It is our opinion that Google (GOOG) has designed and deployed home-grown 10GbE switches as part of a secret internal initiative that was launched when it realized commercial options couldn’t meet the cost and power consumption targets required for their data centers.
This decision by Google, while small in terms of units purchased, is enormous in terms of the disruptive impact it should have on 10GbE switching equipment providers and their component supply chains. It is as if a MACHO just arrived in the Enterprise networking business and the orbits of the existing satellites have begun to shift without observers knowing why – until now.
Intel (INTC) has nearly completed a complete clawback of server market supremacy with today’s announcement that Sun Microsystems (SUNW) will closely collaborate with Intel. After substantially improving their devices and surpassing the benchmarks set by AMD (AMD), Intel is back in the drivers seat when it comes to high margin server CPUs. This was an outcome I felt was never in doubt.
This was a very interesting debate among some very heavy hitters who operate data centers about where the bottlenecks are in the data centers, and if the new model of massively distributed computing in one centralized data center is a sustainable model.
It’s very profitable for distributors – while it lasts. I examine the recent disclosures from Vitesse Semiconductor and the potential impact on their largest distributor, Nu Horizons.
Perhaps investors will pause for a moment from their ritualistic dead-horse-beating about the demise of Intel (INTC) and the ascendency of AMD (AMD). They should read a recent performance benchmarking from AnandTech, “Intel Woodcrest, AMD’s Opteron and Sun’s UltraSparc T1: Server CPU Shoot-out“.
It’s a great overview of the performance of Intel’s new Woodcrest Server chip, and how the Core architecture is improving the performance of their chips across the board. In my discussion of the New Four Horsemen, I also linked to an article comparing the Intel Core versus AMD’s K8 architecture.
Intel is not without troubles. But the idea that AMD is going to continue to take large share gains is absurd. AMD clearly took advantage of the horrific Xeon performance in the server space. Much of the Intel share loss and most of the profit hit was from losing this high margin business. Read the Anandtech articles and it’s clear to me that the days of easy share gain for AMD are over.
Now they just need to fix their awful marketing.
The real loser here? Sun Microsystems (SUNW) and their build-their-own CPU strategy pulled from the playbook of virtually every computer company that went out of business in the last 20 years, something we pointed out six months ago.
In the semiconductor business, the clock re-starts every two years. You put yourself out of business or the other guy will. There is no permanant advantage. And the clock just restarted. Game on boys.
Cisco (CSCO), Oracle (ORCL), Sun (SUNW), and EMC (EMC) were the darlings of the internet boom and were referred to as the ‘Four Horsemen‘. Your broker was overheard in 2000 “Yes, things are in fact a bit irrational but these companies have real products, revenues, and earnings and are investment-grade leaders of the new economy.”
Your broker neglected to mention that the biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were steered by four riders – Conqueror, War, Famine and Death. I’ll leave it to my readers to pair them appropriately.
A few weeks back, while in CA for OFC/NFOEC, I was lucky to get a late night tour of 365 Main, a massive, state of the art data center near the Embarcadero in San Francisco. My guide, Peter Kranz, was someone I worked with and co-adventured with in College who is now the owner and CEO of Unwired, a San Francisco based CLEC. His equipment is in this data center, and he invited me in for a look.