William Stanley Jevons (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
In an effort to accelerate cloud adoption in the marketplace, Intel Corporation and Rackspace Hosting announced an aggressive campaign to accelerate cloud adoption. They cite Jevons paradox (normally used in energy consumption) which states, in effect, that when technology advances so do efficiency and efficacy, and user demand increases. Under this assumption, Intel has announced ‘Cloud for All’. This initiative, in conjunction with Rackspace, is designed to accelerate cloud adoption by making it easier to deploy public, private, and hybrid cloud solutions. This is the first of at least fifteen associated announcements by Intel over the next year.
Over the next 5 years, we anticipate over 80% of businesses will have at least 60% of their internal applications supported in the cloud. Intel believes the technology industry is not moving fast enough to support this growth. This is in large part due to:
- Fragmented solutions combined with a number of choices and configuration options that create complexity when integrating software components into a single stack
- Complexity in deploying integrated workloads and solutions that lack scalability
- Gaps in features and functionality for enterprise-grade deployments, and lack of coherent container strategy
Intel believes it can help drive the next wave of cloud deployments by investing in 3 primary areas.
- Investment: Intel has made a significant investment, although they have not disclosed the amount, in an ecosystem that will help deploy software-defined infrastructure solutions. While Intel has been elusive about their investment dollars, we can be assured they will backstop it with investment in their channel through partner onboarding which includes Market Development Funds (MDF) to support activities with existing partners and additional partnerships with Systems Integrators, Brokers, and Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). In addition, we anticipate Intel will make multiple acquisitions to complement not just ‘Cloud for All’ but other business units like Windriver on the embedded and Internet of Things (IoT) side of the business. Both Hewlett-Packard and IBM announced $1 billion as their ante into the market. Intel is at the fulcrum of the industry, and if they are to be taken seriously about driving leadership in the cloud marketplace, they need to demonstrate their resolve and commitment to the cause.
- Optimization: By optimizing SDI solutions, Intel believes it can deliver highly efficient clouds across a wide range of workloads. To wit, Intel and Rackspace announced the San Antonio, Texas based OpenStack Innovation Center to help deliver enterprise ready solutions. While Intel has, in the past, committed to Cloudify, Ubuntu, Heat, and others for orchestration the ‘Cloud for All’ initiative, we believe, in conjunction with Rackspace, Intel can improve on current solutions to deliver a set of optimized products that cannot only fix current bugs, but provide improved container services and better scheduling of workload resources. To date, Rackspace and Intel will be creating the largest combined developer team to accelerate the development and validation of OpenStack applications for their joint customer base.
- Alignment: Both Intel and Rackspace are engaging with the industry through their work with open industry standards, solutions, and routes-to-market to support and accelerate cloud deployments. In my experience on multiple boards at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the hardest part of defining standards is the semantics of which words are used to describe an industry—this can take years. Having two powerhouses directing the debate will help accelerate OpenStack as a definitive solution for the enterprise. Even with Rackspace’s recent announcement with Microsoft Azure, we believe they will double-down on OpenStack.
There is still some ambiguity as to how Intel will leverage its current product line to support its ‘Cloud for All’ and OpenStack ambitions. But, as Intel states, an optimized cloud can take advantage of many technologies and capabilities. While Rackspace and OpenStack are great starting points, it will be interesting to see how Intel and its partners drive validation and adoption to the marketplace. It will also be important for Intel to include Windriver and other embedded technologies, especially security solutions, into the conversation. With leadership comes responsibility and Intel and Rackspace have the opportunity to drive both.