SAN JOSE -- Two weeks after agreeing to be acquired by Broadcom Corp., ServerWorks Corp. today outlined its strategy in the server-based chip set market, reportedly including a major deal with Intel Corp.
At the Platform Conference here, ServerWorks indicated that its future chip sets would support a range of new and advanced microprocessors from Intel. ServerWorks officials would not elaborate on the company's dealings with Intel. But sources indicated that Intel has granted a license to ServerWorks, which will use the technology rights to develop Pentium 4-compliant chip sets for the server market.
ServerWorks will not develop a chip set for Intel's Itanium family of server-based processors, but the company will support the next-generation product, dubbed McKinley. ServerWorks is also developing chip sets for other applications beyond computers, such as networking equipment, storage systems, and other applications.
The market for servers is exploding in new and emerging applications, said Kimball Brown, vice president of business development for ServerWorks.
"The server market is growing much faster than the desktop computer market," Brown said in a presentation at the Platform Conference. "Our chips are in workstations. We're in firewall servers, cache servers, and other products," he said.
At present, ServerWorks and Intel are the major players in the server-based chip set market, said analyst Nathan Brookwood, who tracks the industry for InSight64, a market research firm in Saratoga, Calif. But much to the chagrin of Intel, ServerWorks is the dominate supplier in this space, Brookwood said.
"ServerWorks has the lion's share of Intel's x86-based server business," he said. "Their list of customers is mind-boggling."
On the PC side of the computer business, ServerWorks' customers include Dell, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, NEC, and others. In the networking-equipment markets, ServerWorks' customers include Cisco, Lucent, and Nortel. ServerWorks' market presence attracted Broadcom, which agreed to acquire the company for $957 million in stock (see Jan. 8 story). The purchase was completed last week.
At present, ServerWorks' is shipping the so-called SystemI/O product, a chip set designed for use in x86-based servers, networking equipment, and other products. The company is also developing "Pinnacle," a chip set that combines the company's core logic and IBM Microelectronics' Memory eXpansion Technology (MXT). Introduced earlier this year, MXT is said to double the capacity of a computer.
The SystemI/O products mainly supports Intel's Pentium III family of processors, but reports surfaced that the company has been granted a license from Intel to develop server-based chip sets built around the Pentium 4 processor.
ServerWorks officials declined to comment. "We will develop chip sets with faster buses," Brown said in a brief interview with SBN at the Platform Conference.
Brown did acknowledged that ServerWorks will "skip" the development of a chip set based on Intel's Itanium family of server-based processors. "We are looking at McKinley," he said, referring to the next-generation server-based processor from Intel.
In fact, ServerWorks' chip set for McKinley is said to be a product that supports double-data-rate (DDR) SDRAMs. Intel itself is also developing a similar chip set that will support both DDR SDRAMs and Rambus Inc.'s
Direct Rambus memory technology.