Cloud for All: Accelerating the Drive to Hybrid Clouds

When we began 2016, the Intel® Cloud for All initiative was about six months old and just taking flight toward the lofty goal of unleashing tens of thousands of new clouds. A year later, we can look back on 18 months of solid progress in the effort to close enterprise feature gaps in OpenStack, simplify private cloud deployment, and accelerate time to market for new, private, and hybrid cloud solutions.

I’m proud of all that our team and our partners have accomplished. Together, we’ve made tremendous progress. Let’s look at a handful of the notable accomplishments achieved by the broad ecosystem that is driving the Cloud for All initiative forward.

What a Difference a Year Makes

Together with Rackspace, Intel formed the OpenStack Innovation Center (OSIC) last year. The OSIC brings together teams of engineers to accelerate the evolution of the OpenStack platform and help ensure it is ready for enterprise workloads of tomorrow. Today, the OSIC hosts the world’s largest OpenStack developer cloud, composed of 1,000 nodes. More than 220 OSIC cluster users have engaged in more than 60 projects, with resulting contributions to 25 OpenStack projects, including more than 115 completed blueprints and more than 28,000 patch sets submitted. In addition, the OSIC has delivered more than 11,000 hours of training to over 200 individuals. From the beginning, increasing the number of upstream contributions to OpenStack has been a priority for the OSIC. This work helps ensure OpenStack’s long-term vitality among enterprises around the world.

We have also expanded the Intel Cloud for All initiative to encompass multiple high-impact programs. These include the Intel® Cloud Builders program and the related Intel® Cloud Builders Innovation Fund, which has accelerated more than 20 software-defined infrastructure (SDI) reference architectures and hundreds of proof-of-concept trials. All the while, we roughly doubled the membership of the Intel Cloud Builders program, which brings together hardware and software solution providers to accelerate the progress of cloud, storage, and network solutions.

Participants in the Intel Cloud Builders ecosystem and OSIC have closed many major feature gaps in the OpenStack platform, including needs related to high availability, services, rolling upgrades and deployment. For example, we have eliminated six out of nine known VM Live Migration limitations, doubled the number of core OpenStack services supporting rolling upgrades, and reduced deployment time from 26 hours to just six hours. This list could go on and on.

Another exciting extension of the Intel Cloud Builders program was the launch of the Intel® Cloud Builders University. This program offers training on the latest technologies, practices and strategies for implementing or improving cloud infrastructure deployments based on SDI. And, best of all, the educational content is freely available with registration on the Intel Builders University site.

Intel and VMware announced a network of Centers of Excellence aimed at accelerating cloud deployments. The centers drive custom optimizations, facilitate proof-of-concept testing and integrate cybersecurity best practices in collaboration with The National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Intel worked closely with Microsoft to optimize the Windows Server 2016 operating system to take full advantage of the latest Intel capabilities that enable higher performance, tighter security, and enhanced management. Throughout development, Intel engineers worked closely with their counterparts at Microsoft on configurations designed to help customers and partners accelerate the delivery of market-ready SDI solutions. Launched at Microsoft Ignite last September, Windows Server 2016 is Microsoft’s most cloud-ready server operating system and management solution to date.

In August, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) announced the public availability of a 1,000-node community cluster, funded and operated by Intel. This cluster, which opened to a great community response, will empower the work of the CNCF facilitating scale testing of open source contributions. The CNCF cluster will allows the industry to test code and provide guidance, operational patterns, standards, and, eventually, APIs to enable the interoperability and optimization of container-based SDI stacks. With cloud native applications, you can package an application component once and reuse it across public and private clouds in a hybrid environment.

Last but not least, we launched the 1.0 version of Snap, our open telemetry platform that allows cloud administrators to easily collect, process, and publish telemetry data at scale. The Snap framework enables better data center scheduling and workload management by giving system administrators access to underlying telemetry data and platform metrics.

Cloud Technology: This Is Only the Beginning

All of this work is advancing the cause of unleashing new cloud solutions. To that end, we’ve seen a substantial increase in adoption of cloud solutions over the past year, among organizations big and small. To name just a few, BMW Group, Volkswagen Group, and Tata Communications all deployed OpenStack clouds based on Intel® architecture.

Building on this foundation, we are now putting greater focus on ensuring that our customers have choice in cloud providers with easy to deploy on premises and hybrid functionality. For example, we are focusing on container development and improving orchestration services like Kubernetes to enable workload portability, making it easier for organizations to move workloads across public or hybrid cloud environments. With efforts like these, the goal is to make it easy for organizations to write code once and then place the workloads where they best fit.

Ready to get started? If your organization needs to update your IT infrastructure to keep pace with the digital economy, now is the time to investigate a hybrid cloud strategy. You can find many resources on the Intel Cloud Builders site, including reference architectures, white papers, solutions blueprints, and solution briefs.