Intel Corporation is an American global technology company and the world’s largest semiconductor chip maker, based on revenue.
Intel was founded on July 18, 1968, as Integrated Electronics Corporation and is based in Santa Clara, California. Outside of California, the company has facilities in 63 countries and regions internationally, including China, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Israel, Ireland, India, Russia, and Vietnam.
Intel also makes motherboard chip sets, network interface controllers and integrated circuits, flash memory, graphic chips, embedded processors, and other devices related to communications and computing.
Diane Bryant, CIO of Intel
Diane M. Bryant is corporate vice-president and chief information officer (CIO) of Intel Corporation where she is responsible for Intel’s information technology organization. Intel’s IT organization delivers strategic value by providing professional support, applications, and solutions that enable Intel’s growth and transformation.
Previously, Bryant held several positions including general manager of the Server Platforms Group, responsible for Intel’s server, workstation, and storage business encompassing all elements of the platform, including hardware, software and services. She was also director of the Corporate Platform Office, responsible for driving the transformation of Intel to a platform directed company, and GM of the Enterprise Processor Division responsible for the architecture, design and delivery of Intel’s Xeon and Itanium processor families. Before joining the Enterprise group in 1998, Bryant was director of engineering of the Mobile Products Group responsible for Intel’s mobile processors and chip sets.
Bryant received her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from U.C. Davis in 1985 and joined Intel the same year. She holds four U.S. patents.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with the way you see cloud computing. What is your philosophy as far as Intel’s IT strategy is concerned, and how does cloud computing pertain to that?
Diane Bryant: This is the 10,000 feet level. We embarked on a path starting in January 2010, to move to an internal cloud or a private cloud configuration. I absolutely see the value and the benefits of a cloud architecture as do all of my peers. Because we are a large enterprise, we are fortunate that we have the infrastructure, the data center infrastructure. There is a computer infrastructure that makes it possible for us to move to a private cloud configuration and get all the benefits of a cloud without any incremental cost or risk. We are moving to an internal cloud where we got a lot done in a year and three months. We are now to a point where we can deploy a new application into a provision environment in minutes instead of the historical 90 days. We have over half of our infrastructure now virtualized, so we will continue to build out the rest of the virtualization.
Sramana: In that private cloud configuration with these minutes of deployment time, what workloads have you been moving to the cloud?
Diane: Yes, the target workloads are all office and enterprise. When we look at the Intel computer environment, we break it into four pieces. One is our engineering computing, high performance speed, which really is 60,000 servers that operate at the large HPC grid environment. That is what the design engineers use to design next generation microprocessors. That is one bucket. That runs at 85% utilization. We don’t need to touch that; it is extremely effective and efficient.
Then the other bucket is around factory automation. These are the servers and infrastructure that run Intel factories. There is one data center per factory and we have many factories around the world. That is a dedicated, 5’9” plus reliability, so we don’t touch that. What is left is what we call office and enterprise. That is a total of about 10,000 applications. That is the environment that we are converting into a private cloud. All of the office applications and all of the enterprise applications, anything that runs finance or supply chain or supports our business groups. HR, everything you can imagine that a standard enterprise would have, the vast majority of them will be virtualized and part of the internal cloud.
Sramana: Okay. Would you talk more about on that piece of the cloud movement? When you talk about finance and ERP, you are coming from legacy ERP infrastructure, which was not in a cloud architecture. What has been the process of moving that, and what are you experiencing in that process?
Diane: Well, it’s actually gone much more smoothly than I think any of us expected. If I could just back up a second … obviously, to get to a cloud, a private cloud environment, step one was we had to rationalize all of our apps. Get rid of as many applications as possible, so you are virtualizing applications that are being used, and then you have Virtualization Pro instead of Service Pro. We went through a two-year process to reduce our total production application by 50% then we went through the process of standardizing on the hardware because we want to have the latest infrastructure that supports virtualization and has all the latest security features. We went through a virtualization process, which is what we started in 2009, and in 2010, it was adding the automation layer to support cloud environment. We have the on demand shared infrastructure capability. We thought that the virtualization process would be a lot harder than it ended up being.
I think for most people, the reaction is, no you can’t virtualize my app, and then you just have to walk them through the process. Actually, we can virtualize your app and let us explain to you how. So, we have not virtualized our ERP, yet, but it is on the road map and it will be virtualized either late this year or early next. We really have not come across any applications other than very large data bases or very I/O latency sensitive apps for which you just want dedicated hardware. Everything else, we believe we can virtualize. When I say that, I leave out the applications that have security constraints or compliance constraints, but 80% of the enterprise and office applications can be virtualized. That is the part that we are going down.
Sramana: So, what ERP are you on? Is it SAP?
Diane: Yes, though we have tried other software vendors. SAP is a huge provider.
Sramana: I guess the question I have in that context is is virtualization synonymous with running the application on a private cloud from where you sit, or are there fundamental changes in the usage model that also kick in?
Diane: Certainly the virtualization is step one, and then what kicks in when you go to the cloud is the dynamic scalability of the application. As you need greater capacity for anyone for given application or ERP instance, the added benefit of the cloud is that the infrastructure is shared. You get that rapid dynamic response to any increase in demand and that is helpful as you look at the peaks and valleys of the enterprises, times of the month and times of the quarter, and the times of the year when you need greater capacity. Being able to flex up and down is the big incremental benefit of the cloud over pure virtualization.