Test to leverage cloud expansion

The compute cloud is here to stay, and it’s growing. Providers of IP, semiconductor devices, and complete systems are addressing cloud applications as are vendors of software ranging from enterprise-wide customer-relationship-management offerings to embedded-system design tools. And while applications in the IT space abound, technical cloud computing applications are emerging as well and will accelerate in the coming years.

Recent evidence is the March 24 announcement by Cisco Systems that it and its partners plan to build the world’s largest global “Intercloud,” which Cisco defines as a network of clouds. The Cisco global Intercloud is being architected for the Internet of Everything, which Cisco defines as the networked connection of people, data, processes, and things. The IoE, Cisco says, is expected to constitute a $19 trillion economic opportunity in the coming decade.

Cisco said it expects to invest more than $1 billion to build its expanded cloud business over the next two years.

“Customers, providers, and channel partners alike are turning to Cisco to create open and highly secure hybrid cloud environments, and they want to rapidly deploy valuable enterprise-class cloud experiences for key customers—all while mitigating the risk of capital investment,” said Robert Lloyd, president of development and sales, Cisco, in a press release. “The timing is right for Cisco and its partners to invest in a groundbreaking, application-centric global Intercloud to provide a broader reach and faster time to market. Together, we have the capability to enable a seamless world of many clouds in which our customers have the choice to enable the right, highly secure cloud for the workload while creating strategic advantages for rapid innovation, and ultimately, business growth.”

Cisco cited several organizations that either plan to deliver Cisco Cloud Services or have endorsed Cisco’s global Intercloud initiative: Australian service provider Telstra, Canadian business-communications provider Allstream, European cloud company Canopy, cloud services provider and wholesale technology distributor Ingram Micro, global IT and managed services provider Logicalis Group, global enterprise software-platform provider MicroStrategy, enterprise data-center IT solutions provider OnX Managed Services, information-availability services provider SunGard Availability Services, and consulting and outsourcing company Wipro.

According to a new report from IHS Technology, Cisco’s announcement will allow the company to cash in on the global trend of rising expenditures among enterprises for cloud architecture and services.

Building on its prowess in cloud infrastructure and applications, Cisco’s move is especially timely, IHS reported, noting that enterprises will spend more than $235 billion on cloud architecture and services by 2017—a 35% gain from the $174 billion projected to be spent this year and triple the $78 billion expended in 2011. This year alone, cloud spending is pegged to rise 20% from $145 billion last year (Figure 1).1

Figure 1. Global Spending Forecast by Enterprises on Cloud Architecture
Source: IHS, April 2014


“Enterprises today are trying to create faster, more efficient IT environments to ensure more responsive, agile, and successful businesses,” said Jagdish Rebello, Ph.D., senior director for information technology at IHS.2 “In these cloud-based settings, enterprises also want to integrate the deep analytical power of big data, which will give them competitive advantages through insights about present and prospective customers.”


Seamless part of life

The recognition of a shift in computing paradigm toward the cloud and beyond has led AMD to focus on what the company calls “Surround Computing,” according to Kamal Khouri, director of marketing. In an interview at EE Live in April, he said Surround Computing extends beyond the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing to become a seamless part of everyday life. And Surround Computing applies not just to consumers, but also to an assembly-line worker, a person controlling a train track, a doctor in a hospital room, and more.3

As machines become more intelligent, the human-machine interface is morphing, Kamal said. He cited an example in which your car navigates you to an ATM while instructing the ATM what transaction you want; the machine authenticates you via facial recognition and dispenses your cash without the need for a card or PIN.

AMD’s latest effort with regard to Surround Computing and embedded-system design is the announcement at EE Live of a multiyear agreement with Mentor Graphics to expand availability of open-source embedded Linux development for heterogeneous and multicore processors from AMD. Dedicated to providing embedded developers with a more manageable and focused open-source framework, the agreement will provide embedded developers with more supported processor options, robust development tools, and greater speed in open platform development.

As a Yocto Project-compatible product, Mentor Embedded Linux now will bring standardized features and tools, and ensure quick access, to the latest board support packages for AMD 64-bit x86 architecture, beginning with the upcoming AMD Embedded G-Series system-on-a-chip (SoC) (codenamed Steppe Eagle) and AMD Embedded R-Series APU/CPU (codenamed Bald Eagle). 

