Intel Lays Groundwork to Fulfill 2015 Cloud Vision

By Nicole Hemsoth

October 29, 2010

According to IDC forecasts, “by 2015, over 2.5 billion people with more than 10 billion devices will access the Internet,” which means that capacity will be stretched to over twice what it is now. Already, datacenters are experiencing the effects of increased demand, and build-outs of existing datacenters, due to cost and efficiency pressures, are forced to learn quickly how they can somehow manage to become far more efficient while still offering peak performance.

What is needed is an overhaul of current theories about efficient datacenter operation so that flexibility and cloud architectures are given sufficient weight. These are all issues that Intel addressed recently via a string of announcements that were geared toward creating a more open, accessible, flexible and efficient cloud.

This week Intel announced its Cloud 2015 Vision, which sets forth its mission to create a “federated, automated and client-aware” environment that adheres to its three pillars of cloud, including efficiency, simplification and security as well as its goals to “create solutions that are open, multi-vendor and interoperable.” By packaging a small bundle of rhetoric-driven announcements into a hard-to-disagree-with bundle of topics that challenge cloud adoption, Intel took some steps toward making itself heard in the “cloudosphere” on some of the major issues that vendors in niche cloud spaces have often discussed at length.

Key Challenges for the Next Five Years

Intel’s goals over the next five years are based on some inherent challenges that are holding the paradigm shift of cloud at bay. These include:

• Maintaining the stability of mission-critical applications during the cloud migration process.

• Finding ways to negotiate issues related to privacy, security and the protection of intellectual property.

• The automation and flexibility of resources will still be evolving as cloud tools continue to evolve.

• Finding solutions that will meet goals of interoperability and maintain flexibility.

• Making sure that cloud-based applications enable user productivity, no matter what device is being used.

In order to address these challenges, the company has named three pillars in its strategy for the years to come. These elements are defined by the words “federated, automated and client-aware.”

The Federation and the Fleet

In Intel’s view, the concept of a federated cloud refers to an equally vague notion that “communications, data and services can move easily across cloud infrastructures.” In non-marketing speak, that means that interoperability is the prime directive for the federation since datacenters have had difficulty moving data and services across their own borders.

 Intel is calling for “a level of federation that enables the movement of workloads and data from one service provider to another burst implementations between internal private cloud and public cloud providers if additional capacity is needed; and secure and reliable data flow across vendors, partners and clients.” Sounds like a tall order, but if Intel is backing it and they’ve got five years to do something about it, we can hold out hope that this federation goals will go beyond rhetoric.

Today Intel, along with 70 other vendors announced the creation of a coalition to form a system of open standards for the cloud called the Open Data Center Alliance. This fits in with the 2015 vision and according to reports, will represent over $50 billion in annual IT investment. Since Intel’s products are driving the vast majority of the servers operating in the cloud now, they will not be members who have a vote, but instead will serve as technical consultants.

According to Intel’s representative for the Open Data Center Alliance, Billy Cox, the coalition “is a way to create and unify the voice of cloud consumers and cloud users, using usage models as a way to specify requirements. We’ve never seen this approach before.”

Automatic for the People

Automation is another keystone in the three pillars that Intel sees as upholding its Cloud Vision for 2015, which means that provisioning is no longer a crisis situation and is instead handled automatically. Ever since IDC released its 2009 Data Center Survey report suggesting that virtualization thus far has not reduced complexity and that in fact, “the number of server instances that can be managed by the average system administrator has increased from 27 to 41, comparing non-virtualized servers to virtualized servers” we can see how Intel might see this is an issue worth tackling.

Without effective datacenter automation, the benefits of cloud, particularly from a cost standpoint are diminished and furthermore, adding this layer of complexity into an IT organization doesn’t make the cloud a very attractive option. Intel sees it as of critical importance to address issues of automation of provisioning, resource monitoring, reporting for consumption for bill back and workload balancing. Again, a tall order, but one that is being worked out at various other cloud management-focused companies.

Client Awareness and the Lowest Common Denominator

One of the greatest challenges on the horizon for the cloud ecosystem will be the vast number and array of devices. As Intel states, “today there are certain frameworks that allow for some level of datacenter intelligence and scaling to support the client being served; but they are neither consistently applied nor ubiquitous. Many of today’s Internet services default to the lowest common denominator even if the user is accessing the service with a more capable device such as a PC.”

As the amount of data being generated continues to increase and the range of devices continues to expand, Intel suggests that the only solution is for datacenter and service providers to enable secure access and optimized experience regardless of device, for “the cloud to sense and dynamically adjust to take advantage of attributes and capabilities of the client device,” including everything from the battery and connectivity to policies.

