Barrett Champions Standards for the Enterprise

Craig Barrett, Intel's president and chief executive officer, kicked off "Intel Day" at Oracle's Open World event in San Francisco by championing his company's enterprise push and calling for the adoption of standards for back-end systems.

The upcoming release of the Itanium 64-bit processor will help Intel gain market share among large companies -- the so-called enterprise market, said Barrett, whose company is better known for making processors used in PCs.

He also urged the Open World audience to adopt back-end standards, which can simplify communication between database servers, front-end servers and software applications. Such collaboration will pave the way for an expected dramatic growth of business-to-business (B2B) applications on the Web, he said.

By 2004, approximately $US7 trillion in B2B transactions will take place over the Internet. Given that the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) currently stands at around $US10 trillion, it can be assumed that around 70 percent of transactions will take place on the Net, he said.

"All of these networks have to play together, and they come from a variety of different suppliers," Barrett said, referring to the variety of technologies involved in e-commerce transactions. "The software has to be interoperable and has to continue to advance rapidly."

Intel moved quickly from a time in 1998 when the company did barely any transactions over the Internet, he said. "We went from zero revenue in late 1998 to essentially 100 percent of revenue on the Web at this time."

In order for other companies to make a similar online push, Barrett laid out what he believes to be the model of business in the future.

At the current time, proprietary systems still dominate the back-end and applications landscape. Companies searching to collaborate on transactions and technology development often run into roadblocks when differing infrastructures slow or impede joint initiatives. But the next decade should bring a more open set of standards to ensure that companies can work together and use each other's technology easily, he said.

"Proprietary hardware will move over the next five to 10 years to a modular approach," he said.

Barrett proposed what he calls the "plug and play" model for doing business over the Internet. He asked the audience to work on efforts to make back-end machines, networks and software applications interoperable over sets of open standards.

"How do you provide the glue to bring all of these capabilities together?" he asked.

In particular, Barrett highlighted XML (extensible markup language) as one protocol that will continue to drive activities on the Web in the future.

The ever-increasing number of transactions done on the Web will require collaborative efforts to guarantee that technology meets corporate demands. The back-end database servers that often handle the brunt of the transaction load stand as key pieces of technology for this enterprise expansion on the Internet, he said.

Not coincidentally, Barrett thus highlighted Intel's partnerships with Oracle and Microsoft Corp. on enterprise solutions. He repeatedly referred to Intel's efforts with both Oracle and Microsoft on back-end technologies, showing Intel's presence on both sides of a fierce software battle.

"The Internet is being driven by a modular approach," he said. "The Internet is not driven by any company. It is driven by many companies."

Intel, in Santa Clara, California, can be reached at +1-408-987-8080 or at http://www.intel.com/.

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