By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. January 15, 2104
Intel and 16 global cloud service providers (CSPs) introduced the “Intel Cloud Technology” program, an initiative the company said will provide cloud users a clear view into the technologies powering a CSP’s infrastructure before they purchase any services or instances. The program builds on the collaboration announced last September between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Intel to communicate to customers the specifications, performance, quality, and security benefits of the Intel technology used in AWS instances.
According to Intel, reports indicate heterogeneous cloud infrastructure performance may vary by 40 to 60 percent. As a result, cloud service customers desire more insight into the performance, capabilities and cost trade-offs of the instances that CSPs offer, so they can match the right size and type of performance with specific workloads.
The CSPs joining Intel in the announcement include: Canopy (U.K.); Cloud4com (Czech Republic); CloudWatt (France); Expedient (U.S.); KIO Networks (Mexico); KT (Korea); Locaweb (Brazil); NxtGen (India); Online.net (France); OVH (France); Rackspace (U.S.); Savvis, a company of CenturyLink (US); Selectel (Russia); Telefonica (Brazil); UOLDIVEO/UOL Host (Brazil); and Virtustream (U.S.). Participating CSPs will be recognized by using the “Powered by Intel Cloud Technology” badge to distinguish their Intel-based instances.
Intel will also drive direct marketing campaigns and participate in co-marketing activities with CSP partners in the program to educate customers. Finally, the Intel Cloud Finder tool, which helps end users cut through the complexity of identifying the optimal cloud service, will be integrated with the Intel Cloud Technology program, and include a new feature allowing end users to select a “trial” option for these services.
Intel’s new program aims to build a “window into the cloud” for CSPs and their customers.
Often when a new idea catches fire in technology, it takes some months or years before vendors and customers grasp its full implications and effects. That’s certainly the case with cloud computing-based services. While at one level CSPs are simply selling variants of traditional hosted IT services, the infrastructures supporting cloud-based offerings and the performance they deliver can be wildly disparate, often resulting in a sort of “your mileage may vary” approach that risks injured feelings, dashed expectations and disgruntled customers.
To avoid these and related problems, last year Intel and Amazon began collaborating to make the specifications, performance, quality, and security benefits of AWS services based on Intel technologies transparent and understandable to customers. The success of that effort led, quite naturally, to Intel’s new Cloud Technology and its support by 16 global CSPs.
Why exactly is this important? Because appropriately mixing/matching cloud infrastructure components to properly support business applications and workloads is no easy task. For example, a CSP may be running servers with multiple generations of Intel Xeon CPUs with various memory capacities, storage and networking assets and hypervisor platforms, all of which can impact application performance and/or customer experience for better or worse.
It isn’t that the process is difficult—it’s that choices need to be made so that CSPs and their clients can work productively, profit satisfactorily and sleep soundly. In fact, Intel noted some of the practical effects enjoyed by some customers involved in the program:
- Shopzilla increased its revenues by up to 12 percent by choosing instances that accelerated its page load times from seven to two seconds.
- Novartis Pharmaceuticals found that choosing a premium high-performing instance for the specific requirements of its workloads could provide up to 65 percent cost savings over lower cost, lower performing options.
- Florida Crystals (owner of Domino Sugar and C&H Sugar) stated that the participation of its CSP (Virtustream) in Intel’s Cloud Technology program has increased its own awareness of the underlying hardware powering IT services, allowing it to make better choices to ensure optimal workload performance.
Overall, we believe the new Intel Cloud Technology program will pay dividends for everyone involved. CSP members will benefit from the increased transparency the program offers, both in promoting their services and educating clients. Customers engaging with participating CSPs will appreciate the greater levels of clarity into the services they are offered, along with higher levels of satisfaction with properly configured solutions.
Last but not least, Intel itself is likely to benefit from the program. Building what amounts to a “window into the cloud” should help extend and expand the growth of cloud services that are critical to the company’s current and future growth.
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