Structure 2010: Intel vs. the Homogeneous Cloud

Hey guys, we should really work together, was Intel’s (s INTC) message at the GigaOM Network’s Structure conference in San Francisco, where the company’s GM of high-density computing, Jason Waxman, correctly identified himself as the elephant in the room (something at least one panelist had called Intel earlier in the conference).

Rather than the current ideal of the homogenous cloud — where uniform, consistent building blocks scale in tandem — Waxman called for a “best of breed” standardized cloud. He said this alternate kind of cloud would be good for both data centers and vendors. It would be federated, connecting virtual machines between public and private data centers. It would be automated, both for power and workflow placement. And it would be client-aware, recognizing the fast-growing ranks of connected devices (Intel projects 10 billion of them in the next five years, including phones of course but also TVs and cars.

Besides issues like cloud vendor computing lock-in, one of Waxman’s biggest selling points is power consumption. He said that a homogeneous system of 15,000 servers, even considering virtualization and efficient workload placement, would overspend $6 million worth of capex and 1 megawatt of power. Projected growth in cloud computing — where 23 percent of data center costs are power, he said — would demand seven new coal power plans in the next 10 years.

If anyone agrees that cloud computing should be more secure, more manageable, with better federation of data, they should come talk to him, Waxman said.

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