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Want to manage servers with greater ease and impact? Check out Intel server tools

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by Peter Krass on 09/17/2021
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You’ve asked for tools to optimize your servers and run them more efficiently, and now Intel is offering them.

Intel is developing these server tools with the active participation of its channel partners. They’re helping Intel test these tools on the company’s latest servers: the Intel Server System M50CYP family for mainstream workloads, and the Intel Server System D50TNP family for high-performance computing (HPC) and AI applications.

Intel has also set up a new Server Tools website to provide you with a platform for building applications and services. Because all the tools capabilities are based on open, accessible APIs, you can incorporate them into your own offerings.

Firmware Tracker 2.0

Keeping track of updates to server firmware can be a real pain. Manually hunting down all the firmware in a data center, then checking to see which ones need an update, takes time. Plus, the work can be so painstaking, making one or more mistakes isn’t all that hard.

To make the task easier, quicker and less painful, Intel has developed Firmware Tracker. It’s software that finds the latest firmware versions for all Intel Datacenter Solutions server system hardware. And it does so in real time.

Intel will soon offer version 2.0 of the Firmware Tracker. Among the new features is “one-click firmware download,” which lets you integrate numerous installs into a single task. For example, let’s say you need 5 firmware updates; the tool can update all 5 in just 1 shot, helping you to rack and stack in less than an hour.

The Intel Firmware Tracker also lets you build and store a system configuration as a list of components, then get an email notification when any of them gets further updates.

Intel also provides firmware tracking as both a user-experience-optimized online application and a broad-scale web service API.

Server power calculator

It’s important to forecast active power consumption for an Intel Datacenter Solutions custom server system for specific workloads you or your customers are thinking of buying. But it isn’t easy.

That’s why Intel has developed a tool to do just that. A pilot was launched in July with 30 users from 10 companies. Intel expects to release the first version quite soon.

The tool includes a web application user interface to help you create a test server configuration. The tool then analyzes the configuration’s power consumption (in watts) for specific workloads.

Due to power estimation process improvements, Intel expects users of the new tool to see power-consumption reductions as great as 20% for specific configurations and workloads over previous tools.

EU Lot 9 Compliance Forecaster

The European Union’s Lot 9 regulations lay out a strict set of energy-related requirements, such as idle power usage, for enterprise servers, data storage and related equipment.

Complying with Lot 9 is the responsibility of resellers. To help them, Intel has developed software directly integrated into the Intel Datacenter Solutions Configure-to-Order Portal.

Similar to the other tools, this one lets you enter a configuration, and then it analyzes your configuration for compliance. You can save configurations for reuse in the future, too.

Check out the site: Intel Datacenter Solutions Engineering Online Software


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Video: Intel Partner Alliance – now with more access

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by Peter Krass on 09/15/2021
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Intel is taking its Partner Alliance to the next level.

Intel Partner Alliance is expanding access to more channel partners. Member-level participants now have access to in-depth training in Intel Partner University. Previously, that training was available only to Gold and Titanium level partners.

In a new “What’s in IT for Me?” video, Katie Bavoso of CRNtv explains how this kind of training can give you a winning competitive advantage in new technologies.

She also describes how a new “test drive” feature, coming to Intel Partner Alliance later this year, will give prospective members a peek.

To learn more, watch this short “What’s in IT for Me?” video: "Intel Partner Alliance: Now with More Access”:


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Stay competitive with the refreshed Intel NUC Mini PC Solutions Competency

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by Peter Krass on 09/15/2021
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The more you know about the Intel NUC, the better able you’ll be to recommend, install and implement this Mini PC for your customers.

To ensure you have updated information on the latest Intel NUC devices, the company has recently refreshed and renewed the Intel NUC Mini PC Solutions Competency.


Competencies, part of Intel Partner University, are deeper training curriculums that help you build expertise in a product, technology or business segment. Complete a Competency, and you’ll also earn a digital badge you can display in your email signatures and via social media for up to 18 months.

