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5 top takeaways from Intel Partner Forum 2021

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by Peter Krass on 11/18/2021
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Intel held its 2021 Intel Partner Forum, Americas edition, on Nov. 18. Here are 5 top takeaways for tech providers:
1) Intel has identified 3 new priorities for its partner organization: 1) help partners grow; 2) provide better integration between Intel and the ecosystem; and 3) simplify the partner experience. That’s according to John Kalvin, Intel’s general manager of global partners & support.
2) Intel is on track to announce its first discrete PC and data-center GPUs in the first quarter of next year. So said Greg Ernst, Intel’s GM of U.S. sales and marketing. (Note: The company has for many years been in the integrated GPU business.) 
3) Intel partnerships are currently serving important customers including Burger King (AI), Ping Golf (Xeon Scalable processors), Famous Footwear (digital signage), the Government of Vietnam (customs security), and the University of Delhi (HPC). 
4) Intel is working on shortening lead times for Intel NUC deliveries. The company is suffering from the same supply-chain delays plaguing the entire industry. “We know lead times are long,” said Dorin Vanderjack, Intel’s GM of U.S. accounts. 
5) To help partners sell PCs based on 12th gen Intel Core processors, Intel is encouraging them to focus on 3 main things: breakthrough core technology, immersive experiences and accelerated platform innovation. “The 12th gen can be described as a new type of processor,” said Lexy Marques, Intel’s desktop marketing and sales enablement lead.

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Deploy solutions faster, easier with Intel Select Solutions and Intel IoT RFP Ready Kits

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by Peter Krass on 11/17/2021
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When it comes to deploying solutions, could your business use a jump-start?

Today’s solutions are complex. Many extend from on-premises servers to edge devices outside the firewall. Others connect IoT devices and sensors. All need bulletproof privacy and security protection. That’s a lot for one tech provider to handle.

Intel is here to help. The company is making it easier to get your solutions to market, and in 2 ways:

> Intel Select Solutions: These are verified, workload-optimized data center solution configurations. They’re fast and easy to deploy, validated by OEMs, certified by ISVs and verified by Intel

Intel Select Solutions are benchmarked to deliver high performance and advanced security. Available solutions span AI, analytics, cloud, storage, network, HPC and security workloads. All are rigorously optimized across Intel’s data-centric product portfolio and are delivered through partners.

> Intel IoT RFP Ready Kits: These are integrated, use-case focused, commercial-grade technology bundles. Use them to help solve business challenges, such as improving efficiencies and optimizing production. These kits are available from IoT partners in areas that include smart cities, transportation and industrial automation.

What’s on the menu?

To use an analogy, Intel Select Solutions are like detailed recipe cards. By contrast, Intel IoT RFP Ready Kits are like those meal kits that include a packaged set of ingredients.

Both approaches help you get dinner on the table quickly. Similarly, Intel Select Solutions and Intel IoT RFP Ready Kits can help you get to market faster with solutions based on optimized and tested Intel hardware delivered through Intel’s industry-leading ecosystem.

Using these Intel-based solutions is easier and faster than building a solution on your own from scratch. It also ensures you’ll end up with something that works well. And it gives you Intel-verified privacy and security.

Sample solutions

To give you an idea of what’s available, here’s a sampling from each program:

> Intel Select Solutions for VMware vSAN includes 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors and optimizations to give better performance and reduced latency. This solution can help companies simplify their transition toward a hybrid cloud or multi-cloud environment.   

> Arrow Electronics Seneca xConnect Remote Management Platform is an Intel IoT RFP Ready Kit for auditing, managing and maintaining a security installation. From camera function to storage integrity, xConnect puts you in control from a single, intuitive dashboard.

Ready to jump-start your solutions? Check out Intel Select Solutions and Intel IoT RFP Ready Kits. Both are part of Intel Partner Alliance.

Sneak peek: Intel also offers ready-to-deploy solutions jointly developed with OEMs including Cisco, Lenovo and Supermicro. They’re like complete, ready-to-eat meals. We’ll explore them in the third and final blog post of this series.

Get more resources:

> Become an Intel Partner Alliance member

> Intel Solutions Marketplace Offering Catalog

> Blog series, part 1: Bringing innovation to market faster with Intel-based Solutions


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Give your customers a fast path to HCI with the new Intel Server System D40AMP family

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by Peter Krass on 11/16/2021
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Intel has introduced a new line of servers that can help your customers implement hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) faster, easier and more affordably.

