Thursday, September 15, 2011

Intel’s Cloud 2015 vision

Intel’s Cloud 2015 vision – which aims to achieve cloud federation, automation and device-awareness – is almost entirely in Intel’s court. Considering its prevalence in devices from servers to netbooks, Intel can almost singlehandedly accomplish all of the goals at the hardware level, although it still will need plenty of support from the software community. However, as certain antitrust allegations against Intel (sub req’d) illustrate (in which server makers Dell, HP and IBM allegedly abandoned planned AMD offerings at Intel’s behest), the company does have the cachet to affect product strategies. I’m not inferring any illegal activity, but rather pointing out that if anyone has the might to convince IT vendors, cloud providers and device makers to collaborate on standards and interoperability, it’s Intel.

Intel likes client-aware for two reasons. First, Intel wants to keep selling “fat” clients, because “fat client” equals “lots of transistors and performance.” About three years ago, Intel started talking trash about thin client in the context of the start of the ARM wars.

In the intervening years, Intel has toned down the anti-thin-client rhetoric just a bit, but the company is still looking to sell fully-featured clients—or “rich clients” as the chipmaker prefers to call them—of the kind that rival ARM can’t yet match.

Apart from the fact that Intel wants to see clients maintain a robust appetite for the transistors and features it supplies, there is another reason why Intel likes the client-aware cloud vision: lock-in.

Intel would love it if the most convenient and secure way for you to connect to an Intel-powered cloud is with an Intel-powered client. If Intel can build clouds that are vPro-aware and that work best with vPro-enabled clients, then you’ll have a real incentive to make sure that Intel—not ARM—is inside your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

So, that’s the broad outline of Intel’s vision for the cloud in three years. What’s your take?

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