Tag: x86

Server market revenues grow

HP logoShipments of servers worldwide grew by eight percent in the second quarter of this year, while revenues rose by 7.2 percent.

Gartner said the year on year growth slowed however, largely due to currency exchange fluctuations in Western Europe and other geographies.

Servers using X86 processors rose by 8.3 percent in the quarter and revenues grew by nne percent. RISC/Itanium Unix servers fell by 18.7 percent for the period. Other CPUs, by which Gartner means mainframe CPUs, grew by 7.8 percent compared to the same quarter in 2014.

North America showed significant growth with a 14.8 percent increase in the quarter – its revenue growth grew by a similar amunt.

HP continues to be number one worldwide and has a 25.2 percent market share but Lenovo grew by 526.5 percent and that’s because it until it acquired IBM’s X86 server business it didn’t sell servers.

This change in the market hasn’t affected Dell’s position as number two in the market.

Microsoft jumps on internet of things bandwagon

windows-10-start-menu-customised-live-tilesMicrosoft, like Intel, appears to believe its future is in the internet of things (IoT).

That’s according to Richard Edwards, principle research analyst at Ovum.

He said that vendors of desktops, notebooks and tablet computers hope Windows 10 will bring back people who have endured “the Windows 8 debacle”.

But Microsoft, said Edwards – while it is hoping Windows 10 will do well too – doesn’t care about the mobile operating systems market.

Instead, he said: “It’s about gaining a strong foothold in the next multibillion dollar market, the internet of things”.

Microsoft wants to provide an OS and services for “things” that aren’t PCs, tablets or smartphones.

Satya Nadella, the Microsoft CEO, is “cloud savvy” and has developed three flavours of Windows 10.

One is aimed at IoT for devices using X86 or ARM chips, 256MB of memory, 2GB storage and with universal apps and drivers; one for mobile devices using ARM chips; and one for industry devices.

He said: “Microsoft continues to remind partners and device builders that Windows IoT is free for small devices and is urging manufacturers to consider the Windows operating systems as they build their new, intelligent, connected devices.”

Apparently it wants companies making micro kiosks, industrial machines, robots and medical devices to adopt Windows 10.

And then Microsoft has Azure IoT services.

“Microsoft clearly understands that many paths will open up along the IoT value chain, so it is building a range of components that partners can combine, enhance and extend as the market evolves,” he said.

IT sales thrown into turmoil by exchange rates

US dollar - Wikimedia CommonsPractically all transactions in components use the US dollar as a standard and that’s leaving the entire hardware market in some disarray.

Analyst firm IDC has conducted a study of how this has affected the IT marketplace as the euro and dollar are close to parity.

The overall result, said IDC, is that vendors and resellers have had to take a revenue hit over the last year while people and companies buying kit have had to suffer price increases, some of them considerable.

IDC said that server price increases in euro are “considerably more drastic” than for storage and PCs. And Microsoft’s promotion of Bing on the PC which was aimed at pushing cheap notebooks out of the door was compensated by vendors hiking prices on other hardware.

More seriously, given that the datacentre market is one of the more lucrative arenas for hardware vendors to play, the euro-dollar equity has played badly for companies.

IDC said that the Western European server market has risen by 14 percent in average selling prices with vendors seeking to offset the strength of the dollar.

IDC hopes these price hikes will slow down because Asian original design manufacturers will increase competition and drive down prices. The ODMs may also take on channel partners in Europe.

IDC also believes that continuing pressure on the euro will cause less demand on the PC side – bad news for both Microsoft and Intel.

Intel to cut jobs next week

IntelA disaffected employee has leaked an internal Intel memo to a local paper and the corporation is expected to lay off a number of staff next week.

The Oregonian said earlier this week that the company – which has 106,000 employees worldwide – said the job cuts will start on June 15th, and Intel has already targeted the people who will lost their jobs.

Intel, which paid a staggering $16.7 billion for Altera earlier this week, has been struggling because people don’t seem to want to pay through the nose for laptops and X86 based desktops any more.

The memo said that Intel is going to look at its investments, slow down filling job vacancies and will deliver a “performance based involuntary separation package”.

It’s not thought that fully fledged CEO Brian Krzanich will lost his job. Intel has been planning to use the axe for some time, the memo said.

