The Cloud is For Ev­ery­one

In­tel wants its cus­tomers to in­stall cloud in less than a day. The job is ex­cit­ing but not easy

DQ Channels - - Channel pulse - IBRAHIM AH­MAD from Santa Clara, US (ibrahima@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in)

In­tel wants its cus­tomers to in­stall cloud in less than a day. The job is ex­cit­ing but not easy

Aim­ing to be in the thought lead­er­ship po­si­tion, In­tel, which never got tired with its ‘In­tel In­side’ cam­paign, now claims that cloud will dra­mat­i­cally ex­tend the reach of the dig­i­tal world. This is a very tempt­ing of­fer for most large, medium and small busi­nesses as they strug­gle to ex­pand reach and re­duce op­er­a­tion costs on one hand, and face un­known com­pe­ti­tion from most un­ex­pected places.

The chip maker which has for years dom­i­nated the com­put­ing pro­ces­sor space and is now ag­gres­sively po­si­tion­ing it­self as the cloud tech­nol­ogy com­pany, an­nounced a range of new tech­nolo­gies, and in­vest­ments and in­dus­try col­lab­o­ra­tions aimed at mak­ing it eas­ier to de­ploy ag­ile and scal­able clouds so busi­nesses can de­liver new ser­vices faster and drive re­vis enue growth. “The cloud is for ev­ery­one”, said Diane Bryant, se­nior VP and GM, at In­tel. Ever since the com­pany launched its ‘Cloud For All’ pro­gram last year, they are leav­ing no stone un­turned in their en­deavor to get 10 - 12 thou­sand clouds off the ground as soon as they can. In­tel’s stated goal is to help its cus­tomers to be able to set up a cloud in less than a day.

UN­LEASH­ING TENS OF THOU­SANDS OF NEW CLOUDS

That cloud in many places is giv­ing amaz­ing re­sults is ev­i­dent from what users have to say. John O’Connell, se­nior VP at pub­lish­ing and ed­u­ca­tional con­tent cre­ator com­pany Houghton Mif­flin Har­court (HMH), says that “the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor is in the midst of pro­found trans­for­ma­tion be­cause of tech­nol­ogy that

Lisa Spel­man at In­tel Cloud Day

bring­ing in higher in­no­va­tion, dy­namism, ac­ces­si­bil­ity and en­gage­ment, and hence newer op­por­tu­ni­ties. We are now able to up­date con­tent faster, and tai­lor con­tent to suite the stu­dents needs. And we can now pre­dict stu­dents out­comes, and take pre­ven­tive ac­tion”. HMH has de­ployed for stor­age and data pri­vacy.”And this mo­men­tum is only go­ing to go up”, adds O”Connell. That cloud is trans­form­ing how or­ga­ni­za­tions can han­dle and serve cus­tomers, is very clear from San­deep Rao too, the prin­ci­pal tech­nol­o­gist at NAS­DAQ. “With cloud and data cen­ters, we can move many more reg­u­lar ser­vices to the high pri­or­ity cat­e­gory, and that be­comes a big thing for fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pa­nies, their part­ners and cus­tomers”.

There seems to be no area where the cloud is not chang­ing the rules of the game. Dr Joe Grey, chair of the Bio­med­i­cal Engi­neer­ing Dept at the Ore­qon Health & Sci­ence Univer­sity be­lieves that the Col­lab­o­ra­tive Can­cer Cloud the univer­sity has set up to col­lab­o­rate with other in­sti­tutes on re­search and drug per­son­al­i­sa­tion, has been able to col­lect and an­a­lyse data from mil­lion of pa­tients, that has re­sulted in pre­ci­sion medicine and pa­tient care. Sim­i­larly, Quin­ton An­der­son from the Com­mon­wealth Bank of Aus­tralia feels that “the cloud al­lows the or­ga­ni­za­tion to ex­per­i­ment and learn with­out com­pro­mis­ing on sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity to de­liver sound fi­nan­cial so­lu­tions to our cus­tomers”. He adss that “th­ese two en­vi­ron­ments will have to co-ex­ist and can­not be sep­a­rate, for us to be in­no­va­tive and ahead of com­pe­ti­tion”. This bank has seen over 90% re­duc­tion in per unit opex, far bet­ter de­vel­oper ex­pe­ri­ence as she can de­liver in less than 3 hours com­pared to 2 weeks time taken ear­lier, and far lower op­er­a­tion com­plex­ity and risk.

That cloud be­comes truly suc­cess­ful is a big de­sire of in­vestors too. The in­dus­try has seen over USD 17.5 bn cloud re­lated VC fund­ing in the last 5 years. Rev­enue growth from sales of cloud and cloud soft­ware is likely to touch 28% now. And as open source be­comes very crit­i­cal, In­tel is push­ing its part­ners and cus­tomers hard to open up.

As part of its Cloud for All ini­tia­tive, In­tel is in­vest­ing in oth­ers in the in­dus­try to ac­cel­er­ate SDI-en­abled clouds, op­ti­miz­ing key tech­nolo­gies, and align­ing the in­dus­try to drive the de­vel­op­ment of stan­dards and easy-to-de­ploy cloud so­lu­tions. In­tel is col­lab­o­rat­ing with CoreOS and Mi­ran­tis to bring to­gether two of the most pop­u­lar open source tech­nolo­gies to or­ches­trate con­tainer and vir­tual ma­chinebased ap­pli­ca­tions. The merg­ing of th­ese two tech­nolo­gies into a sin­gle so­lu­tion will sim­plify choices for cloud op­er­a­tors to ac­cel­er­ate the adop­tion of cloud so­lu­tions.

