Moving Toward a Thinking Cloud

The cloud is becoming bigger, faster, more secure, and smarter. Here's how.

toward a thinking cloud
Credit: Intel

I went to IBM InterConnect* this spring, and there’s great news—the cloud is becoming bigger, faster, and more secure. And most exciting, it’s becoming smarter. We’re working with IBM to combine Intel technologies and expertise with IBM Cloud to create a cloud-native architecture that drives machine efficiency, maximizes resource utilization, and enables the creation of vastly scalable and powerful new applications like artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing.

I’ll explain how that’s happening, but first let me tell you about bigger, faster, and more secure. Those are advances you can use today to take control over your data to meet performance, security or data sovereignty regulation, protecting sensitive information in the cloud.

Creating a More Secure Cloud

With IBM, we announced they are the first cloud service provider to enhance security and compliance for data and applications via automated deployment and configuration of HyTrust* and Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT).

HyTrust (an Intel Capital portfolio company) makes cloud computing safer and compliance easier by letting you establish and enforce security policies across private and public clouds. It gives enterprises a single control point for cloud deployment and configuration. Every action taken is routed through the HyTrust virtual appliance where compliance with policies like PCI DSS, HIPAA, FISMA, and GDPR is verified before the action is allowed.  And it automates and simplifies compliance reporting by letting you demonstrate your operating and security processes to auditors and verify those processes have been followed.

But security starts at the bottom of the stack. So HyTrust relies on Intel TXT—a security feature of Intel® Xeon® processors that assures that applications running in the cloud run on trusted servers and operating systems that haven’t been tampered with.  Intel TXT is Intel’s technology for establishing more secured platforms.  It uses processor, chipset, and BIOS enhancements to measure the components of a launch environment to enforce that only “known good” configurations are launched.  This helps protect against a number of software based attacks and provides a powerful control point for securing virtualized workloads.

Intel TXT can also make sure that VMs are started and data is decrypted only in approved locations. This “geo-fencing” assures customers know where their data is, and it enables them to comply with the data sovereignty regulations now imposed by many countries.

Making It Bigger and Faster

The future of the cloud is in the data it can acquire, store, and process. So we’re collaborating with IBM to establish a testbed to accelerate the development of cloud-based solutions for data-intensive apps based in Intel® Optane™ storage technology.

Intel Optane™ technology is a new media that delivers an unparalled combination of high throughput, low latency, high QoS and high endurance vs traditional NAND-based solutions. It reduces data access latency to tenths of a nanosecond, and enables many uses including system acceleration, fast caching and storge and memory expansion. Intel Optane™ technology is Intel’s best solution for any application, device or cloud service requiring fast access to large sets of data..

This new approach to storage not only enables bigger datasets at less cost, it enables real time analytics to derive new insights from larger data sets. And Intel Optane™ memory can automatically learn a user’s computing behaviors to accelerate frequent tasks. We expect our collaboration with IBM to uncover new ways to apply Intel Optane™ technology to bring new, data-driven workloads to the cloud.

Toward a Thinking Cloud

But I said the cloud was getting smarter too. Here’s how...

Many businesses are adopting multi-cloud strategies and with the explosion of data, they are leveraging technology and the cloud to create new markets and services based on artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing.   Protecting data, enabling the storage of vast quantities of it, and enabling fast access to it opens the door to a new generation of previously unthought-of applications. When we know personal information, patient data, and financial records are secure, we can apply analytics, AI, and cognitive computing to enhance humans’ lives in the same way computing itself has.

Intel is building AI acceleration capabilities based on Intel and Nervana technologies into Intel processors. We’re optimizing AI software frameworks to tap that power, and we’re making cognitive computing accessible to developers in every field through training, support, and high-level development environments. We believe AI and cognitive computing will become a part of almost every workload and will change much of what we do with computers and with the cloud.

IBM shares that belief, and we will be talking more about our joint work on that front later this year. Intel and IBM will continue our partnership to apply Intel silicon technology, security technologies, and expertise to advance our goals for cognitive computing and make it available to everyone through a bigger, faster, more secure—and smarter—cloud.

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