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Embedded systems trends and developer opportunities


Herb Hinstorff.

Herb Hinstorff.

Today, the world is transitioning from independent devices to  connected systems. Intel has been inside the embedded systems market for over 35 years, having developed 270+ CPUs and SoCs as well as 100+ chipsets.

Herb Hinstorff, director of Marketing, Developer Products Division, Intel Software, said that Intel has been engaged at all levels of the solution stack. He was speaking at the 13th Global Electronics Summit at Santa Cruz, USA.

There are tools to deliver on developer needs, such as debuggers, analyzers, compilers and libraries. There are tools to provide the deep system-level insights into power, reliability and performance.

On the debuggers side, they increase system and device stability and reliability. There is an efficient system, SoC-wide defect analysis and ultra-fast system-wide tracing for software debug. There is an integrated application level debugger. Overall, it speeds system bring-up and development. Analyzers focus on boosting reliability, power efficiency and performance, enabling differentiated designs, system-wide analysis and deep insights.

Compilers go on to optimize performance and efficiency. There is the industry-leading C/C++ compiler. It boosts system and application performance on Intel Atom, Core and Xeon processors. Compilers also take advantage of the multicore to boost performance.

There are libraries for performance and efficiency. Software building blocks increase the developer productivity and boost performance. There are specialized testing functions that handle signal processing, data processing, complex math operations and multimedia processing. Besides, there is future-proof software investments. The libraries provide an easy way to take advantage of the multicore capabilities to boost performance.

The Intel System Studio is an integrated software tool suite that provides deep, system-wide insights to help accelerate time-to-market, strengthen system reliability, and boost power effiency and performance. The JTAG interface has system and application code running Linux.

There is a continued broadening of the OS support, and a broader range of tools to match the expanding SoC capabilities. There is more extensive software based training and simulation, as well as market-specific libraries and APIs.

Given that the market is transitioning from independent devices to connected systems, more capable SoC platforms and complex software stacks require deeper and broader system-level insights and optimizations. Embedded developers can take advantage of the Intel System Studio to accelerate the time-to-market, strengthen system reliability, and boost power efficiency and performance of the Intel architecture-based embedded and mobile systems.

What’s happening with global semicon industry?

August 13, 2011 1 comment

1H11/1H10 top 20 semiconductor sales leaders. Source: IC Insight, USA.

1H11/1H10 top 20 semiconductor sales leaders. Source: IC Insights, USA.

IC Insights recently released the 1H-11 top 20 semicon sales leaders. No surprises here, with Intel, Samsung, TSMC, TI and Toshiba as the top five leaders in that order. In all, 10 of the top 20 suppliers outperformed the total global semiconductor industry 1H11/1H10 growth rate of 4 percent.

The fabless companies — notably, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and so on, have registered positive growths. However, if you really look carefully, a lot of the companies thereafter have registered negative growth for the period 1H-11 over 1H-10.

What’s surprising to notice is the fact that at least seven companies — Renesas, Hynix, Micron, AMD, Infineon, Elpida and NXP have registered negative growth! This, during a period when the semiconductor industry was said to be on the rebound?  Whatever the reasons, they are all in the red!

Now, we are not spent from discussing an industry turnaround, which is perhaps there!  Also, the forecast for 2H-11 isn’t something to go overboard. IC Insights expects the 2H11/1H11 semiconductor market to grow only 6 percent, that is, a full-year 2011 semiconductor industry growth rate of 5 percent.

Closer to home, as usual, there are no Indian firms in the global top 20 list. As things stand, they may not even make it to the list, at least, for quite a while. One hopes that this situation somehow changes. Wonder, how did the India Semiconductor Association (ISA)-Frost & Sullivan study come up with a figure of 28.3 percent growth in 2010! Perhaps, I am mistaken in my calculations somewhere!!

Cloud deployment trends in APAC: IDC


Avneesh Saxena, Group VP, Domain Research Group, IDC Asia/Pacific.

Avneesh Saxena, Group VP, Domain Research Group, IDC Asia/Pacific.

Enterprises should start thinking what needs to get into their respective clouds. Transformative IT is unhinging the rules. There will be a cloud-based convergence era in the future, according to Avneesh Saxena, Group VP, Domain Research Group, IDC Asia/Pacific. He was presenting on cloud deployment trends in the Asia Pacific region at the recently held Intel APAC Cloud Summit.

