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Intel’s dual-core Xeon processor 5100 series, the chip maker’s latest microprocessor platform for servers, does something for the channel no other Intel product has done before.

The dual-core chip set, formerly code-named Woodcrest, allows solution providers and system builders a chance to build services and business problem solutions to add to the Intel war chest, said Steve Dallman, director of American distribution and channel sales and marketing for Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel.

“For partners, this is actually a chance to talk to the customers about advanced solutions, about virtualization, more secure systems,” Dallman said at the New York launch of the product line on June 26. “Previously, it was always just faster, more powerful. Now we sell a solution with service possibilities. There is suddenly more to talk about.”

Because Woodcrest is delivered as a platform instead of as a CPU, with hardware and software configured to deliver functions on Intel’s dual-core architecture, solution providers are able to design solutions to business problems instead of simply cutting power consumption or boosting performance, Dallman said.

The dual-core architecture, which enables the server to isolate applications to one core or another and share power and memory cache between the two, allows for sophisticated solutions such as virtualization, as well as back-up and storage solutions.

Channel Transition

Since its value proposition goes beyond speed and performance, Intel shipped Woodcrest alongside more than 200 applications built by 150 OEMs who received the product early, so as to have ready solutions and uses for the series right off the bat, said Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group.

“The channel was timed to market with this product,” Dallman said. “I would like to see the channel lead the transition to the dual-core platform. They can move quicker to the market. They can get to the customer faster; they can get them the solution faster. If they can do it properly, they could get a significant piece of the market share back.”

Intel has lost market share recently to rival AMD, especially in the server market, where several large white-box builders, namely Dell, began building on AMD’s dual-core chip.

To continue the momentum, Intel is fueling the market with an additional 1,200 seed units for development of new solutions. The channel market strategy also includes significant marketing and promotional spending.

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The most significant factor in the channel program will be training and education because the platform is so different from any previous technology and empowers so many opportunities, Dallman said.

The vendor is boosting its training budget “significantly” this year around the dual-core architecture, including online courses and server boot camps, and it is transitioning its fall partner conferences, typically occupied with program announcements, almost entirely to dual-core tutorials.

“I’ve been around a while and I’ve never had to study like this before,” Dallman said of learning the new product line and its capabilities. “They will be learning how to integrate, optimize, [use the faster] speeds, solutions to implement.”