Intel To Partners: Embrace 'Cloudification' In The Data Center

The chipmaker says cloudification is about applying the architectures and deployment models used by cloud service providers to the rest of the date center market. 'It has become an expedient way to deliver new services and capability to an enterprise, to a school, to a community, etc.,' Intel's Rose Schooler tells CRN.

Intel executive Rose Schooler said channel partners should embrace "cloudification" in the data center to support a growing need for solutions and services to be deployed as quickly as possible.

Schooler, corporate vice president of data center sales at Intel, told CRN that cloudification is about using the architectures and deployment models made popular by cloud service providers and applying them across the rest of the data center market, expanding upon a topic she discussed in a panel at this week's virtual Intel Partner Connect conference.

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"We're seeing it become pervasive obviously in the CSPs—it's their bread and butter—but also in enterprise with hybrid multi-cloud implementations as well as in [communications] service providers as they adopt the architecture for their deployment of services," she said.

While total cost of ownership remains an important factor in deploying new servers, time to value is becoming equally important, Schooler said, particularly now when it's important to deploy new services for things like business continuity in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"It has become an expedient way to deliver new services and capability to an enterprise, to a school, to a community, etc.," she said.

To help partners with this transition, Schooler said Intel plans to release a new "cloud knowledge" program in the summer that will expand upon the training the company provides for cloud-related matters in Intel Partner University, which launched last fall as part of the Intel Partner Alliance rollout.

"What we're really trying to accomplish is building foundational knowledge for what we believe is an industry trend and a set of capabilities. And that's around the new routes to market required to support cloudification," she said.

Embracing cloudification means having strong software knowledge, an understanding of software "higher up the stack" and knowing about the cloud instances that use Intel hardware, Schooler said.

"Our history has been hardware skills. I think moving forward we have to continue to fortify our collective software knowledge and competency. The cloud is primarily a software-based architecture," she said. "And we really need to work together to continue to fortify that domain expertise while leveraging and understanding how that software takes advantage of the value in the ingredients of the underlying hardware."

Schooler said the new Intel Solutions Marketplace will evolve to include cloud-based solutions, but that will depend on the kind of partnerships that can be developed.

"It may require bringing in new partners, and we're doing a lot of work to understand what that route to market looks like and who those new partners are so we can embrace them and bring them into that Solutions Marketplace," she said.

Jason Craig, chief technology advisor of public sector at World Wide Technology, a St. Louis-based global solution provider and Intel partner, said his company has been supporting that push for cloud as a deployment model and architecture, particularly with its Advanced Technology Center, where the company shows off the latest technology from Intel.

One of the biggest demonstrations in the Advanced Technology Center is World Wide Technology's hyper-converged infrastructure solutions that use Intel's Xeon Platinum processors with Optane DC persistent memory to enable cloud-like environments, according to Craig. One of the biggest game-changers in the setup is the Optane memory, which allows more data to run closer to the CPU.

"You can take what you normally need for hyper-converged infrastructure or virtualized desktop infrastructure and almost halve it because you're using that much more advanced persistent memory," he said "Once you assume the network's stable, the ability to load everything into memory and run it really fast in memory allows less to go to the cold storage and hot storage, and you're staying in memory so it's much faster and we can use less server infrastructure."

To support the shift to cloudification, Schooler said it will require buy-in from both Intel and its partners as the chipmaker brings more internal resources to the channel.

"It has to be a bi-directional relationship," she said. "As I've talked to many of the partners, they acknowledge the transformation that's happening in the market, and they're looking to Intel to be a partner in their own personal transformation."