Intel has made it clear that one of its strategic priorities is to unleash tens of thousands of clouds that can be fired up in about hour. While it may still be a while before that actually occurs, Intel is pouring millions of dollars into a Clouds for All initiative to try and make that happen sooner than later.
Speaking at an OpenStack Silicon Valley event this week, Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group at Intel, noted that while the number of workloads running in public clouds is increasing exponentially, private cloud computing deployments by internal IT organizations has simply stalled. In fact, Bryant said a generous assessment would suggest that only about 10 percent of internal IT organizations have been able to stand up a private cloud in a production environment.
Bryant said impediments to the rolling out of private clouds include security, version control, integration complexity, need for schedulers that span virtual machines and containers, and the fact that management platforms such as OpenStack don’t scale up or out across a hybrid cloud computing environment.
To address all those issues Intel has been pouring money into various alliances; including moving earlier this week to invest $100 million in Mirantis, a provider of a distribution of OpenStack, and setting up an OpenStack Innovation Center with Rackspace that consists of thousands of nodes that can be used to test OpenStack technologies at scale.
The end goal, said Bryant, is to bring hyperscale-level IT efficiencies to the masses by eliminating all the limiters to deploying a cloud environment. For Intel that’s critical because clouds are a deployment model that make the most use of multicore processors in servers. As those multicore processors continue to evolve, Intel will make use of different types of cores on the same processor to optimize the performance of specific types of workloads running in the clouds. For example, applications may run on top of a traditional Xeon processor core, while the algorithms attached to OpenStack or Kubernetes management frameworks are optimized within a field programmable gate array.
For solution providers the key message emanating from Intel is one of patience. Intel clearly has a vested interest in making sure that that primary distribution point for its server technologies does not wind up being a narrow band of hyperscale service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). The challenge is that in the absence of hundreds of thousands of engineers to throw at standing up and then maintaining private clouds running inside thousands of data centers, it will still be a while before the Intel Clouds for All initiative bears fruit in terms of making private cloud computing as simple as it needs to be for solution providers and their customers to actually succeed.