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!

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercialization of quantum. This week, Microsoft took the next step in advanci Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ESnet Now Moving More Than 1 Petabyte/wk

December 12, 2017

Optimizing ESnet (Energy Sciences Network), the world's fastest network for science, is an ongoing process. Recently a two-year collaboration by ESnet users – the Petascale DTN Project – achieved its ambitious goal t Read more…

HPC-as-a-Service Finds Toehold in Iceland

December 11, 2017

While high-demand workloads (e.g., bitcoin mining) can overheat data center cooling capabilities, at least one data center infrastructure provider has announced an HPC-as-a-service offering that features 100 percent fre Read more…

By Doug Black

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Explore the Origins of Space with COSMOS and Memory-Driven Computing

From the formation of black holes to the origins of space, data is the key to unlocking the secrets of the early universe. Read more…

HPC Iron, Soft, Data, People – It Takes an Ecosystem!

December 11, 2017

Cutting edge advanced computing hardware (aka big iron) does not stand by itself. These computers are the pinnacle of a myriad of technologies that must be carefully woven together by people to create the computational c Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercialization of Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Iron, Soft, Data, People – It Takes an Ecosystem!

December 11, 2017

Cutting edge advanced computing hardware (aka big iron) does not stand by itself. These computers are the pinnacle of a myriad of technologies that must be care Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft Spins Cycle Computing into Core Azure Product

December 5, 2017

Last August, cloud giant Microsoft acquired HPC cloud orchestration pioneer Cycle Computing. Since then the focus has been on integrating Cycle’s organization Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE In-Memory Platform Comes to COSMOS

November 30, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is on a mission to accelerate space research. In August, it sent the first commercial-off-the-shelf HPC system into space for testing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC17 Cluster Competition: Who Won and Why? Results Analyzed and Over-Analyzed

November 28, 2017

Everyone by now knows that Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (NTU) took home the highest LINPACK Award and the Overall Championship from the recently concluded SC17 Student Cluster Competition. We also already know how the teams did in the Highest LINPACK and Highest HPCG competitions, with Nanyang grabbing bragging rights for both benchmarks. Read more…

By Dan Olds

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

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

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Tensors Come of Age: Why the AI Revolution Will Help HPC

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago, parallel computing was coming of age. A bitter battle began between stalwart vector computing supporters and advocates of various approaches to parallel computing. IBM skeptic Alan Karp, reacting to announcements of nCUBE’s 1024-microprocessor system and Thinking Machines’ 65,536-element array, made a public $100 wager that no one could get a parallel speedup of over 200 on real HPC workloads. Read more…

By John Gustafson & Lenore Mullin

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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