By Jason Kimrey
“We have to deliver the software capabilities, and then we have to empower it, accelerate it, make it more secure with hardware underneath it. And to me, this is the big bit flip that I need to drive at Intel.” — Pat Gelsinger, CEO, Intel
Articles featuring Intel’s software focus have been making headlines over the last few weeks, including this major CRN story featuring our CEO.
We’re also hosting the latest Intel ON virtual event on October 27-28. It’s an educational tech event focused on software and development.
I guess it shouldn’t be surprising. The roles that software and developers play in helping accelerate transformation are top-of-mind right now.
Intel’s software pedigree
In 2012 Forbes called Intel “The Biggest Software Company You’ve Never Heard Of.”
That statement is still so true. Intel is renowned for its hardware. But many people don’t know how deep our software roots run:
> More than 2 decades ago, Intel committed to open-source software development.
> Intel today employs more than 15,000 software engineers.
> There are a trillion lines of code optimized for Intel’s x86 chips.
> Intel has optimized more than 100 operating systems.
> Intel is the No. 1 contributor to the Linux kernel, a top 3 contributor to Chromium OS, and a top 10 contributor to OpenStack.
> Intel’s Open Source Technology Center is a repository for hundreds of open-source projects.
> The Intel developer ecosystem includes about 20 million developers. Millions of developers use Intel Software development tools and libraries.
Software unlocks innovation
It’s fair to say that software is at the heart of Intel’s solutions. Software helps us unleash hardware, and it also helps us realize the full benefits and performance of new hardware architectures.
At Intel, we see software that’s performant, open and productive. Software supports our drive to innovate across six pillars of technology development as the key to unleashing the power of data.
Also, we’ve built some amazing open-source solutions and toolkits to empower developers and accelerate solution development:
> OneAPI: A new, unified software programming model for CPU, GPU, AI and FPGA accelerators.
> OpenVino: A toolkit to facilitate faster inference of deep learning models to develop high-performance computer vision and deep learning solutions from device to the cloud.
> Lava: Addresses the need for a common framework for the neuromorphic research community. It’s an open-source software framework for developing neuro-inspired applications.
> Intel DevCloud: Our software sandbox for testing the latest tools and hardware.
And there’s more.
We recognize that by jointly designing, building and validating new products with software industry leaders, we can accelerate advancements. We can also ensure that software and hardware work better together.
Man with the plan
Pat Gelsinger rejoined Intel in January, becoming the company’s new CEO, and since then he’s forged a clear path. He has also underscored the need to adopt a software-first strategy, one that makes Intel the silicon platform of choice all the way from the edge to the cloud.
This strategy has an important component for Intel’s channel partners.
“We have to grow the partners. Some of those will be ISVs. Some of those will be SaaS providers as well,” Gelsinger told CRN. “Many of those skills need to become part of our channel partners’ repertoires as well, as they increase their cloud and SaaS capabilities and their software capabilities.”
John Kalvin, Intel’s global channel chief, adds: “[Gelsinger] is driving a broad recognition across Intel: If we win with software, then we’re going to make it easier for our ecosystem of partners to deliver solutions around Intel.”
Stop focusing on products
People buy solutions, not products. People focus on outcomes, not products.
As IT partners, we too need to focus on solutions, not products. And we need to make it easier for our customers to deploy those solutions in their environments.
For Intel, this means ensuring that our solutions, and the workloads that matter, are optimized to run best on our hardware. That needs to be the case whether a solution is on prem, at the edge or in the cloud.
The surge in as-a-service offerings supports the need for complete solutions. In response, our ecosystem partners have increased their focus on software and services.
That could mean expanding in-house software development capabilities to deliver a new “as-a-service” offering. Or it could mean looking to partner with a development team. Either way, Intel knows that open-source solutions, optimized to perform on Intel hardware, can help accelerate solution deployment — and perhaps open new revenue streams.
As Greg Lavender, Intel’s CTO, says: “We have to work with our partners to bring [those capabilities] forward in new ways that could create new business models. And there are possibilities for revenue-sharing.”
As long as our customers look to deploy increasingly complex solutions, then hardware, software and services will need work closely together to enable seamless edge-to-cloud solutions. That will be the key to continued innovation.
Jason Kimrey is general manager of U.S. channel and partner programs at Intel.