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Tech Update: Itanium 2
Blueprints for business solutions

Intel has its mind set on nurturing ecosystems, because it believes that's the path to driving wider adoption of Intel architecture in enterprises. It will use a set of Solution Blueprints to achieve this. by Brian Pereira

"We are bringing together hardware players, service providers and ISVs to deliver an end-to-end solution, says Robin Seiler.

In the 70s, 80s and early 90s, Intel was perceived as a hardware company with specialization in semiconductor manufacturing. Its flagship products continue to be PC microprocessors, chipsets, motherboards and networking connectivity solutions. But these days Intel isn't thinking only about how to up the gigahertz on its next Pentium processor, or about increasing the number of business applications available for its 64-bit Itanium processor. The company is also dead serious about helping solve business problems. And it plans to do this by nurturing ecosystems using a set of Solution Blueprints. In fact, some of the first blueprints are developed in tandem with Indian companies. Towards the same goal, Intel also partnered with HP and Microsoft to launch an initiative called Keystone (See Box).

Robin Seiler, Intel's Asia Pacific Regional Manager, Business Solutions Program, said Intel would initially focus on five verticals: FSI (Finance, Securities and Insurance), Telco, Manufacturing, Energy, and Government & Education.

"Each of these verticals has some very specific solutions of their own. But all of these verticals sit on a set of solutions. And they are provided by a set of ecosystem players (like TCS, IBM Global Services, Accenture), who deliver a specific solution. But all of it sits on top of Intel Architecture," says Seiler.

Seiler informs that Intel has been trying to foster ecosystems for verticals long before the Keystone initiative was announced (early this year).

"We are bringing together hardware players, service providers and ISVs to deliver an end-to-end solution. We have 50,000 active channel members, 1,800 system integrators, 1,500 computer companies, and 400 ISVs worldwide. The end result is we have G1000 companies such as Alcatel, Telefonica, Shell and Reuters, who are running mission critical environments on Intel Architecture today."

How Keystone Works

Basically, the Keystone alliance looks at a financial services company and breaks down the business components. It then slots in solutions and solutions providers for each of these.

Keystone aims to accelerate the adoption of Intel Architecture-based systems and solutions in the highly-specialized financial industry by providing a customized program of information and services.

They include:

  • Solution Centers: Customer access to infrastructure, porting, optimizing and training in more than ten solution centers in key Asian cities.
  • Proof Points: A proprietary database of performance benchmarking data, insightful end-user customer testimonials and reference sites.
  • Choice of Solutions: An expanding range of carefully selected, pre-optimized and validated solutions from Keystone alliance ISVs.
  • Consultancy: Extensive consulting services from all three companies to cover planning, testing and implementation phases.

BLUEPRINTS
Intel's weapon to accelerate this is Solution Blueprints. According to the company, a Blueprint documents proven enterprise solutions for Intel-based servers that have been tested or previously deployed for a specific business need, with a commitment by hardware, software, and solution integrators to make the solution easy and simple to redeploy for other business environments.

Intel Solution Blueprints specify business needs, solution benefits, and deployment guidelines, including recommendations for specific processors, such as the Intel Xeon and Intel Itanium processor families.

For instance, a solution blueprint for the manufacturing vertical details how a high-performance computing solution is used to optimize product design. And this could be applied to the manufacture of airplanes, cars and white goods. It talks about the business challenge, the technology solution and the appropriate enterprise hardware platform.

"A company may take a blueprint and change vendors, but what matters is the establishment of the standard," says Seiler. "Every vertical will have some functions that are common/horizontal across all verticals—take e-mail for instance. We have established blueprints for that type of solution—for all verticals."

For the vertical specific solutions, (like product design in airline manufacturing), manufacturing will have its own set of specific blueprints around the software solutions that are centered on manufacturing.

Most Solution Blueprints target vertical industries such as financial services, manufacturing, energy, retail, government, telecommunications and digital media, addressing the unique performance and services each require. Ultimately, Intel expects to publish hundreds of Solution Blueprints, which will be serviced through a variety of system integrators.

Before a blueprint is crafted, it is tested and tuned at a solution provider's facilities or in one of dozens of worldwide Intel e-Business labs co-located at OEM and solution integrator sites. Additional stress testing and tuning can be provided via 16 Intel Solution Centers or on-site services. The actual solutions
are sold from system integrators. The Intel Solution Blueprints are free of charge and can be found online at www.intel.com/go/solutionblueprints.

Blueprints from India

Indian companies such as Financial Technologies, i-flex Solutions, Infosys Technologies, Elind Computers and Talisma Technologies are among the first companies worldwide to publish blueprints.

  • Financial Technologies worked with Intel to develop a blueprint for its MATCH integrated backoffice processing solution, to deliver Straight Through Processing (STP) capabilities for the global securities industry. Built on a modular, client-server architecture, the solution employs XML to speed deployment and enable maximum flexibility by shortening transaction cycles and improving financial risk management.
  • i-flex, Intel and Compaq have documented the FLEXCUBE solution, which provides a backoffice processing environment for corporate, retail, and investment banking operations with a highly flexible and scalable modular architecture. FLEXCUBE has more than 100 customers worldwide, and can handle collective transaction loads of 3,000 branches and 20 million customer accounts without performance bottlenecks or system lapses.
  • Infosys Technologies, together with Intel, developed a blueprint for its Finacle eChannels and Finacle eCorporate solutions, which provide an integrated online banking solution for retail and corporate customers of banks, with a high degree of customer services personalization. Built on a distributed, multi-tiered and component-based solution that offers a high degree of modularity, the solution is available on the open industry standard platforms .NET and J2EE.
  • Talisma Technologies worked with Intel to outline a blueprint for its Talisma e-CRM solution, an e-CRM architecture that facilitates centralized data updating and provides fast response on desktop systems or mobile access channels. Talisma's solution offers Web, LAN, mobile and wireless client applications for use by the entire organization, and uses XML and Light ActiveX controls for lightweight implementation. All data and programs reside at the server end, allowing the client end to deliver high performance.
  • Elind Computers collaborated with Intel to develop blueprints for its STRIDE and TradePort solutions. STRIDE is a comprehensive electronic marketplace solution that automates the trading environment of traditional, alternative and internal marketplaces. TradePort is a complete order management solution that automates the front and middle office operations of brokerage houses. It is a multi-exchange order routing system with integrated order level risk management and surveillance that enables brokerage houses to participate in global markets and to serve international clientele. Designed on integrated modular architectures in which each sub-system can run independently in a distributed environment and perform specific functionalities, the solutions provide high availability, scalability and interoperability.

Brian Pereira can be reached at brianp@networkmagazineindia.com

 
     
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