Intel’s adoption and deployment of an enterprise private
cloud is a perfect example of how the cloud can transform and
improve internal efficiencies. The enterprise private cloud has
already delivered some big benefits for Intel. The processor giant
has already realized USD 9 million in savings and reduced
provisioning time from 90 days to 45 minutes. Today, 80 percent of
new business services are delivered through its enterprise private
Intel started on its cloud journey by applying key lessons from
its Design Grid Computing environment (deployed between 2006 and
2008). It started an architectural transition focused on building a
secure, service-oriented enterprise private cloud inside Intel for
its office and enterprise environment. Accelerated virtualization
and building an on-demand, self-service, and measured services
capability played a critical first-step role in this endeavor,
along with addressing security, manageability, automation,
metering, and employee use model considerations.
However, 2011, was a year, in which the journey towards private
cloud adoption accelerated. “In 2011, we continued to make
rapid progress in transitioning to our enterprise private cloud. We
focused on virtualizing more demanding applications, including
Internet-facing and mission-critical applications with higher
security requirements, and migrating them to the private cloud.
Sixty-four percent of our office and enterprise environment is
virtualized, and we are on track to reach our target of 75
percent,” explains Ajay Chandramouly, Cloud and Data Center
Industry Engagement Manager, Intel IT.
“64 percent of our office and enterprise environment
is virtualized; we are on track to reach our target of 75
Ajay Chandramouly, Cloud and Data Center Industry Engagement
Manager, Intel IT
Tackling challenges head on
Intel’s deployment of enterprise private cloud is also a
good case study to understand how an enterprise can tackle complex
challenges. For example, like any other enterprise, there was a
fear of the impact of a new approach, and whether this approach
would prove risky to its business. Intel tackled this challenge by
taking a pragmatic approach. It utilized Software-as-a-Service for
non-differentiated business processes, wherein there were enough
providers who could use economies of scale to provide Intel
software through the cloud with excellent results.
Simultaneously, Intel also started its internal cloud work at its
development environment, transitioned this to its test space, then
to its tier 2-4 production environment.
Depending on the requirements of the business unit within the
company, the company fine tuned its approach to get the required
buy-in. “We need to establish the business principles that
compel adoption of cloud. If the business is TCO driven in
some areas, then a thorough financial analysis along with clear
tactics to maintain SLA will overcome resistance to change.
If the business is driven by need for agility and rapid response,
then POC/pilot projects demonstrating “click to deploy”
speed of solution development can be a strong motivator to the
organization,” stated Chandramouly.
As the cloud momentum picked up, Intel also faced a serious
issue in overcoming over-exuberance, as everyone was excited about
the possibilities and opportunities presented by cloud computing.
Intel tasked a team for trying most of the various cloud solutions
and determining what the best strategy was for Intel.
Although the team was convinced that internal IaaS and PaaS/SaaS
were the most likely goals for the near term, the team continually
evaluated new cloud service offerings with an eye to potential
adoption. The primary factors influencing the decision were TCO and
Intel also has a large effort underway to move most of its
existing legacy applications to its cloud foundation which is its
virtual infrastructure – Intel’s application teams take
targets on execution, and as they get exposed to the virtual
infrastructure, the organization starts exposing them to cloud
attributes and how the new environment will help them in regards to
productivity and time to market.
“We also have clear and evident senior management support
from the CIO. We will lead in cloud as it makes business sense, and
we will aggressively work toward that goal. But we are
careful to distinguish business needs from the exuberance that can
come with hot new trends. Establishing the criteria for that
threshold is key,” states Chandramouly.
Enterprise cloud rains benefits
Today, the enterprise cloud has delivered heavily in every
factor that is measurable – from cutting down costs,
improving efficiencies, and reducing the time to provision new
“With 64 percent of our office and enterprise environment
virtualized, we are achieving average server consolidation ratios
of up to 20:1 and have already achieved net savings of USD 9
million to date. We anticipate additional net savings of
approximately USD 6 million per year over the next four
years,” says Chandramouly.
To maximize asset utilization across its data center
environment, Intel is refreshing its servers every four
years. Through this approach, Intel has accommodated 45-percent
annual growth in compute demand while reducing the number of
servers in its environment from 100,000 to 75,000.
Following the success of the private cloud deployment, Intel is
now extending the value of the private cloud to more groups and
more usages across Intel. To enable Intel’s services
businesses to meet unpredictable spikes in demand, the firm has
increased flexibility by deploying a rapid, elastic
infrastructure-as-a-service scaling solution to support externally
facing Internet applications. Simultaneously, Intel has also
embarked on a platform-as-a-service program to bring hosted
on-demand development environments to its internal software
developers. “Our goal is to enable developers to turn
innovative ideas into production services in less than a
day,” explains Chandramouly.
On the road to hybrid clouds
To further increase scalability, cost efficiency, and service
resiliency, Intel has also established a technology roadmap for the
use of hybrid clouds. “In 2011, we began sharing capacity
across multiple resource pools inside a data center; in 2012, we
plan to share capacity across all 13 private cloud data centers and
then expand to hybrid use of secure external clouds,” says
Intel also believes that in order to create an interoperable
private and hybrid cloud environment, open industry standards and
software are required. In 2011, Intel began running and testing its
first completely open-source cloud environment. Chandramouly says
that Intel’s goal is to determine where open solutions can
augment its existing cloud capabilities—which can enable it
to move towards its cloud vision at an even faster pace.