It’s been over a year since we started to talk about the Intel Cloud 2015 Vision to enable secure federation, automation of data centers and client-aware cloud services. We originally articulated the vision as a way to highlight the capabilities that we felt were needed for cloud computing, and to serve as a rallying cry that drove our technology development at Intel.
We introduced new virtualization, security, and management technologies in support of the cloud computing vision, it is not enough. It became clear that we would not see breakthroughs in security, efficiency, data analytics and device innovation without a concerted, forward-thinking research effort. Today, we announced a $15M multi-university research commitment, called the Intel Science and Technology Center (ISTC) for Cloud Computing. Combined with the recently announced $15M investment in the ISTC for Secure Computing, this will accelerate cloud computing innovation. I think it’s a great start, and I want to highlight a few of the outcomes I expect we’ll see.
My first anticipated outcome is a new type of “hybrid” cloud. When most people think of hybrid cloud, they generally refer to the combination of public and private clouds. What I refer to here is a cloud comprised of multiple, different types of computing devices where workloads run on the device, and it delivers the capability most efficiently. Conventional wisdom today is that a cloud should be as homogenous as possible. While that may be effective for simplicity and consistency of service, it does not necessarily produce the most cost or power efficient results. We deliver architectures for highly parallelized workloads, for high performance threads, for lightweight or IO bound workloads, amongst others. We need to develop the automation to bring this best architecture for the job approach to cloud computing. This is one of the focus areas for ISTC under the umbrella of “specialization” – the ability to enable highly specialized workload placement in a cloud environment.
Second, “exa-scale” clouds – Parallel analytics and distributed databases were born out of the requirement for dealing with large datasets in a cost effective manner. Most data centers that deal with Peta-byte sized data bases still involve programming challenges. This is even before we add the substantial growth of video and large scientific data sets that we anticipate over the next several years. To address the next order of magnitude in datasets, the ISTC plans to research new tools that would facilitate debugging of big data programs.
The third potential outcome is client-aware clouds. We’ve talked about the goal of a client-aware cloud that adapts to the proliferation and differing requirements of the 15 Billion connected devices we anticipate by 2015. The ISTC effort wants to take the effort to the next level by enabling greater real-time adaptation of the cloud for mobile computing requirements. Moreover, the centers will perform research on how to mitigate limited uplink bandwidths. The result is a cloud that is aware of the needs; location and context of a device, and can deliver the right computing and service to it.
I believe the research from the ISTC investment will benefit the collective industry. We know the problems and limitations of cloud that exist in the ability to automate diverse workloads, to manage large data and to adapt to devices across different networks. Since we will invest early and work with leading universities, I believe we take the right steps to deliver research that will provide the right breakthroughs to get us to Cloud 2020.