New NUCs

The Intel NUC Competency has undergone a thorough refresh. To bring you the most timely, relevant information, older courses have been removed and new courses have been added.

Currently, the Intel NUC Competency comprises 17 mandatory courses. Of these, about half are new.

For example, one of the new courses in the Intel NUC Competency is Unboxing the Intel NUC 11 Pro Mini PC (Tiger Canyon). Another is Intel NUC Pro Chassis Element Assembly (Fort Beach).

Also, some of these new courses are available only as part of the Competency curriculum. In other words, they’re not being offered as standalone courses.

One example of a Competency-only course is Unboxing and Customizing the Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast Mini PC (Phantom Canyon). In this 20-minute course, you’ll see what comes out of the “Phantom Canyon” box and learn how to customize and implement backlit graphics.

Exceeding expectations

Intel says the popularity of the Intel NUC Competency has far exceeded its original expectations.

The company originally aimed to award 50 badges for the NUC Competency in the first year. Instead, 80 individuals from a variety of Gold and Titanium level distributors, integrators and solution providers completed the NUC Competency in just the first 10 months.

Also, as announced previously, Intel has now made the Competencies available to all Intel Partner Alliance members. Previously, Competencies were available only to members at the Gold and Titanium levels.

Partner endorsement

But don’t just take my word for it. Here's what one of Intel’s partners — Robert Hacker, senior system engineer at Dallmeier Electronic — had to say:

The Intel NUC Competency did an excellent job of showing the different types of Intel NUC products available and the appropriate use cases for each. The training materials were very useful, and I have been able to pass the knowledge through to customers and staff.

Intel NUCs had not been part of our core business, but because of everything I learned through the competency, we won some add-on business. We benefited from expanding our business, and the customer was grateful that we delivered an excellent solution for them. That is the kind of customer service that leads to repeat business.

                                                     Dallmeier logo

Gaining new technical skills has never been more important. Check out the updated Intel NUC Mini PC Solutions Competency.

Intel Partner University courses and Competencies are available to all members of the Intel Partner Alliance. Not yet an IPA member? Then learn more about the program and register now.


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Infographic: How to sell business desktops based on 11th gen Intel Core vPro CPUs

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by Peter Krass on 09/14/2021
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Don’t count out desktops. Especially when they’re loaded with the latest 11th gen Intel Core vPro processors.

Laptops may be getting all the attention. But U.S. shipments of desktop PCs actually rose 23% in this year’s second quarter, according to market watcher Canalys.

That’s because desktop PCs make a lot of sense for workers at fixed locations, whether in the office or at dedicated home offices. For one, desktops are often less expensive than similarly configured laptops. For another, due to their size and modular design, desktops are far easier to repair and upgrade.

Gain the vPro advantage

To turn up performance a notch, tell your customers to consider 11th Gen Intel Core vPro processors for their business-class desktops. These CPUs provide small and midsized businesses (SMBs) with high performance and enterprise-grade IT solutions.

The result: powerful, protected machines that also deliver a strong return on investment.

Intel Core vPro

Desktops based on 11th gen Intel Core vPro processors can be offered by resellers, managed service providers (MSPs), even tech providers who customers turn to for expert advice and recommendations.

Get ‘how to sell’ infographic

To help you sell 11th gen Intel Core vPro-powered desktops to your customers, Intel has created a 5-page infographic.

This infographic details the vPro advantage. Outlines key performance and security improvements. And shows how these CPUs have been designed to meet the needs of your SMB customers with performance and collaboration, security and user experience.

Download the infographic now: “How to sell guide: 11th Gen Intel Core vPro Processors for Business-Class Desktops.” Just click the PDF link below:

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Intel Partner Alliance: To keep benefits, activate your membership by Sept. 30

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by Peter Krass on 09/09/2021
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If you belonged to an older Intel partner program but haven’t yet activated your membership in the new Intel Partner Alliance, now’s the time to do it.

