Benefits of Interoperability in Cloud Computing Architecture

This past June, I spoke at the Structure 2010 conference and suggested that if the industry worked collaboratively to improve security, efficiency and interoperability for cloud computing that it would be good for the user and vendor community alike.

Today, Intel announced a series of efforts that I believe represent substantial promise toward that goal. Aside from offering up a vision called Cloud 2015 that will guide our efforts, we committed to facilitate both the data center customer voice and the industry vendor delivery through the Open Data Center Alliance and the Cloud Builders program respectively. Across these efforts, there is a common theme that openness and interoperability are fundamental.

Intuitively, this is of benefit to end users because interoperability leads to greater choice of solutions and efficiency in integration. Given that over half of the $100B+ spent annually in x86 datacenter infrastructure goes into areas such as help desk, deployment and integration, consulting and infrastructure software, it’s no wonder data center customers were interested in forming the Open Data Center Alliance. 

But what about the vendors; is interoperability good for them? I think it is. Proprietary solutions may deliver benefits through vertical integration and as a result provide innovation or a time-to-market that might not otherwise be possible. However, there are numerous examples of how interoperability has facilitated industry growth and innovation. Moreover, fear of lock-in and lack of interoperability can risk keeping customers on the sidelines. As an example, IDC forecasted that the size of the cloud services opportunity could be as large as $55B by 2015 from just $16B in 2009. If you assumed half the growth rate that IDC forecasted was impacted, that would come to roughly $80B across the next 5 years by my estimates. 

This is why we implemented the Cloud Builders program. By making it easier to deploy cloud infrastructure and providing detailed reference architectures that address customer needs, we hope to facilitate and accelerate the growth of the industry. We’re not the only ones who’ve made substantial efforts to advocate interoperability and open solutions. Open Cloud and Deltacloud amongst other efforts also serve as vendor initiated projects to support interoperability and hopefully service the data center customer and grow the industry opportunity.

I believe today’s announcements around the Cloud 2015 Vision, the Open Data Center Alliance and the Cloud Builders program are about creating a win-win-win across the users, the solution providers and service providers. I hope that you feel the same way, but as always, all opinions welcomed.

Published on Categories Cloud ComputingTags ,
Jason Waxman

About Jason Waxman

Jason is corporate vice president of the Data Center Group and general manager of the Data Center Solutions Group at Intel Corporation. He manages Intel’s business, products and technologies for cloud service providers, a rapidly growing data center business segment. Waxman oversees the company’s technology development for cloud computing, including silicon components, optimized system design, data center management, security and facility optimization.