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Summary:

The cloud may have driven down the cost of bandwidth and computing instances dramatically, but engineers shouldn’t take this as carte blanche to be wasteful with resources, said Intel’s GM of high density computing, Jason Waxman, at GigaOM’s Structure conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

Jason Hoffman (Joyent), Anant Agarwal (Tilera Corporation), Jason Waxman (Intel) - Structure 2011

Jason Hoffman (Joyent), Anant Agarwal (Tilera Corporation), Jason Waxman (Intel)  - Structure 2011The cloud may have driven down the cost of bandwidth and computing instances dramatically, but engineers shouldn’t take this as carte blanche to be wasteful with their resources, said Intel’s GM of high density computing, Jason Waxman, at GigaOM’s Structure conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

“There’s always a cost,” Waxman said, even if it may feel like small change to the individual corporate consumer. “If you look at the number of servers that are going to deployed in the next five years, for cloud types of architecture, you are looking at power that drives demand for 45 coal-powered plants around the world,” he forecasted.

So how do you keep the cloud from killing the planet? Being more efficient is one thing, but having better analytics will go a long way as well. Waxman predicted that within the next two years Intel will be able to tell you exactly how much power and resources a search query will consume.

Aside from power consumption, there are some more things Intel wants to tackle to benefit the cloud: One of the biggest issues has been security, Waxman said. “It’s a big Bogeyman,” he opined, “and it’s holding everyone back.” Making the cloud more secure also means to have transparency and openness across various offerings, which is why Intel has been making a strong push for open standards.

It helped to launch the Open Data Center Alliance that combines 280 cloud customers, including companies like AT&T, BMW and Lockheed Martin with the goal of getting consistency and transparency across cloud offerings. “People are telling us they don’t want lock-in,” Waxman said.

Watch live streaming video from gigaomstructure at livestream.com
  1. “If you look at the number of servers that are going to deployed in the next five years, for cloud types of architecture, you are looking at power that drives demand for 45 coal-powered plants around the world,”, says an Intel exec.

    Well that might be true of those servers are powered by Intel processors. There are other low power options out there that do not use x86 systems, and they won’t consume as much energy.

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  2. Was this article written in the future? Do you have a time machine? Can I borrow it? The first statement of this article suggests the cloud is here. The cloud is still beta and we won’t see the full effect for another 5-10 years. Even then, the cloud will probably have evolved into something else.

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  3. @Rod, the cloud is here already, with both salesforce.com and microsoft having over a million customers, and apple to have about 200 million (even though not everyone will know they use it), the cloud is here. The thing is, it is almost like the HTML specs in the early day, there is lots to sort out and every vendor rush into the cloud space with it’s own solution. So even though the cloud is here, you are probably right in your estimation that the next 5 years will actually define the cloud.

    @KenG, different platforms from x86, interesting concept, maybe also different operating systems from the normal windows/linux operating systems, might put a different spin on security. Using propriety operating systems will put the scripting kids out of business at least :)

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  4. It is interesting to that Cloud computing will demand 45 coal powered plants across the world. But the true value of Cloud is not in the power or cost savings but in the transformation and innovation it brings in the business. there is an interesting PoV i read that may be useful here http://tinyurl.com/3ppvpr9

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