The 5 things I learned at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF)

1. OSPC for OpenStack

We demonstrated OpenStack with Intel ® TXT and Node Manager integration along with an Intel IT developed user interface and portal. We ultimately offer the user interface and portal to the OpenStack Dashboard project.

The momentum behind OpenStack is growing with more and more contributors and end customer interest. The commercial cloud operating environments continue to increase in capability as VMware demonstrated 2 weeks ago at VMworld (very impressive). The open source communities continue to grow their capabilities as well, not just in Xen and KVM, but also in cloud operating environments such as OpenStack. We look forward to working with the community to significantly extend and mature the OpenStack capabilities.

In the context of the larger Intel Developer Forum, Matt Weinberger from Talking Cloud captured it quite well in his blog on IDF and Cloud Computing on Thursday by noting that much of the focus at IDF was on consumer innovations (some of which are really cool) with little attention being paid to the cloud. In my meetings with customers and partners, it is clear, however, that our efforts in advancing the state of the art in cloud are not going unnoticed, regardless of the broader marketing message.

This is my second OpenStack related activity in a bit over a week. Last week I was in China helping kickoff the China OpenStack User Group where over 350 people attended the conference. It is really exciting to see so much energy being applied from such a diverse audience.

2. Memcached performance optimizations

In Justin’s keynote (where I had the pleasure of a short walk-on part <grin>), we demonstrated an optimized version of memcached delivering ~800k reads/sec compared to the previous published rate of ~560k reads/sec. Latency also decreased from ~1ms to ~450us. While the transaction rate increased significantly, the power per transaction is also improved.

One of the tricks in this optimization was to stay “real world”. It is easy to get really big numbers if you create a lot of independent instances of memcached on a single server. For real world applications, this is not an optimal solution, as it means that application would need to be modified to direct requests to many memcached services rather than just one.   Our optimization maintains a clear focus on performance, but for real-world applications.

From where I sit, this is further evidence that the cloud will drive innovation not just in new areas such as Hadoop and memcached, but also in optimizations that will improve our everyday experience using the cloud.

3. Solution Provider Innovation

I had a number of meetings with Solution Providers this week. There is clearly a transition happening from ‘hw focused’ to a broader base of consulting including things like connecting their customers to service providers. Any transition is challenging especially when it touches the basic business model. In this case, we are also seeing examples of innovation where these solution providers are being proactive in helping their customers effectively and materially use the cloud.

For example, I pleased and somewhat surprised to hear that some of the solution providers are pro-actively refactoring some of their applications so that they can be more cleanly deployed in a cloud (private and public). They are eager to take advantage of the benefits this compute/storage model offers.

However, it is also clear that the impact of the move to more of a ‘devops’ model is still very early and not well understood.

4. Keynote == beret

We all learned from Justin that if you want to do a keynote at IDF, you need a beret. I recon my cowboy hat will just have to do.

5. Solar power CPU’s

The era of solar power computing may be upon us. With the use of Near Threshold Voltage designs, we can get the power level so low, you only need a solar cell. Ok, maybe it was only a technology demonstration but it works for me!