Intel has told some managers this week how to break the bad news to those who have to go.

The memo said that the unlucky ones will get at least two months’ pay and other remuneration, depending on what the corporation believes they merit.

Intel won’t comment on unannounced layoffs.

HP wins the server race

HP logoServer shipments grew by 13 percent in the first quarter of this year and revenues also grew, but by 17.9 percent.

That’s the conclusion of a Gartner survey of server shipments, and HP was the winner.

The reason for the surge in the sales is because there was very strong demand on the hyperscale front.

But while the USA has done well, because of the strength of the dollar against other currencies, other regions such as Latin America, Japan and Europe showed either small declines or flat growth.
Gatrner surveys all servers and that includes X86, RISC/Itanium and Unix server shipments.

Mainframes, which IBM practically owns, showed an increase of 95.1 percent in terms of revenue.

This is how the Gartner figures panned out in revenues:

Servers Q1


And this is how the Gartner figures panned out from the vendor perspective:

Gartner Q1 2015 servers

Lenovo eyes up MSI business unit

Lenovo shopfrontReports suggested that Chinese manufacturer Lenovo is interested in buying Taiwanese company MSI’s gaming notebook business.

MSI has officially denied the rumour.

However, according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, sources making components for both companies believe the story has got legs.

Lenovo has expanded greatly over the last few years, first buying IBM’s notebook unit and last year taking over IBM’s X86 server business too. It’s also bought NEC’s PC business, and German company Medion, as well as Motorola’s Mobility business from Google.

According to Digitimes, MSI is still in negotiations with Lenovo and the deal is not on the rocks.

MSI has had some success in selling gaming norebooks and that’s prompted a number of competitors to take steps to enter the market. There are far better margins in gaming notebooks than in bog standard laptops.

AMD opens Nasdaq at Financial Day ‘15

AMD Analyst Day '15_2
NEW YORK, NY – AMD’s CEO, Dr. Lisa Su, outlined a multi-year strategy designed to return the company to profitability and growth at today’s AMD 2015 Financial Analyst Day at the Nasdaq MarketSite studio in New York City.

The embattled company is a little over seven months into Su’s leadership role and is attempting what can only be called a “breakout” from the constraints of being locked into the number two position in the deflating PC market segment.

IP and Core Technology Updates
AMD showcased a number of new items at the event, including details on its next-generation 64-bit x86 and ARM processor cores, future graphics cores expected to deliver a 2x performance-per-watt improvement compared to current generation offerings, and modular design methodology that reduces system-on-chip (SoC) development costs and accelerates time to market.

Technology-related announcements include:
• Development of a brand new x86 processor core codenamed “Zen,” expected to drive AMD’s re-entry into high-performance desktop and server markets through improved instructions per clock of up to 40 percent, compared to AMD’s current x86 processor core. “Zen” will also feature simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) for higher throughput and a new cache subsystem.
• Updates on the company’s first custom 64-bit ARM core the “K12”. These enterprise-class 64-bit ARM cores are designed for efficiency and are ideally suited for server and embedded workloads.
• AMD’s plans to extend its graphics technology to the first high-performance graphics processing unit (GPU) featuring die stacked High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) using a 2.5D silicon interposer design. AMD plans to introduce this packaging in the second half of the year with its latest GPU.

Computing and Graphics Segment Updates
Additionally, AMD announced updates to its Computing and Graphics (CG) product roadmaps for accelerated processing unit (APU), central processing unit (CPU), and GPU products planned for introduction in 2016 and beyond. The upcoming products address key customer priorities, including increased performance, longer battery life, and improved energy efficiency. AMD also provided further details and publicly demonstrated its 6th Generation A-Series APU, formerly codenamed “Carrizo,” as well as its next-generation GPU offerings launching in the coming months.

AMD’s updated CG product roadmap includes:
• New AMD FX CPUs based on the “Zen” core and built using FinFET process technology. Featuring high core counts with SMT for high throughput and DDR4 compatibility, these CPUs will share the AM4 socket infrastructure with AMD’s 2016 Desktop APUs.
• 7th Generation AMD APUs will enable a discrete-level GPU gaming experience and full HSA performance in the FP4 Ultrathin Mobile Infrastructure.
• Future generations of high-performance GPUs will be based on FinFET process technology, which will contribute to a doubling of performance-per-watt. These cutting-edge discrete graphics will include second generation HBM technology.

Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom Segment Updates
AMD laid out a long-term strategy for its Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom Business Group (EESC) to grow across a number of high-priority markets based on leveraging high-performance CPU and GPU cores that allow customers to build differentiated solutions. The near-term will bring continued focus on enabling scalable, semi-custom solutions and growth in the embedded pipeline. Looking ahead, next-generation “Zen” and “K12” cores will bring high performance to the datacenter, a space where AMD plans to regain share with a portfolio that includes x86 and ARM processors, increased power efficiency, and a renewed presence in the high-performance x86 server market.

“AMD’s high-performance IP, efficient modular design methodology, and evolved semi-custom business model will fuel strong growth opportunities across multiple markets,” said Forrest Norrod (a recent AMD hire formerly general manager of Dell’s Data Center Solutions), senior vice president and general manager, EESC. “In addition to driving sustained growth in our semi-custom and embedded businesses, we’re reaffirming our commitment to high-performance server computing based on our strong set of new product offerings.”

AMD’s EESC roadmap details include:
• Next-generation AMD Opteron™ processors, based on the “Zen” core targeting mainstream servers that will enable a broad spectrum of workloads with significant increases in I/O and memory capacity.
• Building off of the expected availability of “Seattle”-based systems later this year, AMD detailed plans for its next-generation ARM processors featuring the upcoming “K12” core.
• AMD also provided a glimpse into its new high-performance APU targeting HPC and workstation markets that is intended to deliver massive improvements to vector applications with scale-up graphics performance, HSA enablement, and optimized memory architecture.

Techeye Takeaway
AMD under Lisa Su is just now beginning to find its footing. The company is in dire need of an all-around “morale lift” to gain traction – this includes customers, employees and investors alike. In many respects the company committed the same mistake as did Intel in refusing to acknowledge the full impact their absence from mobile market would have on their future earnings. They are still in recovery mode from that mistake.

Another troubling factor is their misjudgment of the amount of time required to successfully penetrate the x86 dominated server segment with their 64-bit ARM based “Seattle” processors and ambidextrous plan. In fact, a fair number of those in the analyst community completely misjudged this call. Time has now nearly corrected this error – with the introduction of the “Zen” series AMD is once again preparing to reenter the x 86 server market as a player.

The company announced the use of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) with their GPUs and plans product shipments in the second half of this year placing AMD 6 months ahead of Nvidia.

AMD was a lead proponent of the HBM JEDEC standard. Sources indicate AMD will be using HBM memories in a wide range of future CPU, APU and GPU product designs – dramatically increasing performance while keeping a lid on power.

AMD appears to be betting on the PC market from an advanced performance viewpoint, addressing the ever increasing demands of virtual reality, 4K screens and real-time gaming – something the power user community can appreciate. The company’s segue back into the low-end and mid-range server market with the aptly named “Zen” cores – something that has been obvious to their Asian customer base for an eternity.

Will AMD execute this time around?…,

Analysis: Intel fails to fix PC malaise

Intel's Gordon Moore and Robert NoyceIntel reported its financial first quarter results yesterday evening and as expected its PC business continued to decline.

But Intel consolidated its results making it hard to see how much money it’s losing on its really quite disastrous foray into the mobile and tablet markets.

PR executives spun the results by saying they were in line with previous estimates – but its previous estimates weren’t in line with the estimates it previously estimated.

Its revenues were flat and it expect its revenues to continue to be flat for the rest of the year. But with gross margins of 60.5 percent for the quarter, it still turned in a net profit of two billion dollars.

CEO Brian Krzanich said in a prepared statement that growth in data centres, the internet of things (IoT) and memory helped to keep its figures relatively not too bad.

The client computing group showed revenues of $7.4 billion, a fall of 16 percent compared to the previous quarter and a fall of eight percent compared to the same quarter in its last financial year.

And while the data centre group turned in revenues of $3.7 billion, that was down 10 percent sequentially but rose 19 percent year on year.

The internet of things group delivered revenues of $533 million – a fall of 10 percent compared to the previous quarter but up 11 percent year on year.

Its software and services operating division delivered revenues of $534 million, down four per cent sequentially and three per cent year on year.