Intel Partner Alliance, formed last year, combines all of Intel’s older partner programs — including Intel Technology Provider and Intel IoT Solution Alliance — into a single, streamlined program.

If you were a member of one or more of those older partner programs, joining the new Intel Partner Alliance is quick and easy.

But if you haven’t done it yet, don’t wait. Until now, members of those older Intel partners programs have enjoyed the new Partner Alliance’s benefits. But that grace period is ending soon.

To continue enjoying the benefits of Intel Partner Alliance membership, you’ll need to activate your account by no later than this coming Sept. 30.

Don’t miss it

And what if you miss that Sept. 30 deadline? Well, you’ll lose your Intel Partner Alliance membership.

You don’t want to do that. Intel Partner Alliance can help you connect with other partners, provide innovate tech solutions, and grow your business.

Key features of Intel Partner Alliance membership include:

> Intel Solutions Marketplace: Connect with other Intel partners to discover products and solutions that can help you solve the pressing needs of your customers.

> Intel Partner University: Get trained in the latest Intel technology, including client computing, storage & memory, data center, internet of things (IoT), and FPGA. And earn badges you can use to promote your skills online.

> Intel Partner Marketing Studio: Gain access to Intel marketing campaigns, assets, digital resources and co-branding and implementation tools — all in 1 intuitive, searchable platform.

Membership levels

Also key to Intel Partner Alliance is a new focus on membership roles.

When you activate your membership, you’ll be added to 1 of 8 roles. That way, the site can connect you with other partners who have similar business competencies and needs.

The 8 roles are: cloud & communications; distributor; FPGA design services; independent software vendor; manufacturer; OEM; service integrator; and solution provider.

You’ll also be able to participate in 3 membership levels: member, gold and titanium. Each successive layer has increasing requirements as well as increasing benefits.

You can also join Intel Partner Alliance Specialties. These are select groups of partners that have deep expertise in a strategic technology segment. Members receive powerful Specialty benefits that can help them develop a competitive edge when supplying tech solutions.

Don’t lose your benefits: Activate your Intel Partner Alliance membership by Sept. 30.



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5 top takeaways from Intel at IIA Mobility

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by Peter Krass on 09/08/2021
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Intel’s new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, made news yesterday during his keynote address at the IIA Mobility conference in Munich, Germany.

The conference, being held all this week, features more than 700 exhibitors, including car and bicycle manufacturers, tech makers and suppliers. The theme this year is “the future of mobility.”

Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, at IIA Mobility

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger speaking at IIA Mobility

Yesterday was Day 1 of the conference, and the final keynote was presented by CEO Gelsinger and other Intel officers. Here are your top 5 takeaways from Intel at IIA Mobility:

1. Intel intends to be a major player in autonomous vehicles. “The future of automotive and autonomy is a technology story,” Gelsinger said. “And Intel is the only company that can do the end-to-end technology platform.” Later, he added, “We need you, and you need us.”

2. Cars becoming “computers with tires.” Today, about 4% of a car’s bill of materials (BOM) is semiconductors, Gelsinger said. Intel expects that to rise to 12% of the BOM by 2025, and to 20% by 2030. “If you’re worried about the semiconductor shortage today…you ain’t seen nothing yet,” Gelsinger added.

3. Robo-taxi: Mobileye, an Intel company that develops advanced driver-assistance systems, now has its technology being used by nearly 30 manufacturers in more than 88 million vehicles worldwide. (That includes collision-avoidance systems.)

Yesterday, the company introduced the Mobileye Robotaxi, a production-grade, fully electric, self-driving vehicle. It’s capable of Level 4 autonomous driving, which means there is no need for a human driver, even in the case of a system failure. Passengers will flag the robotaxi using the new Moovit app.

