ICApp: Intel IT’s Private Cloud Platform as a Service Architecture


When we composed Intel IT’s original strategic plan for using the Cloud Computing more than six years ago, we adopted a strategy of “Growing the Cloud from the Inside Out.” This means that Intel IT would develop an internal private cloud for many applications and eventually move more and more work out to public clouds. conceptual.jpgA recent Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) survey shows that deploying applications to a private cloud is a top priority for many organizations – much higher than deploying to public clouds.  Since that is an enterprise priority, what should a private cloud look like?  In a paper published by the ODCA, Intel’s Cathy Spence gives unveils ICApp, Intel IT’s private cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) and details the architecture that is made available to internal Intel application developers.

ICApp is built on top of a PaaS framework that is in turn based on a Software Defined Infrastructure.   It is built on two open source projects:  Cloud Foundry (CloudFoundry.org) and Iron Foundry (IronFoundry.org).    The former is built for Linux and the latter is an extension for Windows, which allows a single platform to support multiple development languages.  Users can interact with ICApp through a web site, a Command Line Interface (CLI), or through a RESTful API. The architecture is show in Figure 3 of the paper.

technical.jpgICApp is now deployed inside of Intel, and number of applications have been built on top of it. These applications include a supplier rating system, a self-service application monitor, and a development repository.  As one of the authors of the original strategy/white paper I find it very gratifying that the plan we originated is still being followed for the most part.  Also, since I worked on PlanetLab, an influential predecessor to today’s Cloud, I find that ICapp’s deployment platform web interface looks like one of PlanetLab’s application deployment tools.  You can see that interface in the white paper, which I encourage people to look at for more detail.