Branding the cloud: Intel puts its stamp on cloud services across the globe

Cloud service providers across the world have agreed to reveal which Intel processors are powering their infrastructure-as-a-service offerings. The programme will see the Intel brand plastered across a range of cloud services worldwide.

When companies choose to lease compute power by turning to an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering the actual hardware powering the service is often hidden from view.

Intel is teaming up with 16 cloud service providers (CSPs) worldwide to reveal which Intel processors underpin their IaaS products, in what the chipmaker claims is an attempt to allow firms to better gauge the performance and features of the hardware they are renting.

Under the programme CSPs will reveal details about which Intel processor is powering a particular service, in many cases down to its model number. Providers will also detail whether that processor supports additional features, such as the AES instruction set, which accelerates encryption and decryption, or AVX+ extensions, which boost floating-point intensive calculations that are common in scientific and financial applications.

The level of information will be similar to that already provided by Amazon Web Services about which Intel processors drive instances in its compute on demand offering EC2.

The move will help Intel extend its branding into cloud:  while Intel had great success at slapping its Intel Inside logo on PCs, firms buying cloud services often don't know - and don't necessarily care -  what brand of processor their service is running upon. 

This programme will bring the Intel brand back to fore, with the 16 CSPs who are participating, including major firms such as Rackspace, provided with a "Powered by Intel Cloud Technology" logo that they can attach to relevant cloud services.

"The challenge with the cloud is the level of abstraction means it is not always possible to determine which sort of server you are landing on," said Alan Priestley, Intel's EMEA director of cloud and big data.

"Increasingly we've been seeing lots of comments coming back from end customers that not all cloud services are equal.

"We want the service providers to expose to their customers which type of processors and which type of technologies are enabled within the service they are offering, so customers can make a more reasoned decision about what they are going to deploy on those services."

From today the CSPs shown below should provide information on their websites about which Intel processors they use in their IaaS offerings. 

Image: Intel


Intel said it hopes to persuade more CSPs to reveal this information about their IaaS offerings later in the year.

The chipmaker is also launching Intel Cloud Finder, an online search engine that allows users to find CSPs that provide cloud services built on Intel technologies.

AWS's transparency about the types of Intel processors it uses revealed that many EC2 instances are based on Intel Xeon E5 2650, 2670 and 2680 processors.

Previous to the CSPs providing this information customers would have to resort to workarounds, such as checking the CPU from the Linux command terminal by typing "cat /proc/cpuinfo" after spinning up an IaaS offering.