Intel, like many other industry heavyweights, believes we are navigating towards a cyber future that will be heavily dominated by Cloud-based computing.
According to Intel exec Jason Waxman, the rapidly evolving Cloud is already serving consumers and businesses by hosting terabytes of games, videos, pictures, databases and e-mail accounts.
“We expect there to be at least 15 billion Internet connected devices by 2015 – generating zetabytes and zetabytes of data. This not only includes smartphones, tablets and PCs, but rather, cars, televisions and even embedded signage,” Waxman explained during a recent Cloud computing conference in Oregon.
“So, we are making sure that the relevant and required infrastructure will be in place for all those users and their data. Of course, the way forward is not without its share of growing pains.”
Indeed, Waxman highlighted three primary issues which could potentially slow the accelerated adoption of Cloud-based computing: security, legal compliance with government regulations and efficiency.
“Yes, we are certainly cognizant of various security and legal challenges in the Cloud computing realm, such as shared server infrastructure, malware threats, compliance with federal legislation and the precise location of data.
“We also realize Cloud efficiency is a priority, as power consumption must be reduced, while manageability and scalability is concurrently optimized. Of course, we also know companies don’t want to be locked into proprietary platforms.”
To illustrate his point about security and compliance, Waxman told attendees that FBI agents had recently raided a cloud center to track down illegal activity.
“The Bureau shut down entire center to search for evidence of a crime – because they didn’t know where the specific data was located. This is the perfect example of searching for a needle in the haystack.
“So, how can we prevent future occurrences? We can work with providers to map virtual machines and data to customers. We can also supply advanced platform metrics and capabilities that allow providers to gauge, track and understand what is happening on both a hardware and management level.
“We can definitely help Cloud infrastructure be more intelligent by helping partners understand how to address legal compliance issues and create appropriate architecture.”
RealWorld Tech analyst and chip expert David Kanter seemed to concur with Waxman’s assessment, noting that thorny legal and business problems related to the Cloud will have to be ironed in the near future.
“Customers will undoubtedly want to know where their e-mail is kept and how it is secured on both internal and external servers,” said Kanter.
“Obviously, providers will need to replicate some data for performance reasons. This is especially true for mobile devices such as smartphones. So, the obvious question is how do you address such concerns?”
Nevertheless, Waxman emphasized he remained confident about the future of Cloud-based computing.
“We have barely begun to scratch the surface of what is possible in the Cloud. Sure, there is a fair amount of Cloud gaming, but that is likely to significantly increase by 2015.
“And imagine a Cloud-powered, next-gen search engine which allows users to quickly scan through videos and audio clips for specific scenes or music. Really, consumers and businesses alike are only just begun to understand the full potential of the Cloud.”