Never break the (supply) chain: Intel pitches 'full lifecycle' chip-tracking programme to partners

Listen to the wind blow, watch the sun rise

A chain tied with a string

Intel has said it wants to make its punters more confident about what happens to its chips on the journey from fab to rack to recycler.

Chipzilla has kicked off a new campaign dubbed "Compute Lifecycle Assurance" that it says will aim to provide a clearer picture into its supply chain and improve the security of chips both as they are manufactured and sent off to OEM, government and cloud customers, and later on as firmware is maintained and fixed, all the way through retirement and breakdown.

"The industry needs an end-to-end framework that can be applied across this multi-year life of any platform," Intel said of the rollout.

"And that is our goal with the Compute Lifecycle Assurance Initiative: to substantially improve transparency and to provide higher levels of assurance that improve integrity, resilience and security during the entire platform lifecycle."

While Intel was short on initial details about what exactly this lifecycle programme will entail, it did say its Transparent Supply Chain will help to serve as the basis, expanding to include ways to better coordinate, manage and track firmware updates all the way through retiring boards and wiping their data.

Intel also pointed out there is a push from government and enterprise customers to get this sort of programme in place as more supply chain laws begin to come into effect and more of Intel's vendors and big purchases will want to have a better idea of where their gear has been or will be at any given moment, and who might have access to it.

There is also the growing fear of supply-chain attacks and the worry that government-compelled suppliers could be tampering with gear during their stage of the manufacturing process.

"We believe a broader set of commercial enterprises from around the world will find value in this level of assurance for validation, compliance and governance," Intel said.

"In the next 12 to 18 months, we expect to see growing interest from our customers, partners and from government oversight organizations to improve transparency beyond the manufacturing supply chain to also include transportation, provisioning, attestation and in-field updates."

To that end, the chip giant is calling in its partners and big customers to help work out a system that all of them can use to better track and manage hardware both before and after it is delivered to the customer.

"We intend to use this position to help mobilize the industry at large and to anticipate the needs of our global – and mutual – customers," Intel said. ®

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