How Intel Improved Its Own Server Performance

Intel runs 60 data centres and more than 5500 servers globally, which makes it a significant user of its own server technology. Here are some of the strategies it used to improve server performance and reduce costs.

Lifehacker's coverage of Data Center World 2014 is presented by the Microsoft Cloud, providing flexible enterprise cloud solutions for business.

Paul Vaccaro from Intel's IT data centre operations and planning team outlined some of the approaches the processor giant had adopted during a panel discussion at Data Center World 2014 in Las Vegas.

One important approach was making better use of existing hardware. "Increasing effective utilisation was important," Vaccaro said. "Our average utilisation went from 54 per cent to 85 per cent. There are huge dollar savings if you can drive that type of thing."

A second key strategy was tracking expenses closely. "Cost is everything," Vaccaro said. "Cost is one of our KPIs." Over a four-year period, Intel cut its internal sever costs by $184 million.

Some of those savings came from smarter technology choices: switching to using SSDs in the servers utilisation in Intel's high performance computing design division saved $50 million.

One strategy Vaccaro would have liked to adopt but which hasn't proved practical is direct billing of individual divisions for their IT usage. "We don't do so much billing back of our end users at Intel, and that's a problem, because that can change behaviour."

Servers picture from Shutterstock


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