The day job had been talking to and working with Calxeda for a while. They’ve been undergoing some changes over the last few months as they worked to transition from an evangelist to a systems builder.
The day job just got a note that they are restructuring. What this specifically means to an outsider, I am not sure, though I could speculate.
HP has a vested interest in them. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rapid asset acquisition. Or Quanta. Or possibly … AMD?
Its always hard to evangelize and sell product. Its very hard. In their short time, they’ve managed to get the industry talking about power efficiency.
But I’ve argued that its not for the reasons that many would think. Customers want an alternative to Intel, not because they don’t like Intel (many do), but because of the single supplier issue for such an important technology. AMD previously had been in this role with formerly competitive parts, though through numerous missteps, they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Many customers we spoke with about Calxeda all had the impression that each CPU core in the Calxeda processor was roughly equivalent in performance to that of the Intel units, or sufficiently close so as not to matter. Our testing did not indicate that this was so. It is a great platform for specific workloads. Just not FP/Int computationally heavy ones.
Bigger picture, they are dead on right that we need to be more efficient in our computing. I thought the way to do this is to drive each core to be far more efficient in its resource usage, and then package many such efficient cores together. I think we were well aligned in that regard.
But part of winning customers is about showing that either you are better at the same price point, or you can do the same thing at a lower price point. That was somewhat harder with the earlier platforms, due to a variety of issues that were not initially addressed, but had been planned to be addressed.
Give a few more years, and their product would be very compelling. We took an initial stab, and tried to get customers interested. People wanted to kick the tires, but we couldn’t get them to the next level. When you get to that point, you have to have a large enough bank account balance to be able to be patient. Which is hard in a large startup burning through capital, and investors wanting to see evidence of traction.
Remember, I am speculating, and I could be wrong.
We planned to be patient and work with them through a number of issues, and were looking forward to the next platform to play with. Each iteration kept getting better.