There is a secret warehouse that is home to a collection of legacy Intel hardware, a valuable stockpile in the ongoing fight against cybercrime. The collection was born out of a problem Intel stumbled upon. Specifically, as it whizzed through new hardware at an increasing pace, there was no set method for storing older tech to test for security vulnerabilities.
Intel was developing new technology faster than ever, but its older hardware was becoming jumbled and disorganized, meaning it was laborious for engineers to test it. For example, the Sandy Bridge CPUs launched in 2011 and discontinued in 2013 were incredibly rare. Intel found it did not have any and had to do what we all do… head online to try to buy some.
“We had to actually go on eBay and start looking for these platforms,” says Mohsen Fazlian, general manager of Intel's product assurance and security unit, speaking to the Wall Street Journal.
While Intel was zipping along, customers were staying behind on legacy products. It is one of the issues with the PC market. Customers are not inclined to upgrade often, so are frequently left on legacy hardware. Cybercriminals target these older platforms. As Intel keeps developing, a long trail of old vulnerable hardware is left behind.
Long-Term Retention Lab
To address this problem, the company set up a warehouse and testing facility in Costa Rica. Here the company already run a research lab, and could now store its older technology for testing. Known as the Long-Term Retention Lab, it has been operational since 2019.
In a recent piece, the WSJ visited the lab and provided unknown details about its operations. There are over 3,000 pieces of hardware and software stretching back a decade. Intel is going to double the floor space to allow 6,000 pieces of equipment to be stored.
Engineers in a remote location can request the lab to configure a machine and make it accessible on the cloud. Open 24 hours a day, the lab is available to provide test machines to global engineers at all times.
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