Intel Canada channel chief Phil Vokins sees big impact for new Xeon launch in Canada

Phil Vokins, Intel Channel Manager in Canada, emphasized that the new 2nd-Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors will greatly expand the ability of Canadian customers to use applications requiring dense memory.

Phil Vokins, Intel’s Channels Manager, Canada

On Tuesday, with great fanfare at a San Francisco luxury hotel, Intel held the public launch of their 2nd-Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, which were formerly code-named Cascade Lake. The hoopla was absent back in Canada, but Phil Vokins, Intel’s Channels Manager, Canada, said that it’s just as big a deal here.

“The Canadian market for Intel is very similar to the U.S.,” Vokins told ChannelBuzz. “While there are some things that we do differently, the strategy is similar, and the trends are similar.” At the event, Navin Shenoy, EVP and GM of the Intel Data Center Group, emphasized that the new data-centric era is emerging at the confluence of three mega-trends: the shift to the cloud; the growth of AI and analytics, and the cloudification of network and the edge. Vokins said that the same trends are critical in Canada.

“My conversations with customers in the last 12-18 months have focused around things like cloudification at the edge, and analytics at the edge, and those things, which we address with the new processors, are really important in Canada,” he said.

Intel is still the king in the data centre, notwithstanding AMD’s comeback there with its Epyc processors, and NVDIA’s taking its GPUs beyond simply using them as server accelerators, as they have done for years. Chinoy also emphasized the suitability of Intel’s focus on inference-based machine learning to edge environments, however. Vokins thinks this is critical in Canada as well.

“We are taking a leadership position around AI with this,” he said.

Vokins said that the new processors’ average 30 per cent increase in performance, combined with lower price, and the new Optane DC Persistent memory, will also reshape the market by making much higher levels of memory to be available to more customers.

“The cost of memory for dense applications has been an issue in the past,” he stated. “Our new in-memory capability will be critical in democratizing this process, bringing what has been a niche use of a technology to a much larger group of customers. The cost will greatly expand the market.”

Much of the language at these launches emphasizes new benchmarks, and upgrades to feeds and speeds, something that is much less important in tech sales than in the past. Vokins said that it’s all still highly relevant, however, even as the language of sales moves around business processes and applications.

“In the past, sales could do this because the buyers for the customers also worked in IT, and were also technical,” he said. “It’s not like that any more. Our IT customers are now much more answerable to the business applications. But for customers to take advantage of that, they and we need to understand what the business application is and how this makes it better. For example, with this launch, we have now gone up to 56 cores, and our mesh architecture connects them and makes them run quicker, so the application will go better. The application owner may not get that the technology that underpins that. But they would know if the application slowed down.”

Vokins said that Intel Select Solutions will also make the new server deployments easier for customers to consume, and easier for partners to sell.

“We talk about the need for agility, but there is also an issue and barrier here around complexity,” he said. “The Intel Select Solutions make it easier to deploy and take some of the guess work out of it.”

Intel will be executing an aggressive go-to-market strategy in Canada to increase awareness of the new products and help their vendor partners sell them. Many of the major OEMs announced their own new servers with Intel out of the gate, and the others are expected to follow shortly afterwards, with announcements timed around major events of their own.

Vokins looks after all of Intel’s resell channels, including large DMRs , VARs, and vendor alliances, and he said they will be selling the new offerings aggressively through all their channels.

“We will be doing a lot of four legged sales calls with both OEMs and VARs, because some customers like having Intel in the room with them. We will also be  doing a lot of events.  I spend as much time as I can with end user customers, even though we always sell to them through a partner of some kind or another.”