Intel acquires chipmaker Corollary

Intel announces it has entered into an agreement to acquire Corollary, a privately held supplier of Intel-based multiprocessing technology.

Intel(INTC) today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Corollary, a privately held supplier of Intel-based multiprocessing technology.

The move gives Intel a direct link into the up-and-coming market for servers that support eight processors, and Corollary expects to benefit from Intel's resources.

Under the deal, in which terms were not disclosed, Corollary will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel and will operate with its existing name. (Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network)

The acquisition is aimed at accelerating the availability of high-performance, eight-way server solutions based on the Intel architecture.

Intel could have developed the technology itself, but Corollary has 80 people already focusing on it, said George White, who will remain president of Corollary.

In addition, Corollary will focus on designing and developing architectures and products to support future generations of Intel processors, said Kevin Soelberg, marketing manager for high-end systems in the enterprise server group at Intel.

"Intel has never offered any eight-way chip-sets, so this is a very synergistic relationship," said Soelberg. "We have been focused on chip-sets that support up to four processors."

Soelberg explained that the benefits of the Intel-Corollary relationship are mutual.

"We are going to together accelerate eight-way solutions for companies building Intel architecture servers," he said. "We want to offer higher performance and scalable solutions and bring those capabilities to a broader market."

Meanwhile, Corollary hopes that Intel's endorsement will ease companies' concerns about its viability.

"A lot of computer companies looked at us as a small company with a good idea. But with the resources of a big company behind us, we will have more credibility," White said. "We have been an underfunded, 80-person company, and our lack of financial depth has probably caused a few [potential customers] to be weary."

"We have been a little company playing with giants, and being part of one of the giants will make our life a lot easier," he added.

White expects that, with Intel's commitment and resources behind Corollary's Profusion architecture, eight-way multiprocessing will become mainstream much more quickly.

There has been an air of concern, however, that Microsoft's operating systems do not use additional processors efficiently, but that is in the process of changing.

"It is an issue, but Microsoft has worked to make each new release of Windows NT, Enterprise Edition, specially geared to accept eight-processor machines," said White, adding that he expects NT 5.0 will even be closer to being capable of efficient processing.

While Microsoft has been working to enhance its machines to use the additional processors, Intel's involvement in the business may send a signal that this will be more widely accepted.

"I think it may nudge Microsoft to put a bit more effort into it," said White.

Mark Wood, product manager for the Windows NT server group, said Microsoft is pleased that Intel and Corollary are working together because it will get large-scale processors to more customers. Microsoft's new Enterprise Edition of Windows NT has all the features of standard versions, plus additional scalability.

"We have been working with Corollary to make sure that the new Enterprise Editions can exploit scalability of Corollary systems," said Wood. "Intel [acquisition] should be able to make the architecture more broadly available. The bottom line is it is a good move for customers."

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