Technology forecast: Intel steadfast on ‘cloud’ future

ISTC forms a new cloud computing research community that broadens Intel's "Cloud 2015" vision.

Hassaan Khan August 27, 2011

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet).

With a lot more myth than hype around it, the serious players in the market have already begun their cloud journey which today is relevant only if it’s quantified. For chip-maker Intel, cloud is both relevant and real, as the company has saved $17 million to date from their internal cloud efforts.

Intel’s journey to the private cloud began in 2006, with the successful deployment of a global computing grid to support mission-critical design processes. Today, it is building an office and enterprise cloud on a virtualised infrastructure. As a first step to creating this infrastructure, the company has accelerated the pace of server virtualisation with 42% of the environment virtualised by the end of 2010. The chip maker also claims to be on track to virtualise 75% of their environment over the next few years.

Given that Intel is just mid-way in its journey to the private cloud; both its savings and growth numbers appear significant. “The cloud segment is up 50% in the first half of 2011 versus first half of last year demonstrating how fast that business continues to ramp. We believe that we are very early in the cloud build-out and Intel remains extremely well-positioned to profitably grow from the explosion of mobile devices and Internet-based services,” Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini said during the company’s Q2 2011 earnings call.

Intel has achieved a number of business benefits with their private cloud, which include immediate provisioning, higher responsiveness, lower business costs, flexible configurations, and secured infrastructure. “The provisioning time has reduced from 90 days to three hours and now on the way to minutes.” Liam Keating, IT Director, Intel APAC said at the recently-concluded Intel cloud summit in Malaysia.

Furthermore, Intel Labs has announced two new Intel Science and Technology Centers (ISTC) hosted at Carnegie Mellon University focused on cloud and embedded computing research.

Aimed at shaping the future of cloud computing and how increasing numbers of everyday devices will add computing capabilities, Intel Labs announced the latest Intel Science and Technology Centers (ISTC) both headquartered at Carnegie Mellon University.

These centers embody the next $30 million installment of Intel's recently announced 5-year, $100 million ISTC program to increase university research and accelerate innovation in a handful of key areas.

"These new ISTCs are expected to open amazing possibilities," said Justin Rattner, Intel Chief Technology Officer. "Imagine, for example, future cars equipped with embedded sensors and microprocessors to constantly collect and analyze traffic and weather data. That information could be shared and analysed in the cloud so that drivers could be provided with suggestions for quicker and safer routes."

The ISTC forms a new cloud computing research community that broadens Intel's "Cloud 2015" vision with new ideas from top academic researchers, and includes research that extends and improves on Intel's existing cloud computing initiatives.