Last year, when Intel announced its intent to buy software security vendor McAfee for $7.68 billion in hard cash quite a few eyebrows were raised – very high. The cry went up: 'What's a chip company doing buying a software company?' Well, as our CEO Paul Otellini said it marks Intel’s move from a 'PC company to a computing company.'
The fact is that Intel's hardware has underpinned and helped drive the sweeping changes we have seen in the computing industry for decades; from the days of clunky PCs to today's supercomputing ability on a smart phone. In this sense we’ve always been at the forefront of change.
Our involvement in cloud computing is no different. Take a close look and you'll find that we're closely involved in the cloud camp and working with many of the companies you'd naturally associate with cloud. Intel's Cloud Builders initiative is a cross-industry initiative aimed at making it easier for IT organisations to build, enhance, and operate cloud infrastructure It’s aimed at solutions for enterprise as well as cloud service providers and we already have a significant body of cloud reference architectures built together with our hardware and software partners that illustrate how this cloud can be deployed for a vast range of different customers.
In a sense, the cloud is nothing new; it has been around in various forms for some time now – think of remote access to multi-player games, web-based word processing and email applications. Instead of having these applications loaded onto your computer or in your own data centre you access them from a data centre located somewhere on the Internet – the cloud.
For enterprise IT departments, cloud computing allows them to deliver IT services to their customers, either internally or externally, on an 'as-its-needed' basis. New services can be delivered almost as easily as turning on a tap and IT departments also benefit from greater cost-efficiency and flexibility.
Today, security is one of the most sensitive subjects around – and it's here that many enterprise IT departments are asking questions about the cloud phenomenon. The way Intel approaches security is changing and Intel understands that both a hardware and software approach is required. At Intel we have a product called Cloud Access 360 which can help address some of the big concerns about cloud security. Essentially, it's a software suite designed to control the entire lifecycle of cloud access security such as SSO, provisioning, strong authentication, authorisation and audits.
We are still a microprocessor company, and Intel's latest Xeon processor families are powering the latest incarnations of cloud data centres. With technologies like Trusted Execution Technology, we’re embedding security features into the hardware providing the increased levels of assurance the cloud demands.
Today Intel is also a trusted advisor for many companies when it comes to cloud computing. Thanks to our technical capabilities, expertise in cloud security and extensive ecosystem of partner organisations, we are driving initiatives such as the Intel Cloud Builders programme to help IT organisations accelerate their cloud deployments Intel also works with many industry organisations defining standards and infrastructure requirements for cloud computing, amongst these is the Open data Centre Alliance that is looking to chart a roadmap of key IT requirements for the cloud