What’s HCI? A software-defined, unified system that combines all the elements of a traditional data center — storage, compute, networking and management. The results include more simplicity, easier management and lower costs.

That may sound arcane, but it’s not. Many applications are suited for HCI. They include such bread-and-butter workloads as running file, email and web servers. Basically, HCI can help any job that requires both lots of compute and lots of storage, too.

Certified for you

Intel’s newest server line has been specially designed to optimize HCI. It’s known as the Intel Server System D40AMP family.

Intel Server System D40AMP

One big benefit of this new product line: Intel has already certified this new server family for leading HCI solutions. These include VMware vSAN and Microsoft Azure Stack HCI.

This means you won’t need to get the server certified, simplifying your deployment. For your customers, it means they can get the benefits of HCI while easily plugging into their existing IT infrastructure.

Loaded configurations

The Intel Server System D40AMP family can be configured with up to four nodes based on the 3rd gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors. That gets paired with up to 1 petabyte of NVMe SSD storage over the PCIe 4.0 interface standard, and up to 24TB of memory via Intel Optane Persistent Memory 200 series.

NVMe — short for Non-Volatile Memory Express — is a transport protocol for storage over PCIe. It combines low latency (that is, high speeds) with high reliability.

The Intel Server System D40AMP family supports two SSD formats: Up to 24x U.2 SSDs (six per node) and up to 32x E1.L “ruler” SSDs (eight per node).

These storage drives are fast. With PCIe 4.0 NVME at 4 lanes, you can move data at 8,000 MB/sec. Compare that with a SATA SSD’s top speed of 600MB/sec. The newer tech delivers a more than 10x performance improvement.

Novel form factor

One big change with the Intel Server System D40AMP family is the form factor. Most, if not all, other four-node, dual-socket servers are offered in the 2U rack-mount enclosure. But Intel has packaged the Intel Server System D40AMP family in 3U.

The top rack unit is dedicated to storage, while the bottom two are for compute. Intel believes 3U is the form factor of the future, at least for dense HCI servers.

The new servers are air-cooled, and that’s also done by rack unit. In the top U, there are four 40mm fans for storage. And in the bottom two, four 80mm fans for compute.

Better TCO, too

The new servers deliver gains around total cost of ownership (TCO), too. Their cost-per-virtual-machine ($/VM) over five years is lower than other technologies, and at any power budget. Also, Intel Optane persistent memory can provide impressive TCO benefits for memory-bound environments.

Security is built-in as well. This new server family comes standard with Intel Crypto Acceleration, Intel Software Guard Extensions, Intel Total Memory Encryption, and Intel Platform Firmware Resilience.

Your customers can rest easy for another reason, too. The new servers are protected by Intel’s standard 3-year warranty.

The Intel Server System D40AMP family is available now from select Intel partners. That includes system integrators, distributors, VARs and OEMs. And maybe you?

Check out related resources:

> Intel Server System D40AMP family product information

> Intel Server Configuration Tool

> Intel server sales and marketing resources


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5 top news stories from CRN: Lenovo, HPE, Kyndryl and more

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by Peter Krass on 11/12/2021
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Lenovo is doubling down on VMware. HPE is a hit with healthcare. And IBM spinoff Kyndryl has a new partner in Microsoft.

Those are among the top 5 IT new stories reported this week by CRN. Here’s your tech provider’s roundup:

Lenovo ‘Absolutely Doubling Down’ with VMware

Now that VMware has spun off from Dell, Lenovo is tightening its technology partnership with VMware. Lenovo is also searching for joint customer opportunities to drive growth for both the companies and their channel partners.

5 Reasons HPE is a Hit with Healthcare Providers

As Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s healthcare chief technologist Steve Cotham explains, public-cloud data egress charges and security concerns are driving healthcare providers to adopt HPE GreenLake.

Microsoft & Kyndryl Ink Global Partnership

Kyndryl, a recent IBM spinoff that offers managed infrastructure services, calls Microsoft its only premier global alliance partner. It’s part of Kyndryl’s new ability to deepen relationships with companies that are not IBM.

Nvidia’s 8 Big Announcements

Nvidia introduced new hardware and software technologies at its fall GTC 2021 conference, giving enterprises everything from low-power inference GPUs and tiny supercomputers to high-speed networking platforms and collaboration platforms for 3-D design.

30 Notable IT Exec Moves of October

Amazon Web Services, Citrix, Google Cloud, McAfee and SAP are among the tech companies making recent executive hires as companies invest in resources for sales, technology and partners.


