Intel IT’s Data Center Strategy

Intel IT manages 91 data centers that are home to about 75,000 servers that support and enable our core Silicon Design, Manufacturing, and Office/Enterprise/Services business functions.  In 1998 we embarked on a multi-year strategy to migrate our RISC systems to Intel Architecture which saved Intel over $1.4B.  I will be publishing a white paper on this topic in the next few days.  Beginning in 2006 we began the next major phase of our DC strategy by implementing proactive server refresh, data center consolidation, and investing in HPC.  These actions have put us on track to deliver $650M of value for Intel’s business by 2014.  All of this was accomplished while our compute, storage, and networking demands are growing rapidly each year (45% and 35% and 53% YoY respectively).

Through a variety of proactive investments and innovations, including the adoption of the latest generation of Intel® Xeon® processors, deploying advanced storage, networking and facilities innovations, we have increased the performance of our data centers by 2.5x while reducing our capital investments by 65% over the last four years - even as the number of data centers was reduced from 150 to 91  In addition, we have reduced the number of servers from 100k to 75k primarily driven by: (1) our proactiver 4-year server refresh strategy, (2) Accelerating the use and deployment of virtualization as we build an enterprise private cloud computing environment, and (3) Targeted investments in manufacturing infrastructure aimed at improving factory automation and efficiencies.

While these investments have delivered tremendous IT efficiency and scale, we have realized that horizontal component optimization of servers, network, storage and applications by themselves are not enough.  We saw both opportunity and necessity to customize solutions to optimize the lines of business we support.

We group our data center infrastructure environment into five unique verticals that represent main computing solution areas (referred to as DOMES) that include Design, Office, Manufacturing, Enterprise, and Services.  Silicon Design computing requires the most servers -- about 70% -- with the remaining 30% of our servers supporting Office, Enterprise, Manufacturing and Services applications.

We deploy unique solutions for each of these areas to deliver unique business value to Intel:

  • Design: Large, shared distributed grid computing solution complemented with the use and deployment of High Performance Computing solutions to support quicker design and validation of increasingly complex and powerful Intel® processors and technologies
  • Office/Enterprise: In transition from a traditional enterprise infrastructure to implementation of an enterprise private cloud, built on a highly virtualized infrastructure and on-demand self-service capability improving cost efficiency and business agility.
  • Manufacturing: Deployment of dedicated, highly reliable Data Center infrastructure for Intel’s manufacturing facilities with a focus on IT innovation that improves factory automation and supply chain planning efficiency.
  • Services: A new approach started in 2009 to support Intel’s new external service businesses such as the online Intel AppUpSM center for netbook applications.