Multicore NZ

June 9, 2009

Intel buys Wind River

Filed under: Models, Multicore — multicoreblog @ 5:46 am

Wind River, a company that has been around for a couple of decades, has been bought by Intel for $884 million. Not bad, given that Linux is their major product.

From an article at Computerworld there are other comments that are of our interest,

“Beyond mobile and embedded processors, the chip maker could also extend Wind River’s technology to high-end multicore processors like Intel’s Larrabee graphics chip, McCarron said. Wind River and Intel already collaborate to deliver software tools for multicore systems.”

“A recent programming challenge has been writing software for simultaneous execution across multiple cores and Wind River’s products can translate program code to loop tasks across multiple processors.”

“Intel is working on chips that enable symmetric multiprocessing, I wonder if there is a connection there,” McCarron said. “Given that Larrabee is running its own internal OS, there may be a tie-in related to the OS.”

“The Larrabee graphics processor uses an array of X86 cores with vector processors, and a chip-level operating system is needed to coordinate software execution across those cores. Right now the chip uses BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution), a flavor of the Unix OS, internally to coordinate processing, and Wind River’s products could be used to optimize software — like games — to work effectively.”

“It greatly eases the load on people writing the code,” McCarron.

“Only time will tell if Intel winds up paying too much to acquire Wind River, but the planned acquisition is an exercise by Intel to provide the right mix of products to push chips into new devices and markets, analysts said. Intel’s consumers want to get higher software performance from the chip.”

“The planned acquisition is not about Intel taking aim at its competitors, in McCarron’s view. “This is not targeting any company. It is more about controlling your destiny and having the right ingredients,” McCarron said.

Dean McCarron, principal analyst with Mercury Research.

My opinion is that Intel keeps pushing for their multicore chips and this acquisition just keeps the trend of demonstrate its easy of use.

Intel buys Wind River, Oracle bought Sun: someone could read this as a consolidation in the software industry around major firms. Other way to see it would be that the big players need to prepare themselves for innovations that are challenging their existence. Cisco grew aggressively by acquisitions years ago, but it was a way to be ahead of competitors by buying innovative companies. Sun and maybe Wind River wouldn’t survive very easily through the following few years, but their technology has been long time orientated towards the future that the major players are now looking for.

As usual, more consolidation just opens new opportunities in the fringe. Not only in technology, but in how it is managed. The OSS model certainly will have a strong part on it.

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