Google, Intel in alliance on data centre tech


The world’s largest chipmaker, Intel, is to collaborate with Google on technologies for data centres – specifically, the cloud and the internet of things. 

As well as being the world’s largest internet search company, Google is also a significant provider of cloud services, and has extensive data centre infrastructure around the world.

Intel, meanwhile, claims its processors are in 90 per cent of servers in data centres around the world.

Writing on the company blog, Nan Boden, Google’s head of global technology partners, says the partnership with Intel is designed to accelerate enterprise adoption of the cloud.

Boden says: “We’ve worked closely with Intel for years on datacenter processor technology, and are now expanding our collaboration to help enterprise customers move from legacy infrastructure to an open, secure and future-proof cloud. The alliance will focus on technology integrations and joint market education efforts.

“Google and Intel have been working closely for many years to engineer and validate processor technology within the data center. With this new alliance, we’ll explore technology solutions for our enterprise customers in the areas of Kubernetes, machine learning, IoT and security, combining Google Cloud software capabilities with Intel’s advanced hardware.”

Loss leader 

Intel is still the largest chipmaker in the world, according to some surveys, but its position has been undermined by the sudden and massive growth of the mobile devices market, where it had little or no presence.

Qualcomm was one of main beneficiaries of the growth in mobile computing, where its Snapdragon chipset is used in most of the leading smartphones, and Google has been testing the company’s 24-core ARM chipset for data centre servers.

Google has also entered similar partnerships on data centre server chips with Advanced Micro Devices.

Qualcomm is clearly looking for new markets, having also agreed to buy NXP, the leader in the automotive semiconductor market, for $47 billion.

However, Intel remains the market leader by some distance, and says its data centre business is set to grow.

This is a list of the top 20 semiconductor makers, as collated by IC Insights based on unit sales in the first half of 2016, along with their approximate total revenues for the period in millions of dollars.

  1. Intel – $26,000
  2. Samsung – $19,700
  3. Taiwan Semiconductor – $13,000
  4. Broadcom – $7,300
  5. Qualcomm – $7,200
  6. SK Hynix – $6,400
  7. Texas Instruments – $5,900
  8. Micron – $5,800
  9. Toshiba – $4,900
  10. NXP – $4,600
  11. MediaTek – $3,900
  12. Infineon – $3,600
  13. STMicroelectronics – $3,300
  14. Apple – $2,900
  15. GlobalFoundries – $2,800
  16. Renesas – $2,800
  17. Nvidia – $2,600
  18. Sony – $2,300
  19. UMC – $2,200
  20. AMD – $1,900

Shown in pie chart form, Intel can be seen as the clear market leader. And the company itself says it has plenty of room to grow – especially in the data centre networking market, where it calculates that it has less than 10 per cent market share.

Google, meanwhile, has been steadily building its cloud business, where Amazon is said to be dominant, according to Synergy Research.