Sramana Mitra: Now, switching gears a bit. In all this work you have been doing – and you are deep into the process – what are some of the holes you see? I run this program called One Million by One Million, and the goal is to help a million entrepreneurs reach $1 million in annual revenue and beyond. Part of the blog’s effort is to highlight blue-sky opportunities and open problems within the cloud world. From your vantage point, what do you see as open problems that you would like to point entrepreneurs to?
Diane Bryant: The biggest one is the integrated management solution, absolutely the biggest one.
Sramana: An integrated management solution?
Diane: For the cloud environment because today, you have the virtualization providers. They provide virtualization management solution. They can manage the VM and movement of the VM. Then you have your standard server management solution, security solution. You have the utilization. How do you manage and report against the utilization? That stack, an integrated management stack, for the cloud is the biggest gap, absolutely the biggest gap. The biggest opportunity, if there is a startup … we were so desperate to find someone who was providing that rather than develop our own. We evaluated a startup company and they actually had a very innovative solution, but they wanted $2,000 per server per year as a license. We have 2000 plus servers.. We would be spending $4 million a year just in managing the cloud.But that tells you the opportunity, right?
Sramana: Any other pointers?
Diane: Platform as a Service offers a great service for any IT organization to rapidly develop an application or service on top of an existing platform. The problem, of course, is that falls into the lack of standards. Maybe this doesn’t make so much sense right now because the Platform as a Service is the capability. There aren’t very many solutions out there. An open source version of that would be lovely because platform as a service offers value to IT. Unfortunately, now [if you] go down the path of using an external platform as a service provider, you become locked into their proprietary stack and then you are stuck there forever until you want to port your application, which goes back to my main frame comments. It goes back to the old days of proprietary stack. Having platform as a service offering based on open source that you have a flexibility to move out of a given provider would also be beneficial. I would love not to develop my own platform as a service solution, but I can’t afford to be locked in to a proprietary solution.
Sramana: Is that what you are doing now, developing your own Platform as a Service solution?
Diane: Yes. I am not looking forward to it. Intel is an IT technology company. The engineers want to have a place where they can do rapid prototyping of new Intel products and services Having a Platform as a Service is valuable to them. I can’t afford the lock-in.
Sramana: This is something that you are doing [out of] the long-tail applications, for the smaller applications you’re developing in house?
Diane: Yes. An Intel engineer will get a great idea for a new product or service Intel could provide. That engineer wants to be able to personally develop it. He or she wants to personally develop an IT enterprise, IT platform, and rapidly take it into production and see if there is any merit to it. Being able to offer engineers a Platform as a Service without the tools around application development plug and play, a good Platform as a Service solution, has software building blocks. We don’t have to code everything from scratch over and over again. Creating that nice application development environment is a big win for the Intel folks.
Sramana: Anything else that you want to discuss on this thread?
Diane: No, I think you have hit on it.
Sramana: How does social media play in your world?
Diane: Very heavily. Intel is a worldwide company. We are very dependent on collaboration solutions. It’s a big responsibility for IT to stay one step ahead of employees with the next generation of collaboration capabilities, such as making video conferencing pervasive. Social media is certainly part of that. Having solutions inside the firewall that allow employees to easily collaborate and do joint development on products and solutions [is important], because there weren’t any enterprise collaborative solutions equivalent to a Facebook. Facebook does enterprise hardened. We end up developing our own social media platform that runs inside the firewall but, again, it is not good when IP is developed around a proprietary solution, because someday [there] will be an external solution available. You will wish you were on that external solution rather than continuing to support an internal solution. I think, eventually, we will migrate out of our proprietary social networking solution.