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April 14, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:27am

Intel drops VMware and joins Google in aligning its cloud strategy with OpenStack

News: Chip maker appears to no longer plan to use ESXi hypervisor.

By James Nunns

Intel is changing its private cloud strategy to more closely align to OpenStack as it looks to take on Tier 1 cloud providers.

In a whitepaper on the OpenStack website, Intel says that over the next two years it aims to create an organisation wide hybrid cloud, "that’s just as good as offerings from Tier 1 cloud service providers."

In order to achieve this, Intel is moving from its current state to an open architecture by taking a three phased approach.

Phase one will be predominantly focused on control plane deployment across its production environment. The white paper suggests that a move to OpenStack would provide a significant uplift in consumer capabilities compared to their existing legacy cloud infrastructure.

The move would enable Intel to end-of-life the custom automation built for its initial private cloud and in this phase Intel will roll out the OpenStack control plane, switching new virtual machine (VM) provisioning to a self-service model where the hosting business previously had none.

Phase two involves the importing of metadata for all existing instances into the OpenStack control panel, which will provide consolidation.

Intel hopes to have reached Phase three by the end of 2016, where the company will have a fully automated architecture to minimise manual service requests, which will aim at instant fulfilment for 90% of service requests.

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"By Phase III, the enterprise private cloud will be heavily based on open standards and open source technologies. Phase III represents the next step in the journey to federated, interoperable, and open hybrid cloud. It will support PaaS, containers and automated hybrid cloud provisioning to maximize scalability, flexibility and value," the paper says.

Intel phases

In Phase two it is notable that VMware’s ESXi hypervisor disappears from the equation. It would seem that Intel’s plans will no longer involve them, when it comes to OpenStack at least.

This could be due to a difference of opinion on how OpenStack should develop. VMware has pushed to control the open source cloud with vSphere in order to maintain some standards on what developers can do. Intel appears to be happy to let developers do what they want and wants everyone building clouds on the technology.

What is apparent from the whitepaper is that Intel is fully invested in OpenStack, it is already a Platinum Member of the OpenStack Foundation and has a seat of the project’s board. It’s been building OpenStack private clouds for a number of years, but this had been done with its own customised virtualisation controller.

I have previously written that Intel requires a mature OpenStack for the chip maker to increase its profits and it’s certainly set about leveraging its power and influence to push enterprise scale deals for the open source cloud.

OpenStack recently won a big contract with Volkswagen and Intel played a big role in the deal, helping to validate what Mirantis and Red Hat, the two companies vying for the contract, were saying and doing.

Boris Renski, co-founder and CMO of Mirantis, told CBR: "When Intel goes all in with something like OpenStack it is a big indicator to large enterprises like VW that the technology is indeed mature and if Intel is putting its muscle behind it then it’s not going to be another fashion trend that goes away."

This is the latest move from Intel to rally behind OpenStack and the company is far from alone. Google recently put another piece of its hybrid cloud strategy together with OpenStack as its main target.

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