Have you ever wondered what would happen if two people who believe big compute is the real centre of the universe were to meet in the same room? Well, wonder no more.
In this podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Giard, CTO of Digital Transformation and Scale Solutions at Intel. As we’re experiencing a massive growth phase, I was keen to get Bill’s thoughts on how to maintain performance and security hence discussing various questions related to cyber security.
As a result of his long career working at Intel, Bill has a unique perspective on Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and enterprise customers, from the chip to switches, routers, and servers. The best part is that he got transferred to Intel’s Data Platform Group (DCPG) during the beginning of the digital transformation.
As part of the DCPG team, Bill helped shape Intel’s cloud strategy, technologies, and architectures. In this podcast conversation, Bill explains the sheer breadth, depth and strategic complexity of Intel’s services and markets; you might now visualise Bill as someone with significant personal experience and resulting knowledge base.
After covering what the year 2019 entailed for him and his team, Bill went on to highlight trends he thought would continue to thrive in coming years, such as Hybrid and multi-cloud computing, Security Analytics & AI.
There can be little doubt that security needs to be one of our first concerns, so much soven Bill affirms that security is not just to be handled by security officers, but needs to now be a mainstream focus area for CIOs as well, in addition to security roles including CISOs.
There are various attack vectors and several risk profiles that we can’t just approach, thinking we can simply create a moat and a firewall in the older, angular Celtic castle model – as all too often we find that threats come from inside, that old design pattern simply doesn’t work anymore. Cybersecurity must be all-inclusive from language, behaviour, and culture to the chip level.
You need to “top your game”, as Bill puts it, which requires constant learning, and a platform approach to security. Intel has a fantastic legacy of baking security into the DNA of original silicon wafer levels of their technology, which I have always felt was a key driver of their success in this space. It allows them an enormous advantage point, as security is quite literally built-in, all the way up through the technology stack.
Bill even mentioned in this post-Snowden era that everyone needs to have an attack strategy and consider how to address insider threats, and those become even more vital as computing continues outside traditional data centres.
Bill stated, “We’ve done great security work in the public cloud, but at the edge, the security controls are just not there.”
He went on to say “Building security at the server and platform level is the only way you’re going to address security on the edge in distributed computing client globally. The landscape changes but the one truth exists, you have to bake security and performance in at the very early design phases.”
Everything appears to be unique, yet we’re actually managing a significant volume of similar things, often in entirely different and unique ways, resulting in duplication of effort and reduced value from investments.
From phishing to network engineers, human interactions are at every place, in each layer. It needs continuous attention. Be careful around continued education and execute advanced controls.
“Shrink the attack surface.” says Bill, “Hardware security helps us mitigate the breadth and reach those breaches achieve. We can bring that firewalling down into the socket with advanced silicon technologies and software around the core cache and memory to isolate that.”
Bill and I additionally discussed many of the really significant changes and challenges in the cloud this last year, be it the shift from data centre aisles of racks and administration programming to a defined framework through to the shift to new DevOps organisation models with Docker and Kubernetes. Here is a shift in thinking and approach to technical problem solving that is needed for IT, which never existed before, and it’s triggering huge cultural and behavioural changes. You’ll discover all of this and more like Bill, and I get to the cybersecurity questions in this podcast.
Bill states that he believes the key to solving today’s bigger business and technology challenges is to break the work down into small sections, stay flexible, and follow what people are excited about – that’s the opener to inspiring cultural transformations.
So as we prepare for what the year 2020 may bring, security needs get even more apparent and strong, but so does the cloud ecosystem. Both choices and competition are in abundance. People are not only involved in multi-cloud strategies; they are getting better at requiring full system-wide integration. It is about realising the complete “API economy”
Due to the type of service, or price point, we can now pick workloads in several places; the question now is, do we need to make better choices about where we put those workloads, whether internal private cloud with cloud design models or deploying into public cloud leveraging the likes of container solutions such as Docker and Kubernetes?
Bill and I also discuss cloud decision-making going away from price and even from agility. Determining workload location needs to be more about what’s the proper foundation for the workload, based on below four characteristics:
- The volume of the data: how you are using it, where you’re exhibiting it (as in production), and if you have to transfer it.
- Performance characteristics – do you require low latency, and who are you seeking to reach; a global salesforce could need a distributed infrastructure across the globe.
- Security cybersecurity questions
- Integration level with systems.
Bill stated that “Workload placement is really still at the forefront of what most organisations are doing, and then, what’s the right infrastructure to support where the application and data needs to be?”
I’m genuinely passionate about Intel’s one API” focus and the potential to drive common, consistent API models into numerous private, public, or hybrid clouds. I like the idea that I don’t need to consider the foundation at the CSP level; I just need to look at the relevant APIs and receive that service.
Bill admits that we will notice more uniform compatibility. The big providers encourage that while still allowing differentiation within their own stack. The business outcome report will take some time, but it’s occurring; it’s turning into a more significant factor in the decision-making.
I won’t reveal the ultimate crystal ball answer at the conclusion of the podcast; I’ll just note that it has to do with the genuine impact of distributed edge computing in a multi-cloud environment with quantum computing capabilities. Bill speaks about preparing for it, and his advice is to begin now and don’t wait to potentially have competitors beat you to it.