Intel IT’s Data Center Strategy for Business Transformation
IT@Intel White PaperDESIGN
Design engineers run 20 to 30 millioncompute-intensive batch design jobsevery week. Each job can potentially takeseveral hours to complete. In addition,interactive Design applications are sensitiveto high latencies caused by hosting theseapplications on remote servers. We have usedseveral approaches in our Design computingdata centers to provide enough computecapacity and performance to supportrequirements, including high-performancecomputing (HPC), grid computing, clusteredlocal workstation computing, and aspecialized algorithm that increases theperformance of the heaviest Designworkloads.
Together, these investmentsenabled Design engineers to run 25 percentmore jobs without adding more computecapacity—which equates to faster design andtime to market.Because Design engineers need to accessDesign data frequently and quickly, wedid not simply choose the least expensivestorage method for this environment. Instead,we have invested in clustered and higherperformance network-attached storage(NAS), along with parallel storage—which ishighly scalable in performance—for our HPCneeds. We use storage area networks (SANs)for specific storage needs such as databases.
IT systems must be available 24/7 in Intel’sManufacturing environment, so we usededicated data centers for factories. We haveinvested heavily over the last few years todevelop a robust business continuity plan
Intel uses grid computing for silicon design and tapeoutfunctions. Intel’s compute grid represents thousandsof interconnected compute servers, accessed throughclustering and job scheduling software. Additionally,Intel’s tapeout environment uses a high-performancecomputing (HPC) approach, which optimizes all keycomponents such as servers, storage, network, OS,applications, and monitoring capabilities cohesively foroverall performance, reliability, and throughput benefits.For more information on HPC at Intel, refer to “High-Performance Computing for Silicon Design,” Intel Corp.,November 2009.
that keeps factories running even in thecase of a catastrophic data center failure.These efforts have paid off, and we havenot experienced factory downtime relatedto data center facilities since 2009.In our Manufacturing environment, wepursue a methodical, proven infrastructuredeployment approach to support high reliabilityand rapid implementation. This “copy-exact”approach deploys new solutions in a singlefactory first and, once successfully deployed,we copy that implementation across otherfactory environments. This approach reducesthe time needed to upgrade the infrastructurethat supports new process technologies—thereby accelerating time to market for Intel®products. The copy-exact methodology allowsfor rapid deployment of new platforms andapplications throughout the Manufacturingenvironment, enabling us to meet a 13-weekinfrastructure deployment goal 95 percent ofthe time—compared to less than 50 percentwithout using copy-exact methodology.
OFFICE, ENTERPRISE, AND SERVICES
To improve IT agility and the businessvelocity of our private enterprise cloud,we have implemented an on-demand self-service model, which has reduced the timeto provision servers from three months tothree hours. We more than tripled the numberof virtualized applications inside the Intel ITOffice and Enterprise environments in 2010,from 12 percent to 42 percent. That numberis greater than 60 percent today, and weremain on track to virtualize 75 percent ofthe applications in our Office and Enterpriseenvironments.In contrast to the Design environment, in theOffice, Enterprise, and Services environmentswe rely primarily on SAN storage, with limitedNAS storage for file-based data sharing.
REFINING OUR STRATEGY
As the pace of Intel’s businessaccelerates, we must continuallyrefine our data center strategy todeliver world-class capabilities in acost-effective manner. Our refinedstrategy includes a new investmentmodel that helps us determine whichinvestments will have the greatestbusiness value, key performanceindicators that help us measure thesuccess of our investments, and anew unit-costing model that helpsus better understand the true costof providing IT services to eachbusiness function.
These new elements of our data centerstrategy, along with a continued focus onmeeting business needs, will help build on thesuccess we have already achieved through ourdata center initiatives over the last decade.These successes include significant data centerconsolidation and dramatic IT cost efficiencies.The refined strategy will enable us to supportthe future growth of Intel’s customers, products,and acquisitions, as well as enhance the quality,velocity, and efficiency of the services IT offersto Intel business groups.
Stimulating Bold Innovationthrough a New InvestmentModel
Building on a time-tested methodology thathas proven successful in Intel’s Manufacturingenvironment over multiple process technologygenerations, we adopted a new data centerinvestment decision model that comparescurrent data center capabilities to a “bestachievable model” that guides us to makeinvestments with the highest impact.Previously, Intel data center planning teamslooked at existing capabilities and funding toestablish a plan of record (POR). This plan droveincremental improvements in our existingcapabilities; our goal was to minimize totalcost of ownership (TCO) and deliver positivereturn on investment (ROI).