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Intel VP threatens to turn all Xeon users into 'monkey kings'

Beaten with the red stick of life

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IDF Faced with a lack of actual news to discuss, Intel today turned to the "Monkey King" in order to liven up its IDF session on server chips.

Intel senior VP Pat Gelsinger took the stage here in Shanghai to hit on the company's efforts around high performance and data center computing. Gelsinger, however, had little material to work with since the company shot its wad a couple of weeks ago by announcing some new extensions to the Xeon line. So, Gelsinger embraced the legend of the Monkey King to keep things moving.

We'll plead ignorance on this monkey king thing, although the audience here clearly knows the tale . The Interweb tells us that the monkey king is some form of ancient superhero who can work magic with a fancy stick. And, in fact, Gelsinger had replicas of the stick on the ready to hand to speakers who joined him on stage.

"We make all of you monkey kings with the powerful tools of the Intel architecture," Gelsinger said.

"The Intel architecture is the architecture for life."

(At least Gelsinger didn't try and get too bold - cough.)

A number of people, including VMware co-founder Mendel Rosenblum, chatted with Gelsinger and then received his stick before exiting the stage.

"You are now a monkey king," Gelsinger would say each time.

We're guessing this was all part of some big dare concocted by the Intel public relations department.

Away from the sticks, Gelsinger talked about Intel's Xeon and – yes – even Itanium prowess.

Intel believes that Xeon chips sit in 80 per cent of the HPC systems scattered around the globe. And, in China, the company claims eight out of the top ten machines.

The top four Chinese systems handle tasks you might expect such as oil and gas exploration, weather modeling and scientific jobs. The last six, however, all belong to gaming companies and were manufactured by HP. Those WoW gold farmers are demanding.

Away from HPC but still in Xeon land, Gelsinger touted the wonders of the six-core Dunnington chip that fits right into Tigerton sockets. Intel, an investor in VMware, bills the Dunnington chip as a virtualization gem, and Rosenblum agreed.

Both executives feel that customers will benefit from Intel's "Flex Migration" technology which allows software such as VMware's VMotion application to work right away with Intel's latest and greatest chips.

We were impressed that Gelsinger did eventually get to Itanium as well. The company, of late, has ignored the bastard child of its sever chip line.

For the first time, Intel showed off a working version of the four-core Tukwila chip that will arrive in servers early next year. IDF attendees were treated to watching a four-socket box running multiple copies of the Solaris operating system via the help of Transitive's QuickTransit software.

In the past, Intel would roll out the Transitive code to make fun of Sun's prized OS, saying that the fastest Solaris system around ran on Itanium. But, er, Sun's a partner now and a top sponsor of IDF China, so Intel just said that Solaris runs "very well" on Tukwila.

With that kind of restraint, we're sure that Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz would proudly be anointed a monkey king too were he in attendance. ®

Bootnote

One Xeon user at IDF had a rather rough time of it during Gelsinger's keynote. A Chinese state railway official joined Gelsinger to talk about how Xeon's make the trains run on time. The audience would erupt with laughter each time the official celebrated the efficiency of his trains. Still, Gelsinger made a monkey king out of the man.

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