Super-secretive Google had its insides exposed this week by Intel's amateur blogger and server chief Pat Gelsinger. The executive claims that Intel's server division has won back Google's business from AMD. IBM, HP, Dell, Sun Microsystems and Rackable must find this revelation curious.
Intel's white box server business receives little attention. The chip maker crafts a few different types of systems and will ship them to interested parties. It tends, however, to avoid stealing significant sales from its largest customers.
On the Google front, Intel went out of its way to steal such business. It produced a bespoke server line full of low-power, low-cost components that matched Google's demanding specifications.
Intel's server gurus "have been maniacal as we designed a unique board for them, developing a unique memory module with them, working every angle of the cost equation and engaging with our sales teams to get the business," Gelsinger wrote on his internal Intel blog, according to one of CNET's few non-Second Life reports.
He claimed that Google used AMD's chips for the last four quarters – a slap to Intel, which has its CEO Paul Otellini sitting on Google's board. But now Google is back on board.
The search company-cum-ad broker places a great deal of emphasis on buying lower-cost, slower chips that consume less energy in the hopes of reducing its power bill and keeping servers up and running. Early on, Google bought its systems from service provider server all-star Rackable Systems. Then, Google started to design its own boxes in-house.
We find it hard to believe that Intel now supplies the majority of Google's systems, as Google workers have confessed to us that they still build their own servers in-house. Still, Gelsinger is a man of his word and obviously owns a healthy chunk of the Google operation.
IBM, HP, Dell and newcomer to the Intelside Sun can't be pleased about this turn of events. Any one of the companies would be thrilled to hand Google thousands and thousands of boards. But perhaps they weren't willing to do the custom work necessary to take the account.
Google itself can't be pleased about Gelsinger's internal blog making its way to the public. The company likes to keep everything except its colored balls secret.
Gelsinger is just an amateur blogger who is only testing out the prime-time globule market, and this might be part of the learning curve. His first public blogging experience came this week in the form of a comment posted on Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz's popular glob.
"At Sun there are engineers like we have at intel - engineers passionate about technology, engineers committed to doing great things for the enterprise of tomorrow," Gelsinger wrote. "I'm anxious for your first Xeon products to being shipping, for the full line up we discussed today to be broadly available, and anxious for even better solaris and java on Intel."
Notice that he didn't capitalize Solaris or Java.
Maybe things haven't changed. ®