Cloud

Intel marries its Xeon with customizable chips to please cloud providers & telcos

Above: Diane Bryant speaks about a new product line for Xeon chips that pair with FPGAs at Gigaom's Structure conference on June 18.

Image Credit: Jordan Novet/VentureBeat
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SAN FRANCISCO — More big companies want customizable chips, and Intel wants to make money wherever the urge arises.

The chipmaker will customize Xeon 5 processors with field-programmable gate arrays that it can change rapidly to meet changing application needs in a new product line, Diane Bryant, the senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s data center group, said in an interview at Gigaom’s Structure conference today.

“We are engaged with many of the large cloud service providers as well as the telecommunications service providers, the carriers,” Bryant said. Bryant would not name companies it’s been working with on this initiative.

But such companies should be interested. Applications are changing quicker than ever before, and companies that run millions of applications on lots of servers are increasingly willing to employ customizable processors.

Intel said last year that it was working with Facebook in this regard, and earlier this week Wired reported on Microsoft’s use of field-programmable field chips. Now the pool of users could grow.

Intel will optimize Xeon processors based on customers’ needs, Bryant said. The new products could lower operations costs and help companies become more agile, she said.

“With these FPGA solutions, it’s truly dynamic,” she said. “You can reprogram for a different program or a different algorithm on the fly.”

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