Intel takes lead to cut PC costs, develop applications

Intel wants to trim 15% off the cost of owning and operating networked PCs by building management capabilities into motherboards and developing other new management applications.

Andy Grove and company want to trim 15% off the cost of owning and operating networked PCs by building management capabilities into motherboards and developing other new management applications.

At Intel's Wired for Management conference here last week, the Intel chief executive praised the PC for its Darwinian adaptability while calling upon the network industry to follow Intel's lead and take advantage of the PC's flexible nature to cut costs. "We have to provide a more robust computing and networking environment while reducing the costs ... without cutting into flexibility and adaptability," Grove told several thousand attendees, including executives from Cisco Systems, Compaq, Microsoft, Hewlett- Packard and IBM.

Intel wants to lower the average cost of owning and managing a networked PC from US$9324 to US$6800 by next year and is attempting to accomplish this in three ways:

* Through Intel software development kits, enabling vendors of software, PCs and network hardware to develop products based on the Desktop Management Interface, the Desktop Management Task Force's standard for ensuring interoperability and management of hardware and software.

* Developing products that allow IS managers to remotely install, configure and manage PCs.

* Increasing the capabilities of management suites by continuing to develop integration-ready applications for enterprise management.

The company, however, has not announced upcoming products in this area.

To illustrate its commitment to reducing management costs, Intel has announced three OEM server platforms that include its LANDesk enterprise management software. The software allows administrators to respond to problems from remote locations, reducing costs incurred for downtime or travel to the site, Grove says.

LANDesk uses Inference's CasePoint search engine, which is linked to a knowledge base that supplies administrators with access to common solutions. If needed, managers can take control of a user's PC remotely to fix a problem.

The three Pentium Pro platforms are available in single-, dual- and four-processor configurations, each consisting of a motherboard, chassis and management software. Pricing is not available.

The Intel conference also included a demonstration showcase, offering an Intel-centric view of network computing, with third-party vendors displaying Intel-based hardware.

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