Big business and Intel set course into the cloud

The chip maker has formed a partnership with 70 other companies to pool resources in the field of cloud research, with the ultimate aim of establishing a federated cloud network

Intel has unveiled Cloud 2015, its roadmap for the next four years of global cloud-related IT, and has found support from large IT buyers to back its plans.

Cloud 2015, announced at Cern on Wednesday, has three major components, according to Intel. One is cloud federation, to ensure common standards and interworking. Another is automation, which removes task and resource management from system administrators, who will instead set policies that the cloud providers would follow. Finally, client awareness will give cloud providers standards for tuning their services for different classes of connected device — from TVs and phones to computers.

The Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA), also launched at Cern, is a group of 70 large enterprises aiming for open, interoperable datacentre and cloud standards, and implementation. Intel is technical advisor to the group, whose members include Shell, BMW, Lockheed Martin and Deutsche Bank.

"Vendors will not be members, but we will encourage dialogue with the industry," said Mario Mueller, BMW Group's vice president for IT infrastructure and member of the ODCA's steering committee. "Intel's history in driving IT organisations makes it a perfect fit for [technical adviser]."

Boyd Davis, a vice president in Intel's architecture group, said the company had been asked to help create the alliance.

"We're not a voting member, and we have no control over the output of the group," Boyd said. "It reflects our heritage, but the ODCA is a very open-minded group. It does not resemble an Intel user group."

The company is also running a related programme, Cloud Builders, intended to give practical help to those implementing roadmaps like that of the ODCA by providing reference architectures. Intel said it was expanding this programme, which now has more than 20 reference architectures available. It also said that the programme has the support of companies such as Canonical, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft and HP.