How many times have I used the phrase “tall order” and would it violate the rules of writing or be redundant if I said it again? Do I really need to at this point?

Moving Beyond Rhetoric

There are many key words in Intel’s mission statement for its cloud vision that is set to be realized by 2015 and while these are lofty goals — creating an interoperable and open cloud that focuses on efficiency and security — these are the same words echoed by any other number of cloud vendors in the space right now. However, coming close to creating interoperable solutions that provide an easy framework for users is much more complex than it sounds, and it will certainly be 2015 before major progress on the interoperability front (and not just due to Intel) will be made.

Intel thinks of cloud computing as less of a revolution and more as a paradigm shift in IT delivery. As the company noted in its explanation of its vision, the cloud “offers the potential for a transformation in the design, development and deployment of next-generation technologies,” which will “enable flexible, pay-as-you-go business models that will alter the future of computing from mobile platforms and devices to the datacenter.”

Interestingly, during this exact same week, Microsoft launched a full-blown effort to address many of these same issues, particularly as they relate to cross-device efforts to improve IT delivery. Through its “client-plus-cloud” initiative, the company is also seeking to address the many platforms and devices through which clients access and use resources, be those HPC or vanilla machines. Lately, in fact, there has been increasing momentum around the issues presented by mobile applications and their role, not only for mainstream use, but for HPC as well.

Many researchers are finding value in mobile access to their scientific applications and with the cloud, their data can be uploaded instantly to a remote source. This could mean new breakthroughs in research but the cloud and mobile technologies need to be able to work together seamlessly — a fact that both Intel and Microsoft (as well as the majority of other major vendors in the cloud space) are recognizing and addressing.

The Cloud Builders

In addition to its role in the Open Data Center Alliance, Intel also has pledged its commitment to its Cloud Builders program, which allows a number of vendor partners, including IBM, Microsoft and VMware, among others, to provide the solutions that are required according to the needs expressed by the alliance.

“Cloud Builders providers the industry a central point for cloud innovation based on the IT requirements defined by the Open Data Center Alliance and other IT end users.” The program also aims to publish “detailed reference architectures, success stories, and best practices that customer can use now to deploy and enhance the cloud.”

Intel is taking steps toward creating a healthier cloud ecosystem, but true revolutionizing, especially on the interoperability front, is going to take one heck of a lot more than simply having detailed conversations about it. While it’s too early to begin speculating on how the challenges preventing seamless interoperability standards will actually pan out, seeing how the rhetoric spills over to the real world will be interesting to watch.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

TACC Helps ROSIE Bioscience Gateway Expand its Impact

April 26, 2017

Biomolecule structure prediction has long been challenging not least because the relevant software and workflows often require high end HPC systems that many bioscience researchers lack easy access to. Read more…

By John Russell

Messina Update: The U.S. Path to Exascale in 16 Slides

April 26, 2017

Paul Messina, director of the U.S. Exascale Computing Project, provided a wide-ranging review of ECP’s evolving plans last week at the HPC User Forum. Read more…

By John Russell

IBM, Nvidia, Stone Ridge Claim Gas & Oil Simulation Record

April 25, 2017

IBM, Nvidia, and Stone Ridge Technology today reported setting the performance record for a “billion cell” oil and gas reservoir simulation. Read more…

By John Russell

ASC17 Makes Splash at Wuxi Supercomputing Center

April 24, 2017

A record-breaking twenty student teams plus scores of company representatives, media professionals, staff and student volunteers transformed a formerly empty hall inside the Wuxi Supercomputing Center into a bustling hub of HPC activity, kicking off day one of 2017 Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC17). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Remote Visualization Optimizing Life Sciences Operations and Care Delivery

As patients continually demand a better quality of care and increasingly complex workloads challenge healthcare organizations to innovate, investing in the right technologies is key to ensuring growth and success. Read more…

Groq This: New AI Chips to Give GPUs a Run for Deep Learning Money

April 24, 2017

CPUs and GPUs, move over. Thanks to recent revelations surrounding Google’s new Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), the computing world appears to be on the cusp of a new generation of chips designed specifically for deep learning workloads. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Musk’s Latest Startup Eyes Brain-Computer Links

April 21, 2017

Elon Musk, the auto and space entrepreneur and severe critic of artificial intelligence, is forming a new venture that reportedly will seek to develop an interface between the human brain and computers. Read more…

