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Intel moves deeper into software with server KVM tool

James Niccolai | Feb. 17, 2014
Intel has released a new tool for remotely managing servers from multiple hardware vendors, though it's having to be careful not to upset partners as it looks to make more money from software.

As Intel looks to sell more data center management products, it has to be careful not to cause friction with partners like Schneider that license its technologies. Intel intentionally priced its Virtual KVM Gateway so that it doesn't undercut its partners' offerings, Klaus said.

"It's delicate, I won't deny it," he said.

Intel could face similar challenges in other areas besides KVM. It commands some 95 percent of the x86 server market, giving it access to a variety of instrumentation data including thermals and power consumption. It licenses access to that data to other companies that make data center management tools, particularly ones used to manage energy use.

"We think we're in the best position, being the manufacturer of the hardware, to be that connected layer just on top of the hardware, and to provide that instrumentation data," Klaus said.

A decision for Intel is whether it will continue to monetize the power and thermal data primarily through third parties, or whether it will use it to develop more software products of its own. The answer might depend on how well those third-party tools sell.

"Are we going to achieve the growth through partners, or are we going to have to pivot and be more direct?" Klaus said. "Right now, we're putting more emphasis on partners on the power and thermals side, and we're just trying this direct route on virtual KVM."

How that strategy will evolve remains to be seen.


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