It is hard to describe Intel’s results as stellar. Like Microsoft, it is showing signs of malaise and despite optimistic forecasts that PC sales are going to go through the roof because of the launch of Windows 10, that is a hope, not a promise.

Intel’s problem is, that like IBM in the 1990s, it resembles a big oil tanker and can’t be turned around quickly. The real question is that as it depended on its success in the PC business through sales of X86 chips, where does it actually go now?

Its mobile strategy has been all over the place for years now and phone manufacturers quite simply went for better and cheaper ARM processors. The Wintel hegemony is over and Intel’s board lacks a charitable nature. Krzanich is too newly fledged to dump yet, but the board will already be demanding answers.

The problem is, there are no easy answers to the Intel malaise and despite it being the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law (pictured, left)  in just a few days time, that isn’t going to stop the slow and steady decline in the company’s fortunes. Like Microsoft, it is largely irrelevant to the changing nature of current technology and we doubt the internet of things is going to make any real difference in the long run. ♣

Via shifts chip making to China

Via is shifting its x86 CPU technologies and related personnel to its newly formed IC design joint venture with a China government-owned investment firm.

The company just surprised clients with a note in the mail saying that they will be pausing the sale of the x86 processors temporarily. Now it seems that the reason was that they have the removal men in.

Digitimes said that Via declined to comment about the news and pointed out that its x86 CPU business is still going so what is everyone worried about.

The venture with the Chinese was announced in early 2014 with Via owning a 20 per cent stake in the company. If Via is moving to China then the Chinese government can get its paws on x86 technologies to develop related products.

Via has been pushing its CPU products in China for many years, mainly targeting the white-box market. A move might indicate that Via may no longer release processors under its name and will instead use the name of the joint venture in the future.

The company’s x86 CPU business is licensed by Intel and moving related resources to a new joint venture might raise an eyebrow at Chipzilla’s HQ. However, the chip giant may not be able to do much because Intel reached an agreement with the US’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) in 2010 to not interfere with competition in the CPU and chipset markets, and extend its licensing of PCI Express to Via by at least another six years.

Besides, Chipzilla is also not going to want to hack off the China investment firm, which has powerful friends in the Chinese government. 

Intel, Microsoft have terrible annuses

“Your shadow at morning striding behind you    
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;    
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” – TS Eliot, The Wasteland    

Yeah, I am quite aware the plural of annum is not annuses but then the headline is more important than the body text.

Both Microsoft and Intel have had a terrible year and Janus, which rhymes with anus, suspects that 2014 won’t be much better for either.

Intel’s “customers” – for that, read compliant vendors – have, like Nero never did, fiddled while Rome burns. The X86 chip is not quite dead but considering the amount of money Intel spent on branding in the 1990s, it must be frustrating for the old lags at Chipzilla – those that are left of course – that the world+dog is not in the slightest bit interested in what component powers the smartphone and the tablet.

Intel, it could successfully be argued, brought it all upon itself by allowing the famous Atom to cannibalise its ever so famous brand.  It thought the gravy train would run forever but it found itself at the end of the line, hitting the buffers of indifference and even this old buffer doesn’t care about Intel any more.

The  notion that anyone in her or his right mind would pay over the odds because a machine had an Intel chip in it  is just plain busted.

Microsoft is a different case.  It’s heart is in the right place, that is if any multinational corporation can be said to have a heart. Intel certainly has never been challenged by sentiment.  But Microsoft lost the plot too – why would you choose a Microsoft operating system for a phone and a tablet when it has such a big slice of a PC’s pie?

This year has seen the brutal toppling of a quiet, charming man who has a large voice that can be heard 10 blocks away.  Steve Ballmer did not deserve the opprobium heaped upon him by, as Nick Farrell describes them, the Wall Street cocaine nose jobs.  Microsoft, like Intel, is now simply irrelevant.  The game has changed and both megamoths are tumbling into the dying flame of the X86 monopoly.

Say you are a diplodicus with a huge body and a tiny brain.  Does death take longer because of your bulk?  I can think of only one IT company that managed to successfully re-engineer itself, and that is IBM under the stewardship of the Nabisco man.  Getting in a geezer from Ford to run Microsoft is just plain nuts in May.

No one cares about the operating system, the motherboard, and the CPU any more.  Those days are gone.  A happy new year to all of our reader (sic) and lang may your lum reek.