Be Smart with Your Cloud Portfolio

Be Smart with Your Cloud Portfolio

Summary: I’m beginning to think that the cloud computing discussion is, for most people, more about ‘when and what’ conversations than ‘will it happen’. But let’s not underestimate that ‘when to do it’ and ‘what will it be’ are two of the most challenging questions in the widespread establishment of cloud computing.

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TOPICS: Cloud
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I’m beginning to think that the cloud computing discussion is, for most people, more about ‘when and what’ conversations than ‘will it happen’. But let’s not underestimate that ‘when to do it’ and ‘what will it be’ are two of the most challenging questions in the widespread establishment of cloud computing.

Some research recently came out from Cisco which reveals that adoption rates for cloud are slower than one might expect given all the hype. I’d say my experience shows more enthusiastic adoption already taking place, and I particularly agree with one of the sentiments expressed in the press release – that people still don’t always understand when they’re actually using cloud services.

The fact of the matter is that for all the hype, cloud computing is not yet a widely understood phenomenon. I’ve read comments from Gartner which imply that the taxonomy of the cloud is probably more confusing than the technology itself. There are times when I’m inclined to agree. In fact, to ensure we’re clear in how we’re discussing the cloud, Intel has published its own cloud taxonomy (http://intel.ly/nJUxPi).

One of the problems here is that cloud comes in different forms, with various benefits and challenges. Keeping it simple, ‘public’ cloud sees services delivered using a shared infrastructure model, typically provisioned from a 3rd party data centre accessed over the internet, and benefits from massive economies of scale. It also brings perceived security concerns, though whether these are valid is determined by the service provider and their security and resilience standards.

The private cloud sees data and applications sit within a data centre that is accessed from behind your internal firewalls and where you control the access rights. This can typically give you more control over how the data and access is managed but may not give you the flexibility and scale that public cloud services can offer.

The prevailing logic for many end organisations is the hybrid cloud, conventionally defined whereby a company provides and manages some resources in-house, while others are provided externally through a public cloud service. It is also possible to architect a solution where you can ‘burst’ out to a public cloud when the capacity of your private cloud is exceeded. Or take reverse approach and contract back from using a public cloud into a smaller private cloud when you no longer need to capacity offered by a public cloud.

This is typically undertaken to capitalise on the huge potential cost efficiencies available using public cloud, whilst keeping mission critical data safely up your sleeve, in your own data centre. And you can’t really fault the logic in this.

However my plea to all the businesses out there when considering cloud computing is to be thorough when assessing security risks – and that includes your own data centre. Private cloud is an increasingly appealing way to manage mission critical data and applications. But just as we’re all increasingly being told to scrutinise every aspect of a public cloud provider’s infrastructure, don’t be too naïve to do the same to yourself. The technology for a secure cloud is already with us.

Even since the cloud phenomenon erupted, the security of the server has become an accelerated priority. For example, at Intel we’ve paid a lot of attention to Advanced Encryption Standards – developing Advanced Encryption Standards New Instructions (AES-NI) which guarantees faster encryption without a performance lag. Meanwhile our Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) is in place to secure data being moved through virtual environments. Technologies like these mean that the cloud security question really needn’t strike fear in the hearts of end users.

And it’s worth remembering that the need to stay safe in the cloud applies to your own data centre as well as to public cloud service providers.

Topic: Cloud

Alan Priestley

About Alan Priestley

I'm a multi-year Intel veteran, and currently hold the role of Strategic Marketing Director within EMEA.

My time with Intel began with a role supporting all the PC design accounts in the UK - back in the days when the i286 was the latest and greatest processor on the Intel roadmap. Since then, I've moved through various technical and product marketing roles, including being responsible for launching the Xeon processor product line in EMEA and managing the Itanium program office.

At present, I'm responsible for Intel's high-end server business and Cloud Marketing strategy in EMEA. This puts me at the hub of major developments in both server technology, and the cloud ecosystem it's powering. I'm now very involved with the Intel Cloud Builders programme.

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4 comments
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  • UK government is keen on adopting cloud policies like the US govt. i is a good step which the govt has taken towards the match up with the international standards of cloud computing. but as far as the disruptions and the rumors regarding the safety and security issue is concerned i dont think that cloud is reliable but read this article to find out how cloud computing benefits UK govt http://cloudtechsite.com/blogposts/uk-government-is-all-set-to-get-assisted-by-cloud-first-policy.html
    anonymous
  • There are considerable opportunities for government to use cloud computing to keep its IT infrastructure up-to-date, and to ensure employees have access to the applications they need. Security concerns will always exist – as they do with any major ICT development – but the technology is already in place to give safe access to the cloud. While cost saving is a important for government in light of Europe’s austerity measures, I think the improved responsiveness and flexibility the cloud brings will prove to be the most important factors in government decision making.
    alan.priestley
  • Alan, I feel the stumble when it comes to public sector adoption of clouds is when they create federations of clouds - a sort of meta-hybrid cloud that will key a bunch of private clouds together under a public-with-security umbrella. Intel has good tech for securing private clouds, but what about a cloud that is hooked into something much more vulnerable?
    Jack Clark
  • The approach we’re taking in our own technology design, and in the reference architectures being created through the Cloud Builders programme (e.g. http://intel.ly/nGRjBL), revolves around the ability to have trust in the cloud. That means that from the application user’s interfaces right through to the underlying hardware infrastructure, there is an uninterrupted chain of control and trust. Think about the work that has been done by VMware and HyTrust (enabled by Intel Trusted Execution Technology) on trusted compute pools. The function set in each server is designed to enable a description of the platform characteristics and its trustworthiness, and the ongoing ability to verify the system throughput its lifecycle increases this control.

    The ODCA has also exhibited some interesting security developments in its usage model reference library (http://bit.ly/oN6XdM). Network storage security and compliance are being accentuated – allowing for improved trust within the cloud – as recently illustrated by ODCA member EMC at IDF 2011. And in keeping with the discussion in this blog, EMC has also made breakthroughs in the security of hybrid cloud management.

    There’s obviously still room for security capabilities to develop, but I think that examples such as the above show we’re already in a position for a secure cloud experience.
    alan.priestley