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I wrote last week about the brewing battle among chipmakers to win cloud-provider and web-company dollars, but this week reminds me that when it comes to cloud computing, the same battle is going on within corporate data centers. Despite the fact that most internal-cloud vendors sell software, chip- and server-makers are trying their damnedest to market themselves as essential building blocks for the cloud deployments (currently, this pitch is strongest by Intel, and the myriad vendors, like Fujitsu, releasing servers based on Intel’s new Xeon processors). It’s still about commodity, but it’s also about cloud-customization. So, I ask, is special hardware becoming as critical to optimal cloud efforts as is the right software?