According to him, China and India – with 9 percent each – led the countries in GPD and change agents. He referred to four mega trends:
* Information – exploding data. Just under 50 percent of TB shipped in 2014 will be in the public cloud.
* Mobility – third platform for industry growth. Mobile devices, services and applications will grow from 2011. This will be the intelligent economy.
* The technology catalyst. Servers, blades, cores, VMs, data transmission, 10G ports — all will grow, some, by at least 5-10 times.
* IT spending (external spend only) will be worth $282 billion in Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ). Also, 31 percent of CIOs and 25 percent of LoBs (line of business) plan to spend 11-30 percent more.

The top three priorities for CIOs and LoBs are as follows:
* Simplify the IT infrastructure.
* Lower the overall cost structure.
* Harnessing IT for competitive edge.

We will be investing more in mobility and analytics. There will be a move toward consolidation, virtualization and better efficiency. There will also be a move toward a more flexible, agile and  scalable infrastructure. Saxena outlined three key transformational trends:
* Behavior/access — mobility/analytics.
* Infrastructure/devices — convergence, virtualization.
* Delivery/consumption — cloud.

Mobilution is a confluence of factors. It is mobile everything. A lot of the distribution channels aer also cloud driven. Analytics-led competitive acceleration is the primary objective of business analytics projects. Saxena added there could yet be another disruption — in the form of micro servers. The idea is to lower the cost of computing per unit of work. Even Intel’s infrastructure will get 75 percent virtualized in three to four years from now.

There will also be converged infrastructure for private clouds. Besides, server virtualization is ramping up fast. There will be a huge increase in server shipments by 2014. Next, there will be device proliferation impact on client virtualization. There is a demand to connect all of our devices — smartphones, iPads, BlackBerrys, tablets, etc.

Evolving cloud business models include, C2C. The consumer clouds are the most popular, such as Hotmail, Gmail, Google Docs, etc. B2C clouds are the next — such as NetFlix, Apple, Skype, etc. Finally, there are B2B clouds — enterprise clouds — where security, SLAs are the differentiators.

Security/regulation are critical for public clouds. As of now, private clouds are deemed to be more secure than public clouds. Solving cloud security and compliance is a huge revenue opportunity for vendors.

Reference architecture — starting point to build and optimize cloud infrastructure


Rekha Raghu, Strategic Program Manager, Intel, Software and Services Group.

Rekha Raghu, Strategic Program Manager, Intel, Software and Services Group.

Rekha Raghu, Strategic Program Manager, Intel, Software and Services Group, discussed some reference architecture (RA) case studies. Intel Cloud Builders program is a reference architecture (RA) — a starting point from where to build and optimize cloud infrastructure.

The RA Development Process takes anywhere from two to three weeks. It involves exploration, planning, integration, testing and development. The RA is said to be:
*   Detailed know-how guides.
*  Practical guidance for building and enhancing cloud infrastructure.
*  Best-known methods learned through hands-on lab work.

RA case study # 1 – efficient power management
Data center power management involves monitor and control server power, and later, manage and co-ordinate at data center level. Dynamic power management is on the server, rack, and data center levels.

Power management use cases help to save money via real time monitoring, optimized workloads and energy reduction. They allow scaling farther via power guard rail and optimization of rack density. They also help prepare for the worst in terms of disaster recovery/business continuity.

Intel also presented a power management RA overview as well as an implementation view. The monitoring, reporting and analysis provides insight into energy use and efficiency, as well as CO2 emissions. Rack density optimization and power guard rail enables more servers deployed per rack. It improves the opex cost of power delivery per system. It also extends the capex data center investment with increased node deployments.

As for disaster recovery/business continuity, there is policy based power throttling per node to bring the data center back to life more quickly and safely. The next step involves inlet temperature monitoring and response based on thermal events (already available in Intel Intelligent Power Node Manager).

Workload-power optimization identifies optimal power reduction without performance impact. Customized analysis is required as each workload draws power differently.

RA case study # 2 – enhanced cloud security
If one looks at the trends in security in the enterprise, there are shifts in types of attacks. The platform is now as a target, not just software. Stealth and control are taken as objectives.