To keep these cars safe, Intel has participated in creating IEEE 2846, the world’s first standard for autonomous-vehicle safety. “Safety is not an absolute,” Jack Weast, an Intel Fellow. “Driving safely is a balance between safety and usefulness.”

Mobileye Robotaxi

Mobileye Robotaxi: no human driver needed

4. Euro-tech coming. Intel plans to build more semiconductor manufacturing capacity in Europe. In 1990, Europe represented 44% of the worldwide semiconductor industry, Gelsinger told the IIA audience. Today, it’s just 9%. To help turn that around, Intel plans to build two new “mega-fab” chip-making facilities in Europe. Over the next decade, that would grow to 8 fabs across Europe, Gelsinger added, with a total project value of about €80 billion.

5. Euro foundry services: Earlier this year, Intel announced its IDM 2.0, which includes Intel becoming a foundry for other companies. Yesterday, Gelsinger announced the European Foundry Services, which will run from Intel’s facility in Ireland.

Gelsinger also announced a new program, Intel Foundry Services Accelerator, aimed at easing the chip shortage in Europe. That will involve working with European automotive suppliers including Bosch, Daimler, Siemens and VW.

Learn more:

> Watch: Intel CEO keynote at IIA Mobility video replay

> Read: Mobileye and SIXT plan new robotaxi service

> Read: Intel CEO predicts chips will be more than 20% of premium vehicle BOM by 2030



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Watch Intel CEO’s ‘future of mobility’ keynote on Sept. 7

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by Peter Krass on 09/03/2021
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Interested in the future of digital mobility? Then mark your calendar for Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET.   

That’s when Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger will be speaking on the topic at the IIA Mobility summit in Munich, Germany, along with 2 guests.

Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger will speak on mobility's future

Gelsinger will give the final keynote address on the conference’s first day. He plans to discuss ways Intel is addressing chip shortages and accelerating its moves to autonomous vehicles.

Intel and its Mobileye unit will be exhibitors at the conference, too. Mobileye is developing technologies for autonomous driving and driver-assist, computer vision, machine learning, mapping and data analysis.

Mobileye car

On Sept. 7, you can watch Pat Gelsinger’s keynote live on the Intel Newsroom. There will also be a video replay later at the same site.


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Video podcast: What ‘Intel Accelerated’ means for you

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by Peter Krass on 09/02/2021
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In July, Intel shared its most detailed roadmap ever at the Intel Accelerated event. That included the company’s $100 billion IDM 2.0 strategy. Great, but what’s that mean for you and other tech providers?

To find out, watch this new video. Gina Merjanian, Intel’s general manager for team U.S. inside sales, speaks with Ed Hannan, senior digital content manager at The Channel Co. (publisher of this site).  

In this fast-paced video, Gina and Ed discuss:

> Key takeaways of ‘Intel accelerated’ for partners

> Intel plans to lead the world in chip manufacturing

> Intel’s path to process-performance leadership

> Exciting Intel tech innovations in the pipeline

> How Intel helps partners help their customers

> What all this means for partners from a day-to-day perspective

> The future of the Intel partner ecosystem

Get up to speed. Watch this new “What ‘Intel Accelerated’ Means for U.S. Partners” video podcast now:


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15 PCs you can definitely upgrade to Windows 11

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by Peter Krass on 08/31/2021
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Windows 11 is coming on Oct. 5, according to Microsoft’s general manager of Windows marketing, Aaron Woodman.

Not every Windows 10 PC has the oomph needed to make this operating-system upgrade. But Microsoft says at least 15 models do.

Microsoft worked with the suppliers of these 15 PCs, now running Win10, to ensure they can handle the OS upgrade. Here’s Microsoft’s list of Win11-ready PCs:

> Acer Swift 5

> Acer Swift X

> Asus Zenbook Flip 13 OLED UX363

> Asus Zenbook 14 UX425

> Dell Alienware x15

> Dell Alienware x17

> Dell XPS 13

> HP Spectre x360 14

> HP Envy x360 15

> Lenovo Yoga 7

> Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro

> Microsoft Surface Pro 7

> Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

> Samsung Galaxy Book Pro

> Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360

Beyond the list

That’s not to say these are the only PCs that can run Win11. They’re just the ones Microsoft is so far guaranteeing.

