Last week at Intel’s Day in the Cloud event in Portland, Oregon, I had an opportunity to get an overview of Intel’s Cloud Strategy, and discuss the Cloud industry with members of Intel’s team and several of Intel’s ecosystem partners such as Cisco, EMC, and VMWare. That part of the ecosystem was to be expected given their Cloud computing alliance and Acadia joint venture via Virtual Computing Environment (VCE), a new company formed to pursue the Cloud computing market.
“The Acadia joint venture was between Cisco and EMC with VMware and Intel as minority investors. VCE will now do all product development, integration, pre-sales and support. It will move Acadia’s pre-configured Vblock Infrastructure Platforms, concocted out of Cisco’s Intel-based servers and networking, EMC’s storage and security and VMware virtualization, through the 120 resellers the coalition has reportedly assembled and apparently through the Cisco, EMC and VMware sales machines.” – Maureen O’Gara
The event began with dinner at the Nines during which I met Billy Cox, Director, Server Software Management Strategy (get well soon Billy), Lakshmi Talluru, Director of Engineering at Intel, and Dylan Larson, Director, Platform Technology Initiatives, Server Platform Group. As can be expected, everyone on the Intel team stayed on message.
The following morning, Raejeanne Skillern, Intel’s Director of Cloud Marketing introduced Jason Waxman, General Manager, High Density Servers at Intel, to kick off the meeting, and he got right to the point.
Intel expects a 4X growth in devices to 15 billion, an 8X capabilities increase in network unified fabrics, and cost-effective network scaling, a 16X increase in storage both direct attach and cluster storage, and 20X increase in server capabilities between now and 2015, resulting in a 20% CAGR in infrastructure.
That being said, Mr. Waxman conceded that the state of Cloud computing industry is still in the process of maturing. More specifically, he stated, “I do think that we have a little bit of wild Wild West going on here [in the Cloud computing industry]”. I’m sure it’s a sentiment that many an industry insider can relate to.
Mr. Larson then proceeded to outline the challenges facing enterprises – reducing operational costs, delivering on business objectives, power and cooling costs, aging infrastructure, storage demand, security, regulatory compliance, privacy, efficiency, agility, scalability, availability – the list was long enough to make a CIO want to throw in the towel.
To address some of those challenges, Billy Cox, Intel’s Director of Server Software Management Strategy provided some background on Intel’s Virtualization Technology, and Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) for Compliance, Security and more secure VMM, and trusted VM migration. Intel’s TXT technology is intended to make client devices – “Cloud aware” – allowing services to be customized according to the client device capabilities. TXT is currently found in Intel’s Xeon 5600 you can expect to see it in other Westmere processors. While there are others better suited at discussing the merits of these technologies, one gets the sense that Intel is taking the shift to Cloud computing seriously, not just having its employees add “cloud” to their job titles.
From a 50,000 foot level Intel’s Cloud computing strategy is simple:
–Listen to customers – Deliver Technologies – Develop the ecosystem–
Part of the Intel strategy is to act as a catalyst for the industry by supporting the Open Data Center Alliance efforts to create a federated Cloud and attempt to create common Cloud computing standards. Currently the alliance claims over 100 members and has grown 30% year over year.
The Intel team thinks they can address about 75% of a typical Internet data center’s TCO through silicon and technology optimization, and software enablement – using Intel technologies, companies such as Baidu, Facebook, Domino Sugar and Terremark, currently being acquired by Verizon, have all achieved substantial savings in power while increasing performance.
Another important component of Intel’s Cloud Strategy is its Cloud Builder program, managed by Rekha Raghu, Strategic Initiatives Manager. The program currently contains 25 reference architectures to address a number of Cloud computing use cases, which are expected to grow as new use cases are identified by partners and customers. According to Mr. Cox, Intel is working with Adaptivity to synthesize the number of reference architectures to maintain a manageable number of reference architectures.
With the morning sessions concluded, we departed for lunch. The lunchtime discussion on Private vs. Public Clouds led by Raejeanne Skillern, Director Cloud Computing Marketing was one of my personal favorites.
I enjoyed the intellectual jousting with John Zanni, VP Service Provider Marketing and Alliances at Parallels, Brian Forbes, Senior Director Global Alliance Marketing at VMWare, and Michael Joffe, Senior Product Manager, Windows Server, Microsoft. Though it was much too brief for such a topic.
The afternoon lab visit and sessions offered an opportunity to meet with Hemma Prafullchandra, Chief Technology Officer at HyTrust. Hytrust, led by CEO Eric Chiu, focuses on compliance and control for virtual infrastructures, and recently received a $10.5M B series infusion from Cisco and other investors.
Also met briefly with Leo Leung, Senior Manager, Strategy and Product Marketing at EMC2 who was working with Peter Chang, Founder and CEO of Oxygen Cloud, and Alex Teu, VP Business Development at Oxygen Cloud, a Cloud storage broker, leveraging EMC’s Atmos solution.
So there you have it, a Day in the Cloud with Intel, their Cloud computing strategy, Cloud Builder program, ecosystem partners, and Open Data Center Alliance.
Full disclosure: The opinions expressed here are my own. I do not own any stock in Intel or any other company mentioned. Housing and transportation for the event were provided by Intel. I am a member of the Ulitzer Blog Network serving as Founder and Editor of several Journals, and am not an employee of Ulitzer or SYS-CON.