There are increased compliance concerns. HIPPA, Payment Card Industry (PCI), etc., require security enforcement and auditing. Changes in architectures require new protections as well. These include Virtualization and multi-tenancy, third party dependencies, and location identification.

Trustable compute pools usage models lead to compliance and trust in the cloud. Compliance in the cloud involves multi-tenancy that could complicate compliance. There is need for software trust despite physical abstraction. Also, compliance requires effective reporting. There is a need to enforce VM migration based on security policy.

Intel-VMware-HyTrust enables trusted compute pools. The outcome is that data integrity is secure and there is no compliance violation.

Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) enforces platform control. It allows greater control of launch stack and enables isolation in boot process. It also complements runtime protections, and reduces support and remediation costs. Hardware based trust provides verification useful in compliance.

HyTrust appliance enforces policy. It is a virtual appliance that provides unified access control, policy enforcement, and audit-quality logging for the administration of virtual infrastructure.

Intel provides solutions to pro-actively control and audit virtualized data centers.

Intel Cloud Builders program helps utilize proven reference solutions to ease deployments


Billy Cox, director, Cloud Strategy, Software and Services Group, Intel.

Billy Cox, director, Cloud Strategy, Software and Services Group, Intel.

Billy Cox, director, Cloud Strategy, Software and Services Group, Intel, said that IT and service providers need to define and prioritize IT requirements. Products and technologies go on to take advantage of new capabilities in Intel platforms. The Intel Cloud Builders program helps utilize proven reference solutions to ease your deployments.

Technology to optimize the CloudNode requires orchestration and automation. This involves: compliance and security, high performance IO, and density and efficiency.

So, what’s the need for having reference architectures now? Where do you draw the lines for a reference architecture? Enterprises have mostly relied on build to order architectures. With the advent of cloud, there is more of configure to order architectures.

Cloud hardware architectures generally focus on homogenous compute, flat networks and distributed storage. The cloud software IaaS stack looks at horizontal management roles. The focus is on service delivery.

The Open Data Center usage models include secure federation – provider assurance and compliance monitoring, automation – VM operability and ID control, common management and policy – regulatory framework, as well as transparency – service catalog, standard unit of measurement, and carbon footprint, where the cloud services become “CO2 aware”. Cox also referred to data center usage models in 2011, where Intel is delivering products/technologies to address usage models.

Intel Cloud Builders program reference architectures is a starting point from which to build and optimize cloud infrastructure. Solutions are available today to make it easier to build and optimize cloud infrastructure. Intel offers proven, open, interoperable solutions optimized for IA capabilities. It is also establishing the foundation for more secure clouds.

Data center efficiency priorities involve achieving efficiency and reliability by maximizing available capacity and modular build out for growth. Intel has a holistic approach – systems, rack, design and monitoring.

For instance, the Unified Network consolidates traffic on an 10G Ethernet fabric. It simplifies the network by migrating to 10GbE and lowers TCO by consolidating data and storage networks. Flexible network is the foundation of cloud architecture.

Intel Cloud Builders is easing cloud deployments via proven, interoperable solutions for IT.

Intel’s vision for the cloud!


Allyson Klein, director, Leadership Marketing, Data Center Group, Intel Corp.

Allyson Klein, director, Leadership Marketing, Data Center Group, Intel Corp.

According to Allyson Klein, director, Leadership Marketing, Data Center Group, Intel Corp., the compute continuum has arrived. The connected world is becoming larger and more diverse. There will approximately be over 1 billion new users by 2015.

We are witnessing a sea of new devices, limited only by our creativity. There are estimated to be more than 15 billion devices connected by 2015. All of these devices are creating a renaissance of compute experience, that is pervasive and simple computing. These will once again change the ways we work and live.

And, a new frontier of insight, simplifying our lives and making our world more efficient. So, what about the cloud? Cloud will be the performance engine of the compute continuum.

There has been an introduction of a new economic model for computing: ~ 600 Apple iPhones will need a new server; and so would ~120 iPads. And, this is only said to be the beginning!

The data center processor growth has been >2X in 10 years. Data center acceleration is estimated to be >2X in the next five years. Cloud’s contribution to data center growth will be significant. In 2010, cloud was contributing 10 percent. This should double to 20 percent in 2015.

