Chip colossus Intel has unveiled its vision for the future of corporate IT. In a global announcement today the company took the wraps off the Open Data Centre Alliance, to which $50bn-pa-worth of CIOs are already signed up and to which Intel has been appointed "non-voting technical advisor".
Intel architecture bigwig Boyd Davis, briefing reporters this morning in Geneva ahead of announcements on the US West Coast, also laid out his company's vision for "Cloud 2015" - the roadmap that he expects the global IT industry to follow in the next few years.
Intel expects to see three main elements in the new cloud architectures of tomorrow.
First up, new clouds will be "federated" - that is they will use common standards and be able to work together. Vendor lock-in and interoperability were apparently major concerns for the Data Centre Alliance CIOs as the organisation was being put together, and the federation strand of Cloud 2015 is designed to address this.
Secondly, new clouds will be "automated". Rather than sysadmins allocating resources and tasks - no matter how remotely and cleverly - they will simply set policies and the clouds will organise and adjust themselves in real time.
Intel says that this sort of thing is already happening, with companies using offices full of machines as Windows productivity suites by day and Linux data centres by night. Automation is expected to deliver efficiency in resources, another demand from the allied CIOs.
The final element in the Cloud 2015 triad is "Client Awareness", which is Intel's plan for coping with the 15 billion netted-up client devices the company foresees being in operation in five years' time: TVs, phones, computers etc etc. According to Davis, simply setting up cloud services - eg websites - for the lowest common denominator among all these machines will not do; nor will it be possible to provide separate portals for every type of client as some organisations attempt today.
Rather, Intel considers that tomorrow's clouds will need to be more aware of details of what type of device is connected to them in order to automatically give them appropriate content and services. Again this should all be more automated and compliant with standards (or perhaps "de facto implementations" adopted by the Data Centre Alliance members).
"This is a new day for Intel," said Davis. "A major announcement without any new chips or Xeons."
Intel insists that the Open Data Centre Alliance is not its lapdog nor an Intel user group. BMW IT chief Mario Muller, an Alliance steering ccommittee member (and himself overlord of BMW's 9-data-centre, 1600-terabyte, 1000 HPC corporate cloud) said that he and the other 70-and counting Alliance member CIOs controlled $50bn pa of IT spending, and that they are determined that the Alliance will be "vendor agnostic".
"Vendors will not be members," said Muller, briefing reporters including the Reg alongside Davis in Geneva this morning. "However we will work closely with them through workgroups," details of which he said would be announced shortly by the Alliance.
Already signed up as alliance members are such companies as Shell, Lockheed and UBS, and Muller says the group is keen to expand to cover as much of the IT world as possible. The alliance, in consultation with new and existing members, intends to produce its "vendor agnostic roadmap" in Q1 of 2011.