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Help your SMB customers simplify with on-prem network attached storage

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by Peter Krass on 11/09/2021
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Are your small and medium business (SMB) customers complaining that the once-simple act of storing data has gotten complicated? If so, make things simple again. Tell them about network attached storage (NAS), used on premises.

NAS devices are highly scalable, easy to access, compliant, secure and recoverable. The latest versions are equipped with powerful processors, meaning today’s NAS devices can do a lot more than just store data.

All that’s important now for your SMB customers. They’re coping with a decentralized workforce storing data from who knows where. Rising data requirements from new business applications. And the challenge of keeping data safe and secure from increasingly devious criminals.

What’s more, many SMBs are now also struggling with limited budgets and small IT staffs. That can make storage innovation seem out of reach, affordable only for bigger companies with deeper pockets.

Public-cloud storage may seem like the answer. Services such as public-cloud storage are easy to set up and use, and they’re seemingly able to handle any amount of data.

However, once you’re storing large amounts of data in the public cloud, the costs can rise quickly. And the average SMB now manages a whopping 48 terabytes, according to Accenture.

New NAS workloads

Today’s NAS devices are a lot more sophisticated than the ones you may remember. Offerings from OEMs including Synology and QNAP are fitted with powerful CPUs. These go all the way up to the Intel Xeon Scalable processors commonly used in data-center servers.

These CPUs mean NAS devices be used for new workloads. They include video surveillance with facial recognition, virtual desktops, multimedia and image compression.

Also, many NAS devices can take add-in graphics and connector cards. That lets you expand the capabilities even further.

Your customers can even use an on-prem NAS device for hybrid cloud workloads. The storage device can essentially act as a private cloud.

In this configuration, the NAS device can store secure data — for example, electronic medical records — privately and on prem. And it can also store “cold” data —information accessed less often — in the public cloud.

Get NAS training

Before you can talk with your customers about looking into NAS on-prem storage devices, you may need to get up to speed on the technology yourself.

If so, you’re in luck. Intel Partner University is now offering a Competency on this timely topic called On-Premises Storage Fundamentals.

On-Premises Storage Fundamentals badge

Competencies are deeper training curriculums that help you develop expertise in a specific product, technology or business segment. Complete a Competency, and you can also earn a digital badge to display on your website, in social media and elsewhere online.

The On-Premises Storage Fundamentals program comprises 10 courses. Of these, two courses provide an introduction. Then the remaining eight dive deeper into topics including virtualization, backups and fighting ransomware.

Intel Partner University is among the many benefits of membership in Intel Partner Alliance. Not yet a member? Learn more and register.

Learn more from an Intel infographic. Download it by clicking the link below:

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Check out the week’s top 5 IT news stories from CRN

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by Peter Krass on 11/05/2021
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Lenovo’s PC business is soaring. Microsoft is updating Azure services. And Dell is spinning off VMware.

That’s some of the week’s top 5 IT industry new stories reported by CRN. Here’s your tech provider’s roundup:

Lenovo PC Sales Soar in Q2 to $15.3 Billion

Led by bread-and-butter PC sales, Lenovo’s Intelligent Devices Group saw revenue soar 21% in the company’s second quarter, reaching $15.3 billion. This PC sales spike also drove Lenovo’s overall Q2 revenue to $17.9 billion, an increase of 23% over the year-earlier quarter. Net income for the quarter also rose, hitting $512 million, a 65% jump.

10 Big Microsoft Azure Announcements at Ignite 2021

During the second virtual edition of Microsoft’s Ignite conference, the company updated nearly a dozen of Azure cloud solutions. These include Azure Arc, Azure Active Directory, Azure Synapse, Azure Cognitive Services and Azure SQL.

Microsoft Ignite

5 Things to Know about Dell’s VMware Spinoff

Dell has shed its 81% stake in VMware, creating an independent software company worth some $64 billion. Here are the top 5 things investors and others should know about the deal.

HPE CEO says GreenLake ‘On Fire,’ Ups Recurring Revenue Forecast

CEO Antonio Neri (pictured below) told Wall Street analysts, “Customers are coming to us….Our pipeline is just amazing.” HPE is now forecasting a three-year compound annual growth rate of 35% to 45% for annualized recurring revenue, up from its prior forecast of 30% to 40%.