Intel’s strategy for creating the cloud includes:
IT & service providers – define and prioritize IT requirements.
Products & technologies – take advantage of new capabilities in Intel platforms.
Intel Cloud Builders – utilize proven reference solutions to ease your deployments.

The Open Data Center Alliance is a catalyst for change, given that open and interoperable solutions are essential. In October 2010, the Alliance established the first user-driven organization for cloud requirements. There were 70 IT leaders joined by technical advisor Intel. Five technical working groups were formed.

In June 2011, the Open Data Center Alliance released the first user-driven requirements for the cloud. It now has 4X members representing  over $100 billion in annual IT spend. There have been new technical collaborations as well — four organizations and four initial solutions providers. The Alliance endorses immediate use to guide member planning and purchasing decisions.

Cloud key strategy for Intel: Liam Keating


Liam Keating, Intel APAC IT director and China IT country manager.

Liam Keating, Intel APAC IT director and China IT country manager.

“The benefits of cloud are real! We have so far seen $17 million savings to date from our internal cloud efforts,” said Liam Keating, Intel APAC IT director and China IT country manager. He was speaking at the Intel APAC Cloud Summit in Malaysia.

Intel currently runs 91 data centers, globally, from over 140, about a couple of years ago. As of now, cloud has become a key strategy for Intel.

If one views Intel’s data center profile, it looks like this:
D – Design – Expanded HPC solutions.
O – Office – Enterprise private cloud.
M – Manufacturing – Factory automation.
E – Enterprise  - Enterprise private cloud.
S – Services –  Enterprise private cloud.

In the past (in 2009), Intel had 12 percent virtualization.  It had a design grid as well. According to Keating, Intel’s experience with grid computing helped in the company’s cloud computing strategy. Currently, Intel boasts over 50 percent virtualization. In future, this would move to over 75 percent. Keating added that Intel will continue to experiment and evolve the public cloud.

As for the applications residing on the internal cloud, these include: engineering 5 percent, sales/marketing 19 percent, ERP 13 percent, HR/finance/legal 22 percent, operations/security/manageability 26 percent, and productivity/collaboration 15 percent.

The business benefits are immense. “We are improving the velocity and availability of IT services,” Keating said. He outlined five strategic benefits, as below:
* Agility – immediate provisioning.
* Higher responsiveness.
*  Lower business costs.
* Flexible configurations.
* Secured infrastructure.

In terms of business velocity, there has been reduced provisioning time — from 90 days to three hours. Intel is now on its way to minutes! As for efficiency, the server consolidation is at a 20:1 ratio. In terms of capacity, there has been a shift from capacity planning to demand forecast modes. Finally, quality, where the standard configurations improved consistency and enabled automation.

Intel has learned best practices lessons from implementing the  cloud. First, the cloud terminology itself. There have been leadership support as well as IT business partnerships. Intel has also set short-term priorities — pervasive virtualization and faster provisioning. Intel has also learned to manage with data – P2V RoI, measured services, business intelligence (BI) collection, server sizing, etc.

Current challenges facing Intel include asset management and utilization. There is a need to be cognizant of performance saturation, and also understand the degrees of separation. The integrated management view is critical in all of this.

Another challenge is presented by capacity planning, which is shifting to demand forecasting. Quicker provisioning requires the view into the future cloud as well. Next, automation re-inforces the workforce too!

Intel’s IT division has successfully developed a private cloud. This has aligned the IT strategy to business needs. Business benefits will generate value. Cloud transition has now become a multi-year journey at Intel.

Intel leads industry transformation to open data centers and cloud computing


Intel India held a demonstration of “The-Cloud-in-a-Box,” conducted by Nick Knupffer, marketing program manager, Intel Corp.

According to him, user experience is the driving force in our industry: both device and the cloud. Innovation starts with the best transistors. He added that cloud computing is not only inevitable; it is imperative. Intel is said to have the right solutions required to enable a connected world.

By 2015, there will be more users, over 15 billion connected devices, and naturally, data — 1 zetabyte Internet traffic. Internet and device expansion drives new requirements for IT solutions.

Intel’s Cloud 2015 vision.

Intel’s Cloud 2015 vision.

Intel’s Cloud 2015 vision is one of federated, automated and client aware networks. Federated, so that data can be shared securely across public and private clouds. Client aware, so that services can be optimized based on device capability. Automated, so that IT can focus more on innovation and less on management.

