Intel expands data center TAM
Intel’s (INTC) DCG (Datacenter Group) has been seeing better-than-expected growth in 2018 driven by strong demand from its cloud and communications services customers.
After a year of strength, the DCG’s growth is likely to slow in 2019 due to a strong baseline revenue comparison. Moreover, competition is picking up in the data center processor market as the adoption of Advanced Micro Devices’ (AMD) server CPUs (central processing unit) rises.
In the first three quarters of 2018, Intel earned 92% of its DCG revenue from platforms, including microprocessors, chipsets, and stand-alone or multichip packages. However, the company has been expanding its adjacency offerings to include 3D XPoint memory modules, Ethernet products, and silicon photonics products. The company is leveraging these adjacencies to offer a complete data center solution.
Intel’s data center road map
At Intel’s Data-Centric Innovation Summit in August, Intel unveiled its data center road map. At the summit, Intel’s DCG chief, Navin Shenoy, stated that the company was set to ship its Cascade Lake advanced processor by the end of 2018. The processor is intended to augment Intel’s existing Xeon Scalable processor portfolio.
The 48-core Cascade Lake advanced processor will offer support for Intel’s Optane DC persistent memory, which is expected to launch in 2019 and will feature Intel Deep Learning Boost instructions. These features make it ideal for demanding high-performance computing, AI, and infrastructure-as-a-service workloads.
Shenoy stated that Intel is looking to launch Cooper Lake CPUs featuring the BFLOAT16 numeric format used for machine-learning training workloads toward the end of 2019. Both Cascade Lake and Coffee Lake will be built on the 14 nm (nanometer) node but with some enhancements to the node.
He added that the company would transition from 14 nm to 10 nm nodes with its Ice Lake CPU, which will have the same platform as Cooper Lake, and that the two processors will coexist in the marketplace. Intel executive Lisa Spelman told AnandTech that the Ice Lake CPU would hit the shelves in mid-2020.
Intel believes the above road map provides a tailwind to its DCG. However, it remains to be seen whether the company can successfully implement this road map without any delays.
Next, we’ll look at Intel’s other data-centric businesses.