What is the Intercloud?

What is the Intercloud?

June 16

The “intercloud” seems to be the new buzzword in talk of the cloud.

The concept isn’t new as I found out. The word “intercloud” was coined by Wired magazine’s Kevin Kelly, who said back in 2007 that there would be an intercloud, touted as the “cloud of clouds.”

As it was described to me, the intercloud will be “a critical enabler in capturing the immense value of the “Internet of Everything.” In fact, the intercloud is expected to fix the fact that there is no single cloud that has the infinite physical resources needed to deal with the growing number of things that are being connected to the cloud.

To put it simply, the intercloud is a way for multiple clouds to come together as one connected, super cloud.

Cisco, with its partners, announced in March that it plans to invest over $1 billion to expand its cloud business over the next two years, which includes building the world’s largest global intercloud.

Cisco said its intercloud will enable users “to combine and move workloads — including data and applications — across different public or private clouds as needed, easily and securely, while maintaining associated network and security policies.”

Last year, IEEE created an Intercloud Testbed project with more than 20 cloud and network service providers to develop cloud-to-cloud interoperability that would keep the cloud mainstream.

At the time, Joe Weinman, senior vice president of cloud services and strategy at Telx Group, and the chairman of the testbed’s executive committee, said, “The cloud is rapidly evolving and maturing to support a wide variety of enterprise and consumer applications and real-world applications. It inevitably will require a variety of ecosystem players: cloud service providers, network service providers, brokers, markets, exchanges, hybrid and autoscaling management, and other intermediaries.”

“The Intercloud represents the next logical wave in computing, enabling complex hybrid applications, cost and performance optimization, enhanced reliability, customer flexibility and lock-in avoidance,” he added.

However, as the cloud was before it, there will most likely be a learning curve for intercloud.

A few of the challenges that intercloud adoption is facing are similar to those the cloud is facing. Cisco posted results of an IDC survey done in 2009, 2012 and 2013 that shows security and data privacy concerns are still on people’s minds, but the good news is the perception of a threat is waning a bit.

What that says to me is that years later, people are still weary of the cloud, and once more company data is added to the cloud that stands to increase.

Back in 2013, Wired magazine offered up a few things that the intercloud will have to do to make it a much-needed reality:

1. Reliable connectivity between applications and data transfer.

2. Be able to uniquely identify cloud service providers.

3. Mechanisms for identification, authentication and billing structure.

4. Development of a sound infrastructure.

Wired also reported that the intercloud will benefit managed service providers as well. That’s because they will be able share resources with each other. Customers will like it too, as they will have more choice when it comes to providers.

Ultimately, it’s how these challenges, and anything else that comes along, are addressed that will determine the success of the intercloud.

Interested in cloud computing? Have you thought about cloud backups? Learn more about StorageCraft Cloud Services.

Photo credit: Jonathon Peters via Flickr