Data center processor growth has been >2X in five years. The mobile Internet that runs on Intel is also growing its data center business. Intel has moved to higher process nodes, and 22nm is now a revolutionary leap in process technology. Today, 70 percent of the global CIOs have cloud security top of mind.

Intel is now building the ecosystem around better, faster and stronger security based on Xeon. Here, the Intel Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (Intel AES-NI) and the Intel Trusted Execution Technology (Intel TXT), are currently prominent.

Congrats TSMC, for raising R&D spend! But, what about Indian firms?


Source: IC Insights, USA.

Source: IC Insights, USA.

Congratulations to TSMC  for making it to the top 10 R&D spenders during 2010! If you look at the IC Insights’ table (see here), you’d understand what I am referring to!

First, the table itself. It has no major surprises, barring TSMC, which again is not really a surprise. As IC Insights itself says, “The industry is increasingly dependent on the success (and hopefully not, failure) of the foundries to continue advancing their IC manufacturing capabilities.”

TSMC has jumped up from 19th to the 10th place in the latest R&D spend. IC Insights expects that TSMC’s R&D spending in 2011 will grow another 20 percent, putting its budget over $1.1 billion for the year.

Otherwise, the top 9 in the list consist of Intel, Samsung, ST, Renesas, Broadcom, Toshiba, Qualcomm, TI and AMD — all big, strong players. However, TSMC, is the only foundry in that list, at the 10th spot.

Now, all of this makes great reading! Everyone connected with the global semiconductor industry is very well aware of TSMC’s strengths and capabilities.

The more TSMC grows in stature, the more will its capabilities grow. A lot of firms have already exited the manufacturing industry, leaving that to the likes of TSMC and others, and some more are due soon.

However, I am thoroughly disappointed by some folks who touch upon India missing out on the R&D story.  More of that in a bit!

First. where is the R&D strength of India? There are firms, based outside the country, managed by Indians, who seem to look down on the country. I even received an email from a gentleman, which says: ‘Without semiconductors, India cannot gain technological advantage. Semiconductor should be funded by the defense budget.” I am appalled!

Well, we are trying, aren’t we? There are names that come to the mind — Procsys, Ittiam, SoftJin, eInfochips, MindTree, and so on! Yes, I know they aren’t exactly world beaters. But hey, they are all doing their own thing reasonably well!

Round-up 2010: Best of semiconductors

December 31, 2010 2 comments

Right then, folks! This is my last post for 2010, on my favorite topic – semiconductors. If 2009 was one of the worst, if not, the worst year ever for semiconductors, 2010 seems to be the best year for this industry, what with the analyst community forecasting that the global semicon industry will surpass the $300 billion mark for the first time in its history!

Well, here’s a look at the good, the bad and the ugly, if available for otherwise what has been an excellent year, which is in its last hours, for semiconductors. Presenting a list of posts on semiconductors that mattered in 2010.

Top semiconductor and EDA trends to watch out for in 2010!

Delivering 10X design improvements: Dr. Walden C. Rhines, Mentor Graphics @ VLSID 2010

Future research directions in EDA: Dr. Prith Banerjee @ VLSID 2010 — This was quite an entertaining presentation!

Global semicon industry on rapid recovery curve: Dr. Wally Rhines

Indian semicon industry: Time for paradigm shift! — When will that shift actually happen?

Qualcomm, AMD head top 25 fabless IC suppliers for 2009; Taiwan firms finish strong!

TSMC leads 2009 foundry rankings; GlobalFoundries top challenger!

ISA Vision Summit 2010: Saankhya Labs, Cosmic Circuits are Indian start-ups to watch at Technovation 2010!

ISA Vision Summit 2010: Karnataka Semicon Policy 2010 unveiled; great opportunity for India to show we mean business! — So far, the Karnataka semicon policy has flattered to deceive! I’m not surprised, though!

Dongbu HiTek comes India calling! Raises hopes for foundry services!!

Indian electronics and semiconductor industries: Time to answer tough questions and find solutions — Reminds me of the popular song from U2 titled — “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”!

What should the Indian semicon/electronics industry do now? — Seriously, easy to say, difficult to manage (ESDM)! ;)  Read more…

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