Intel accelerates Web services plans

Positioning itself for the role silicon will play in the evolution of Web services, Intel Corp. is busy perfecting SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration), SSL (Secure Socket Layer), and IPSEC (IP Security Protocol, acceleration boards based on the CompactPCI standard).

Overseen by Intel's Network Equipment Division in San Diego, the work on the acceleration boards is designed to give them the ability to inspect the content of data packets and provide dramatic improvements in Web service performance, according to sources familiar with the company's plans.

Products resulting from the San Diego research are expected from Intel by the end of this year, according to sources.

Intel representatives acknowledged the efforts of its Network Equipment Division in general, saying the group works under a broad charter.

"We do indeed have operations in San Diego. The group is chartered with being a provider of building block technology -- based on Intel Architecture -- in the communications market segment that offers content intelligent network control capabilities for inline packet/message classification, prioritization, metering, and acceleration," explained Tracey Lempner, an Intel representative in Santa Clara, California.

Although Intel is uncontested as the No.1 maker of computer microprocessors in the world, experts view the existence of its network equipment division as added proof that the chip maker intends to be a player in the communication silicon space when the currently ailing market recovers.

"Intel has a very credible and growing line of processors that are targeting networking applications," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64. "It's still a small percentage of Intel's overall revenues, and as far as I know they're still losing money at it. But everybody who sells chips into the communication sector is losing money this year."

"But Intel's approach to market doldrums is 'we'll continue to develop new products,'" said Brookwood.

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