What is Intercloud?
Intercloud, as the name suggests, is a network of clouds that are connected with each other in some form. This includes private, public, and hybrid clouds that come together to provide a seamless exchange of data, infrastructure, and computing capabilities. In many ways, it is similar to the Internet- the network of networks that power the world today.
This concept of Intercloud was started as a research project in 2008 at Cisco, and it was later taken over by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). It is based on the idea that no single cloud can provide all the infrastructure and computing capability needed for the entire world. Also, if a cloud does not have a presence in a particular geographic region, but gets a request for storage or computation, it should still be in a position to fulfill it. In addition, if a particular cloud has reached its maximum capacity and yet if more resource is needed, the cloud should be able to borrow from another cloud seamlessly, so the user has no idea whether it is coming from a single cloud or from a combination of clouds. To achieve these objectives, Intercloud is seen as the best solution.
So, how does it work? Let’s look at a practical scenario. You’re traveling to a foreign country, and you use your cell phone to make a call. The call will go through and you’ll talk to the person you want, even if your service provider does not have a presence in the country in which you’re traveling. How is this possible? Cell phone providers enter into an agreement with providers of different countries to use their network for routing calls. In technical terms, this is called inter-carrier operability. As a result of this agreement, the call you make is routed through the partner’s network to help you talk to someone. The best part is you have no idea how your call is routed, and you don’t care about the technical aspects too, as long as you’re able to make the call you want. The same principle applies for Intercloud too.
When a cloud is saturated or gets a request from a new geographical region, it simply taps into its partners’ infrastructure to give the service you want. Here too, you’ll never know which cloud provider is servicing you, as long as you’re able to store or access what you want. In fact, such a convenience can help cloud providers to offer a more comprehensive service to its customers. Due to these reasons, more cloud providers are looking to enter into such strategic partnerships with other cloud providers who have a strong presence in local regions.
Currently, this technology is in its nascent stage, as it requires substantial efforts and advancements in technology to improve interoperability and sharing among network providers. The good news is that a lot of companies, and organizations such as IEEE have started working towards it, so we can expect the concept of Intercloud to become a reality soon.