Sup­port­ers of cloud in­sist that for in­cre­men­tal change or­ga­ni­za­tions can con­tinue to fol­low the tra­di­tional IT mod­els. But they also add that in­cre­men­tal change is not help­ing be­cause the new gen­er­a­tion com­pa­nies are bas­ing their busi­ness mod­els on very highly dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies like cloud. Daniel Zelem, CTO of John­son & John­son, says that “we took the bold de­ci­sion to move to cloud very early. They have hy­brid cloud and 85% of their IT in­fra is vir­tu­al­ized. The end re­sult is that their pro­vi­sion­ing time has gone down from 3 months to about an hour now; per­for­mance has gone up by 60%; and costs have gone down by more than 50%. Sim­i­larly, Jo­haan Carls­son, CTO at the UMEA Univer­sity, with 31K stu­dents in 8 cam­puses, have been to com­pletely trans­form their user ex­pe­ri­ence. For in­stance, their IT in­fra pro­vi­sion­ing, which took about 5 days from the time of re­quest to ac­tu­ally be­ing made avail­able, now hap­pens within 30 min­utes, thanks to a self ser­vice por­tals that he has been able to cre­ate. Their is lesser man­ual in­ter­ven­tion in many of th­ese things, and the ROI waas achieved within 12 months. “But most im­por­tantly, with the cloud I was able to make my staffs bor­ing job ex­cit­ing and in­ter­est­ing”, adds Carls­son.

ROSY BUT NOT EASY

While busi­nesses want flex­i­bil­ity and choice in cloud de­ploy­ment mod­els to sup­port in­no­va­tion while main­tain­ing con­trol of their most strate­gic as­sets, chal­lenges are many. De­spite a will­ing­ness to in­vest in mod­ern soft­ware-de­fined in­fras­truc­ture (SDI) , busi­nesses find the prospect of do­ing so them­selves to be com­plex and time-con­sum­ing. Or­ran Kreig­ger, found­ing di­rec­tor of the Cloud Com­put­ing Ini­tia­tive at the Bos­ton Univer­sity, says that “to­days clouds are owned, op­er­ated, and con­trolled by a sin­gle provider, and that lim­its re­search and in­no­va­tion, which was one of the key USPs of a cloud plat­form. Such clouds also have se­cu­rity is­sues, and be­cause of ven­dor lock-in costs start go­ing up”. While the dream is rosy, the road to the dream is not easy. Ex­perts like Alex Freed­land, co-founder of Mi­ran­tis, and Su­san Blocher, VP at HP En­ter­prises are giv­ing cloud a 5-10 year time frame be­fore it be­comes so pre­v­e­lant and per­va­sive that users will not even think or know about their IT in­fras­truc­ture.

In­tel is fir­ing on all its cylin­ders to ex­pand and sup­port the ecosys­tem, that will even­tu­ally help its pro­ces­sors sell more. IIn­tel and VMware an­nounced a net­work of Cen­ters of Ex­cel­lence aimed at ac­cel­er­at­ing cloud de­ploy­ments. The cen­ters will drive cus­tom op­ti­miza­tions, fa­cil­i­tate proof-of-con­cept test­ing and in­te­grate cy­ber­se­cu­rity best prac­tices.

The com­pany also an­nounced the Cloud Na­tive Com­put­ing Foun­da­tion (CNCF) the world’s largest cloud ap­pli­ca­tion test­ing clus­ter for ap­pli­ca­tions “born in the cloud.” The clus­ter will in­clude more than 1,000 In­tel Xeon pro­ces­sor-based server nodes de­signed to pro­vide devel­op­ers with the op­por­tu­nity to test ap­pli­ca­tions at larger scales and de­liver the ef­fi­ciency and porta­bil­ity of cloud na­tive ap­pli­ca­tions to busi­nesses.

To en­sure that the ecosys­tem builds rapidly, In­tel is ex­pand­ing its Cloud Builders pro­gram to in­clude SDI use cases and ac­cel­er­ate ecosys­tem op­ti­miza­tion ef­forts that al­low cus­tomers to take full ad­van­tage of in­fras­truc­ture as a ser­vice (IaaS) or­ches­tra­tion and au­toma­tion. The new Stor­age Builders pro­gram also aims to ac­cel­er­ate the in­dus­try’s use of cloud-ready, next-gen­er­a­tion stor­age so­lu­tions by fos­ter­ing greater in­no­va­tion by match­mak­ing be­tween in the cloud ecosys­tem. In­tel cur­rently has more than 340 mem­ber com­pa­nies across its cloud, stor­age and net­work “builders” pro­grams. Plus they have got 260 tech pa­pers pub­li­ca­tion to help build case stud­ies, best prac­tices and so­lu­tions. In­tel has re­cently at the Mo­bile World Congress also launched the Net­work Builders Univer­sity.

“Its go­ing to be tens of thou­sands of clouds, and not just 10-12 thou­sand clouds”, clar­i­fies Diane. The op­ti­mism does not seem to be very mis­placed.

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