Embedded systems developers will have comprehensive access to the Mentor Embedded Linux development platform for customized embedded Linux development and commercial support as well as a no-cost Mentor Embedded Linux Lite derivative, providing all the essentials to evaluate Linux on AMD embedded processors. In addition, embedded developers also will have access to Sourcery CodeBench to gain insight into system execution and performance and applications debugging in Linux-based embedded systems.

Imagination Technologies chose EE Live to highlight its product offerings for IoT and wearable applications. The provider of IP for multimedia, communications, and 3-D graphics applications presented a variety of offerings related to MIPS, which it recently acquired: FlowCloud application-independent technology platform for emerging IoT and cloud-connected devices, enabling rapid construction and management of device-to-device and device-to-cloud applications; Toumaz solutions for the SensiumVitals System, an ultra-low power wireless patch remotely managed via Imagination’s FlowCloud technology; and FlowTalk and FlowAudio, Imagination’s solutions for connected audio and cross-platform V.VoIP/VoLTE, leveraging the FlowCloud tool.

Marketing cloud

Also addressing cloud computing are SAP and Adobe, which have announced a joint venture that will see SAP reselling Adobe Marketing Cloud. SAP and Adobe will invest joint development resources for additional product integration and marketing funds for joint co-marketing activities. Retail, consumer-packaged goods, and telecommunications will be some of the industry sectors targeted first by the partnership.

Gerry Brown, senior analyst for customer engagement and marketing technology at market-research firm Ovum, commented, “Although a strong player in the customer relationship management (CRM) area, SAP has always struggled to deliver a cogent digital marketing solution. SAP will leverage the SAP HANA in-memory database platform and the SAP hybris Commerce Suite with the Adobe Marketing Cloud to provide clients with a complete solution for omni-channel customer experience. This alliance fills this gap in SAP’s solutions portfolio and significantly augments the completeness of SAP’s overall digital offer.”4

Technical cloud

As National Instruments puts it in its latest Automated Test Outlook (ATO), companies such as Salesforce.com and Amazon Web Services are rapidly transforming CRM and web hosting in the IT arena as they challenge companies like Oracle and IBM. But, asks NI, “What is the cloud, and how will it impact the test-and-measurement industry?”5

Not surprisingly, NI believes the cloud will have a significant influence: “Though it has mainly impacted IT and commercial applications so far, the cloud is well positioned to have a similarly transformative effect on automated test in the coming years.” 

The ATO continues that test systems will take advantage of cloud computing to process, store, analyze, and present test data and perhaps data related to the health of the test system itself. Optimal+ (recently renamed from OptimalTest) already is pursuing this last category; David Park, vice president of worldwide marketing, has said the company estimates that 26% of return-material authorizations are due to test-equipment problems.6

The NI ATO goes on to say that just as the IT industry is moving from desktop applications to web-based applications running in the cloud, automated tests will move toward the web-based development of test programs that will execute in the cloud while interacting with specific measurement hardware.

The NI ATO concludes, “Over the next three to five years, the test-and-measurement industry will start seeing more cloud-based development platforms beginning to unlock the full range of benefits for automated test systems.”


  1. Rebello, J., Cloud & Big Data Report – A Paradigm Shift in the ICT Industry—2013, IHS Technology, Jan. 14, 2014. 
  2. “Enterprise Cloud Spending to Soar,” EE-Evaluation Engineering Online, April 9, 2014. 
  3. Nelson, R., “AMD teams with Mentor to pursue “Surround Computing,” Rick’s Blog, EE-Evaluation Engineering Online, April 6, 2014. 
  4. “Ovum comments on SAP, Adobe cloud venture,” EE-Evaluation Engineering Online, March 25, 2014. 
  5. “Cloud Computing for Test,” Automated Test Outlook 2014, p. 10, National Instruments.
  6. Nelson, R., “Semiconductor Vendors Mine Big Data for Quality,” EE-Evaluation Engineering, April 2014, p. 24.
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