Antonio Neri, CEO of HPE

Microsoft 365 Monthly Pricing Backlash: Solution Providers Protest ‘Punitive’ Fee

More than 900 people have signed an online petition opposing a 20% fee on month-to-month Microsoft 365 subscriptions. The increase is expected to take effect in March 2022.

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Video: Get laptops that are powerful, secure, reliable with the Intel Evo platform

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by Peter Krass on 11/04/2021
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Your IT customers need laptops that can handle today’s toughest workloads, protect data against sophisticated hackers, and keep working no matter what. And their end users want laptops that are lightweight, responsive and high-performing.

Intel Evo platform laptops to the rescue. They wake up instantly and can run for hours on a single charge. Offer stunning visual displays.

And they feature 11th gen Intel Core processors, Intel Iris Xe graphics, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and Thunderbolt 4 ports.

You can also get help selling Intel Evo platform laptops. The Intel Partner Marketing Studio offers collateral, messaging, visual aids and more.

Learn more from this short “What’s in IT for Me”? video with Katie Bavoso of CRNtv. Watch the video now:



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Get a cybersecurity snapshot from HP’s new report

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by Peter Krass on 11/04/2021
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Call it a perfect storm of cyber insecurity: A new survey report from HP finds that at the same time cyber threats are on the rise, IT teams are having a harder time delivering security support.

The HP report comes just as the Biden administration issued a related directive. It requires nearly all U.S. executive branch agencies and departments to patch approximately 200 cybersec vulnerabilities considered to be major risks.

“Every day, our adversaries are using known vulnerabilities to target federal agencies,” said Jen Easterly, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in a statement.

The HP report, produced by the company’s Wolf Security unit, is based on 2 surveys. One is a Toluna online survey of 1,100 IT decision-makers in 7 countries including the U.S. The other was a YouGov online survey of 8,433 adults in the same 7 countries who worked from home during the pandemic.

Report highlights

Here are highlights from the HP Wolf Security report:

Shadow IT is growing: Nearly half of office workers (45%) bought IT equipment to support home working in the last year. But as shown by the chart below (courtesy of HP), only about half of workers had IT check or install their new gear.

HP security chart

Phishing works: Three-quarters of IT teams say they’ve seen a rise in the number of employees who open malicious emails and click on dangerous links. And about half of home workers admit they’ve clicked on a malicious email. Yet 70% of them failed to report it to IT. A quarter didn’t think it was important, 1 in 5 said it was too much of a hassle, and about 1 in 10 feared reprisal.

Rebuild rates are up: PCs get rebuilt after a known infection, and roughly 8 in 10 IT teams say the number of rebuilds has risen during the pandemic. But the problem could be even worse. 8 in 10 IT teams worry that employee devices might be compromised without the employees realizing it.

IT support is faltering: Over 8 in 10 IT teams say the pandemic has put a bigger strain on tech support. The cost of providing security support has risen, on average, by 52%. And three-quarters of IT teams say the amount of time required to triage a threat has increased in the past year. Put it all together, and you can see why 77% of IT managers worry about their staff feeling so overworked and burnt out, they’ll quit.

Cyber solutions

What’s the cyber solution? HP Wolf Security recommends several things, including:

> Employ tools for greater endpoint visibility — you can’t manage what you can’t see.

> Look into threat containment and isolation tools. These can prevent malware from spreading after a partial breach.

> Adopt Zero Trust principles. This approach essentially assumes you’ve been breached already. So Zero Trust systems verify each and every request as though it had originated from an open network.

Learn more: Get a copy of the HP Wolf Security report, Out of Sight & Out of Mind (13-pp. PDF).



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5 takeaways from Microsoft Ignite

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by Peter Krass on 11/02/2021
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The hybrid workspace is here to stay. That was the message behind several dramatic announcements Microsoft made at its Ignite online event today, many of them centered on the company’s Teams collaboration app. 
Here are 5 top takeaways from Microsoft Ignite:
> Mesh for Teams: Microsoft takes Teams into the metaverse, allowing meeting participants to appear as digital avatars. And you’ll be able to use it from a standard laptop or smartphone (though you can also use a VR headset). It’s scheduled to roll out next year. Here's a look:
Mesh for Teams
> Loop: An app that creates a “canvas” on which teams can collectively plan, collaborate and create. There are 3 components: Workspaces, Pages and Components. Availability for Loop hasn’t been announced yet. 
> Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces: Uses AI to take observation data captured by cameras to unlock insights and respond to new trends. Previously called Connected Store and offered to retailers only, it’s been renamed and expanded for all industries. A preview version will be available in December. 
Connected Spaces
> Context IQ: Capabilities for Dynamics 365 and MS 365 that integrate collaboration into the workflow, and predict and suggest information you might need. That could mean recommending relevant files for a document or suggesting the right people for meetings — and find a time when everyone’s free.
> Viva: An employee-experience platform, it brings together communications, knowledge, learning and insights. Announced earlier this year, Viva is now being made generally available to everyone. Also, Viva’s original 4 modules have now been repackaged as a single suite. 
Learn more: Check out Microsoft Ignite.

