We’re Collaborating With Chameleon To Enable A New Future For Cloud Computing Research

Last week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a consortium of researchers announced funding for two cloud testbeds, named “Chameleon” and “CloudLab,” that will power academic research. The $20 million award will be split evenly between the two projects and will enable the academic research community to create and experiment with cloud architectures and transformative applications.  The projects will give researchers access to various processor, storage and networking solutions upon which to test their workloads.

The announcement is a signal that cloud services are quickly becoming the preferred model for scientific computation and big data. And the face of high-performance computing is changing faster than ever through innovative cloud offerings such as Rackspace OnMetal Cloud Servers.

The Computation Institute at the University of Chicago leads the NSF project, along with partners from the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas at Austin; the International Center for Advanced Internet Research at Northwestern University (iCAIR); the Network-Based Computing Laboratory at The Ohio State University; and the Cloud and BigData Laboratory at University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). These organizations combine to create a highly qualified and experienced team.

The Chameleon testbed, in which Rackspace will participate, will be deployed at the University of Chicago and the Texas Advanced Computing Center. It will consist of 650 multi-core cloud nodes and 5 PB of total disk space. It will leverage a 100 Gbps connection between the sites, including a federated cloud with the Rackspace Dallas (DFW) data center at 100 Gbps thru Internet2 for further extension. The team includes members from Rackspace, as well as the NSF supported FutureGrid project, and from the Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) community, both forerunners of the NSFCloud program that funds this project.

The Chameleon testbed will allow “bare-metal access” — an alternative to the virtualization technologies currently used to share cloud hardware – which allows for experimentation with new virtualization technologies that could improve reliability, security and performance. Along with developing next-generation cloud systems, the programs emphasize the importance of forward-looking applications related to medical devices, power grids and transportation systems.

This is awesome because it gives us the opportunity to work closely with research institutes to help fuel new, potentially groundbreaking research while also extending the reach of the Rackspace Managed Cloud.

About the Computation Institute at the University of Chicago
The Computation Institute (CI) was established in 2000 as a joint initiative between the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory to advance science through innovative computational approaches. Scholarship in the sciences, arts, and medicine depends increasingly on collection and analysis of large quantities of data and detailed numerical simulations of complex phenomena. Progress is gated by researchers’ ability to construct complex software systems, to harness large-scale computing, and to federate distributed resources. The CI is both an intellectual nexus and resource center for those building and applying such computational platforms for science. (www.ci.uchicago.edu)

About the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas at Austin
TACC operates many of the most powerful and capable high performance computing systems in the world, which are used by thousands of scientists and engineers each year to perform research in all domains of science, including the humanities, digital media, and the arts. At nearly 10 petaflops, Stampede is operational and available to the national open science community (as of January 7, 2013). Stampede is one of the world’s most comprehensive systems for the open science community as part of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) XSEDE (formerly NSF TeraGrid) program. (www.tacc.utexas.edu)

About the International Center for Advanced Internet Research at Northwestern University
The International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR) at Northwestern University was established to accelerate leading-edge innovation and enhanced digital global communications and networking technologies and to undertake this activity specifically in partnership with international network research communities. iCAIR undertakes international R&D projects in four key areas: advanced applications driven by next generation communication services and technologies, including applications required by data-intensive science, advanced network middleware, advanced infrastructure, and public policy initiatives. iCAIR also develops and manages several large-scale networking facilities, laboratories, and experimental network research facilities and major national and international testbeds in partnership with other organizations. (www.icair.org)

About the Network-Based Computing Laboratory at The Ohio State University
The Network-Based Computing Laboratory proposes new designs for high performance network-based computing systems by taking advantages of modern networking technologies and computing systems, develops better middleware, API, and programming environments so that modern network-based computing applications can be developed and implemented in a scalable and high performance manner, performing this research by integrating resources (systems, networking, and applications), and focuses on experimental computer science research. (nowlab.cse.ohio-state.edu)

About the UTSA Cloud and BigData Laboratory at University of Texas at San Antonio
The UTSA Cloud and BigData Laboratory was established to support cloud computing and big data research and development. The laboratory, developed in large part through industry collaboration, helps the international business community improve their computing platforms through open-source hardware and cloud and big data technologies. The university laboratory also trains a pipeline of students for the workforce. The Cloud and Big Data Laboratory, is devoted to the research of new technologies and innovations in various areas of computing such as Open Compute, OpenStack, and Software Defined Network (SDN). http://cs.utsa.edu/cloud

Paul Rad is an Open Cloud Research Strategist for Rackspace. Hestarted his career as a computer architect by founding Data Processing Corp, overseas before moving to the United States, and later held product and services leadership roles at Data Concepts and Dell Inc. He has numerous published articles on enterprise solutions and holds several U.S. patents in the fields of virtualization, clustering, software engineering and quality assurance. Paul holds a Master of Computer Architecture from Sharif University and a Master of Computer Science from University of Texas at San Antonio. Paul has been a strong supporter of connecting university and industry in order to build the future workforce. He is a standing committee member of Quantitative Literacy at University of Texas at San Antonio.

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