Iron.io signs on to integrate Intel's Snap

Optimising workloads in the world of Docker


Docker-herder Iron.io has added another string to its bow, in an agreement with Intel that gives it access to Chipzilla's Snap* framework.

Intel emitted Snap in December as its contribution to data centre scheduling and workload management.

The idea, according to this Jonathan Donaldson's blog post, is to use telemetry and platform metrics to give sysadmins more control over data centre operations.

That sounded familiar to Iron.io, whose platform gives application developers a REST API that analyses workloads and directs them to the most suitable servers.

As CEO Chad Arimura explained to The Register, Snap-enabling Iron.io's environment will let developers route a crypto-heavy workload to servers with crypto-optimised processors, while less-demanding workloads will land on general-purpose processors, all without developers having to worry about “the plumbing, the infrastructure, the networking, the databases”.

Iron.io's vision of Docker-based micro-services as “serverless computing” that runs on AWS/IBM/Azure clouds (or in-house infrastructure) therefore aligned well with Snap, Arimura said.

Snap uses Intel's Resource Director Technology (RDT) to provide realtime processor metrics and control over the CPU cache performance. Its CMT (Cache Monitoring Technology) and CAT (Cache Allocation Technology) contribute to performance optimisation and minimise interference between jobs.

The idea is to send workloads to CPUs that are best-equipped to do a job, automatically of course.

Arimura said Intel's strategy is to make sure it powers the cloud, while for Iron.io, Snap support will provide realtime data to devs and sysadmins about what their workloads are doing on the server level.

Iron.io will also be giving Intel a better understanding of what kinds of clusters customers are running, and the workload profiles that are running on those clusters.

“Intel wants Snap to get broad adoption”, he said. “When you're using Snap, you're thinking about the chipset, the registers, the Level 3 caching on the chip.

“When we have workload-aware systems, Intel gets to push more chips [into data centres], because the workloads can be optimised to a particular chipset.”

Arimura reckons the deal will make workload optimisation a lot easier for developers. “Today the developer has to understand the chip an application needs, or the RAM it needs, and so on.

“With Intel and Snap, we want to eliminate those concerns … we can auto-provision and auto-scale the infrastructure based on the dynamics of the workload.”

Bootnote: Yes, The Register is aware that Intel's official style for “Snap” is “snap”. For reasons of readability, we're not following the style guide. ®


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