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Take a deeper dive into the new 12th gen Intel Core processors

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by Peter Krass on 11/01/2021
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The 12th gen Intel Core desktop processors announced last week by Intel notably deliver a bunch of firsts:

> They’re the company’s first processor family built with the new Intel 7 process.

> The first Intel processors to support both DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 connectivity.

> The company’s first to feature 2 micro-architectures coordinated by Intel Thread Director.

> And the first family to support a new cache architecture.

Initially, the line comprises 6 unlocked desktop processor SKUs, ranging from i5 to i9. They’re available with up to 16 cores and 24 threads; up to 30MB of Intel Smart Cache (L3); and up to 14MB of L2 cache.

The new CPUs also offer up to 20 lanes — a mix of up to16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 plus up to 4 lanes of PCIe 4.0. Performance revs up to 5.2 GHz with TurboMax.

Compared with its previous generation, Intel says the new CPUs deliver:

> Up to 36% faster photo-editing performance

> Up to 32% faster video-editing performance

> Up to 37% faster 3D-modeling performance

> Up to 100% faster multiframe rendering

Topping the current lineup of 12th gen Intel Core CPUs is the i9-12900K gaming processor. Intel calls is the “world’s best gaming processor.” Compared with previous generations, the i9 delivers up to 30% more performance, according to Intel.

2 micro-architectures

The processor family’s 2 micro-architectures represent what Intel says is the company’s biggest architectural shift in a decade. Intel has essentially divided the processor design into Performance-cores and Efficient-cores.

12th Gen Intel Core Processor Architecture

12th Gen Intel Core Processor architecture: P-cores & E-cores

P-cores, as they’re known, are optimized for handing single and lightly-threaded performance, and for enhancing both gaming and productivity workloads. E-cores, by contrast, are optimized for handling scaling, highly threaded workloads. They’re also designed to minimize interruptions from background task management.

These 2 micro-architectures are coordinated by Intel Thread Director, a scheduler designed to work with Windows 11. Thread Director monitors the runtime instruction mix, provides runtime feedback to the OS, and dynamically adapts guidance based on the thermal design point, operating conditions and power settings.

The 12th gen Intel Core family’s new cache architecture involves a common cache shared among P-cores, E-cores and processor graphics. The biggest benefits from this are said to be faster game loading and smoother frame rates.

For enthusiasts and gamers, these new Intel processors can be overclocked. To help, Intel has upgraded 2 tools: Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (now at version 7.5) and Intel Extreme Memory Profile (now 3.0).

Partners galore

Intel says 140 of its partners in 30 countries will add 12th gen Intel Core CPUs to their products by year’s end. They include Tier 1 vendors Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo.

First out the gate was Dell Alienware. At last week’s Intel Innovation event, an Alienware exec briefly introduced the Aurora R13, a gaming desktop powered by 12th gen Intel Core processors. When maxed out with the new i9K CPU, the Alienware Aurora R13 will retail for $3,720.

Alienware Aurora R13 gaming desktop

Alienware Aurora R13 gaming desktop: Intel i9K inside

Unit pricing for the new 12th gen Intel Core processors starts at $264 to $589 for unlocked processors. If you’re interested in building PCs around these new CPUs, you can place a pre-order now. Shipments are set to begin this Thursday, Nov. 4.

If Intel’s own projections are right, these new CPUs will be big sellers. Intel says it expects to ship hundreds of thousands of units by year’s end, and more than 2 million units by next March.

As part of its 12th gen push, Intel plans to expand the processor family to include not only desktops but also laptops. The company expects to be shipping 28 SKUs to OEM partners by early next year.

Explore more:

> Product brief: 12th Gen Intel Core Processors

> Press release (includes initial SKU table): Intel Unveils 12th Gen Intel Core, Launches World’s Best Gaming Processor

> Webcast: Intel Innovation keynote



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