By George Leopold

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Engine (GCE) job. Sutherland ran the massive mathematics workload on 220,000 GCE cores using preemptible virtual machine instances. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Cori Shows the World How Many-Cores for the Masses Works

April 21, 2017

As its mission, the high performance computing center for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, NERSC (the National Energy Research Supercomputer Center), supports a broad spectrum of forefront scientific research across diverse areas that includes climate, material science, chemistry, fusion energy, high-energy physics and many others. Read more…

By Rob Farber

Messina Update: The U.S. Path to Exascale in 16 Slides

April 26, 2017

Paul Messina, director of the U.S. Exascale Computing Project, provided a wide-ranging review of ECP’s evolving plans last week at the HPC User Forum. Read more…

By John Russell

ASC17 Makes Splash at Wuxi Supercomputing Center

April 24, 2017

A record-breaking twenty student teams plus scores of company representatives, media professionals, staff and student volunteers transformed a formerly empty hall inside the Wuxi Supercomputing Center into a bustling hub of HPC activity, kicking off day one of 2017 Asia Student Supercomputer Challenge (ASC17). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Groq This: New AI Chips to Give GPUs a Run for Deep Learning Money

April 24, 2017

CPUs and GPUs, move over. Thanks to recent revelations surrounding Google’s new Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), the computing world appears to be on the cusp of a new generation of chips designed specifically for deep learning workloads. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

NERSC Cori Shows the World How Many-Cores for the Masses Works

April 21, 2017

As its mission, the high performance computing center for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, NERSC (the National Energy Research Supercomputer Center), supports a broad spectrum of forefront scientific research across diverse areas that includes climate, material science, chemistry, fusion energy, high-energy physics and many others. Read more…

By Rob Farber

Hyperion (IDC) Paints a Bullish Picture of HPC Future

April 20, 2017

Hyperion Research – formerly IDC’s HPC group – yesterday painted a fascinating and complicated portrait of the HPC community’s health and prospects at the HPC User Forum held in Albuquerque, NM. HPC sales are up and growing ($22 billion, all HPC segments, 2016). Read more…

By John Russell

Knights Landing Processor with Omni-Path Makes Cloud Debut

April 18, 2017

HPC cloud specialist Rescale is partnering with Intel and HPC resource provider R Systems to offer first-ever cloud access to Xeon Phi "Knights Landing" processors. The infrastructure is based on the 68-core Intel Knights Landing processor with integrated Omni-Path fabric (the 7250F Xeon Phi). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CERN openlab Explores New CPU/FPGA Processing Solutions

April 14, 2017

Through a CERN openlab project known as the ‘High-Throughput Computing Collaboration,’ researchers are investigating the use of various Intel technologies in data filtering and data acquisition systems. Read more…

By Linda Barney

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of “quantum supremacy,” researchers are stretching the limits of today’s most advanced supercomputers. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference phase of neural networks (NN). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the campaign. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its assets. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

In this contributed perspective piece, Intel’s Jim Jeffers makes the case that CPU-based visualization is now widely adopted and as such is no longer a contrarian view, but is rather an exascale requirement. Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling was pretty much the exclusive realm of the Cray-2 and IBM mainframe class products. That’s changing. We are now seeing an emergence of x86 class server products with exotic plumbing technology ranging from Direct-to-Chip to servers and storage completely immersed in a dielectric fluid. Read more…

By Steve Campbell

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular offerings such as Caffe, Theano, and Torch. Read more…

By John Russell

BioTeam’s Berman Charts 2017 HPC Trends in Life Sciences

January 4, 2017

Twenty years ago high performance computing was nearly absent from life sciences. Today it’s used throughout life sciences and biomedical research. Genomics and the data deluge from modern lab instruments are the main drivers, but so is the longer-term desire to perform predictive simulation in support of Precision Medicine (PM). There’s even a specialized life sciences supercomputer, ‘Anton’ from D.E. Shaw Research, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is standing up its second Anton 2 and actively soliciting project proposals. There’s a lot going on. Read more…

By John Russell

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is the successor to Caffe, the deep learning framework developed by Berkeley AI Research and community contributors. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Startup Advances Auto-Parallelization’s Promise

January 23, 2017

The shift from single core to multicore hardware has made finding parallelism in codes more important than ever, but that hasn’t made the task of parallel programming any easier. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural network training and now they are sharing their implementation with the larger deep learning community. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDG to Be Bought by Chinese Investors; IDC to Spin Out HPC Group

January 19, 2017

US-based publishing and investment firm International Data Group, Inc. (IDG) will be acquired by a pair of Chinese investors, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This