , became the youngest group vice-president in Intel’s history. As he blows in with a grin and an energetic handshake, it’s obvious he has reason to be pleased.
Intel’s latest and smartest little gizmo, the six-core Xeon 7400 Dunnington processor, has been researched and built from scratch by Intel’s Bangalore team. In an interview to Jessica Mehroin Irani and Nikhil Menon, Gelsinger talks about the company’s plans for the difficult days ahead . Excerpts :
Given the gloomy predictions for IT spends, are you anticipating a slowdown in sales?
We’ve already seen a bit of softening in demand at the end of the previous quarter (Intel announced its results on Tuesday), both in the enterprise and customer segments. That was probably due to conservatism on the part of customers owing to the economic slowdown. People are looking very carefully at their investments and cash flows and we expect that may continue in Q4. But overall, Intel is extremely well-positioned with its products and has the strongest line-up of products around in the market. And we are on track with new launches. For example, the Dunnington six-core processor developed and built entirely in India, was a quarter ahead of schedule. And our next generatio Halo micro-architecture has gone into its first production shipment at the end of last Quarter and will launch the server version in Q1 of next year. We feel very optimistic about our competitive position, but also remain cautious due to the turbulent economic environment.
Which sectors do you expect to see demand coming from ?
We continue to see strength in Atom-based products in the Nettop and Netbook areas. While there is certainly a corporate market there, consumer and emerging markets is where we see strong momentum. There are lots of areas where demand is coming from, but it is especially strong in the oil and gas sector, where there’s a lot of interest in virtualisation for cost-saving purposes.
According to latest reports, PC sales will see a decline in the next quarter. Will this affect the sale of Intel’s chipsets for the same?
Our Atom-based products were strong and while there was some slowdown in the consumer segment, we also saw there was no inventory build-up in the channel. So, we do not feel that there is a blip in any way, but we will adopt a position of caution as we go into this turbulent period.
How well do you think India Inc has adapted to virtualisation? What are the benefits?
The enterprise sector is where people are really harnessing the power of virtualisation. If you go to an enterprise data centre, you’ll see that it is typically a range of applications and servers. Large enterprises that use large amounts of power, support and large floor space see a huge value in virtualisation, as they can now consolidate multiple servers into one. This is a huge value proposition. So it is primarily big businesses that have taken it up in sectors like manufacturing, retail, oil and gas and new web companies. This is primarily where virtualisation has had some early traction. While it is catching up across the world, the leaders in virtualisation today are enterprises in US and Europe.
How is Intel playing a role in the green IT movement?
We have a very comprehensive view on eco-technology. Our Atom product is a very low-power, efficient product and all our products in the 45 nm range are energy efficient computing solutions. Next-generation servers offer enormous gains with regard to their energy efficiencies. There is an accelerated need to save, with high energy costs and huge energy efficiencies. Also, there is a shortened pay-back cycle to move to new infrastructure. That is another reason we continue to see strength in data centres and infrastructure builds. In data centres, the computing efficiency has gone up almost 10X, which means that tasks that took up 10 racks of server will now only require one rack.
What went wrong with the OLPC (one laptop per child) project?
The education segment is one of our targets. We launched our classmate PC initiative three years ago and recently launched the second generation of the same PCs. Unfortunately, we kept going in and out of the OLPC effort. That was unfortunate, but we saw that there was great momentum behind the classmate PC and are decide to concentrate our energies there. Hence, we were not able to continue supporting the OLPC.
Your 6-core Xeon 7400 processor (codenamed Dunnington) was completely developed at the Bangalore centre. How much of Intel’s end-to-end R&D will now be done in India?
It has been six years since the chip design work in India commenced and the team is very young, very enthusiastic. We think what we do in India in the development area is far more significant and that is why the ‘made-in-India’ announcement around Dunnington is very significant. This is the highest technology product that Intel offers today. It is also the first commercial microprocessor to be designed by any company in India and for us, that is a very proud and exciting moment. This is a huge statement of confidence in our Indian team, to have such a critical product designed end-to-end in India.
6 months ago