What if you or your customers have PCs that are not on the list? How do you figure out whether these devices can be upgraded to Win11?

You’ll have at least 2 ways, 1 of which is available now:

> You can check the Windows 11 minimum system requirements. (This is the option that's available now.) Then you’ll need to compare a specific device’s specs to Microsoft’s list.

> Microsoft plans to soon launch an app called PC Health Check. This app will show whether a particular PC is eligible to upgrade from Win10 to Win11.

Wondering what’s new in Windows 11? Check out the official announcement from June. And get ready for Oct. 5. (It's a Tuesday.)

UPDATE: Lenovo says all its ThinkBook laptops announced in late 2020 and early 2021 will be available later this year with Windows 11 preloaded. Get more details.

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Why 3rd gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors go hand-in-hand with life sciences

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by Peter Krass on 08/24/2021
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The 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors and life sciences are a bit like apple pie and ice cream: good separately, even better together.

To optimize life sciences codes, Intel has engaged with the open-source community for more than 20 years. Now Intel has applied those learnings to its Xeon family of data center CPUs.

High performance

One thing Intel has learned over those 20 years is that high performance computing (HPC) is increasingly important to life sciences. Researchers in this field work with some truly immense datasets. They also use AI techniques that require boatloads of processing power.

To help them, Intel now offers developers in life sciences an open and unified programming model called Intel oneAPI. Developers can also use Intel toolkits for HPC.

Intel is also helping life sciences with the performance improvements in its 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors. These gains are impressive. For one example, Intel says its optimized version of NAMD — software for nanoscale molecular dynamics — performs 54% better than a non-optimized version.

3rd gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor

3rd gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor

Many of these performance gains are the direct result of the processor line’s feature enhancements. These include increased core counts (now up to 40 per socket); more memory bandwidth (raised to 8 DDR4 channels); and support for both Intel Optane Persistent Memory 200 Series and PCIe 4.0.

Life-sciences users can also enjoy additional HPC and AI gains by using Intel AVX-512, which offers 512-bit vector operations capabilities, and Intel Deep Learning Boost, a set of embedded acceleration instructions. 

Genomic solution

Life-sciences users can also benefit from a new offering in Intel Select Solutions. That’s Intel’s offering of benchmark-tested and verified solutions from third-party providers.

To create this new offering, Intel collaborated with Broad Institute, a research organization run by Harvard University and MIT. Together, they’ve created a suite of optimized software called Intel Select Solutions for Genomic Analytics.

This Genomic Analytics solution includes optimized hardware. It also features a suite of optimized software that includes reference architectures for turnkey configuration, setup and deployment.

The solution is qualified for genomics-related resources. These include GATK (genome analysis toolkit) pipelines; Cromwell, a workflow-management system; and GenomicsDB, an open-source library and tools.

Intel says this software suite has demonstrated a 5x performance improvement when running GATK 4.0, compared with previous versions of the genomics software. The solution also reduces setup time.

In addition, the Genomics Analytics solution is highly scalable. It can run on anything from small computers to very large clustered supercomputers.

The original version of the Intel Select Solutions for Genomic Analytics was developed using the 2nd gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor. Based on its success, a version based on the newer 3rd gen Xeon Scalable CPU is now being developed, and it’s expected to ship in this year’s fourth quarter.

Learn more

To discover how HPC performance is made flexible with 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, watch this short Intel video:


And learn even more from these Intel resources:

> 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors for HPC in Life Sciences (performance snapshot)

> 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors (product brief)

> Winning with Intel’s Data Centric Portfolio (Intel Partner University session)

> Intel Select Solutions for Genomics Analytics (solution brief) 



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