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September 28, 2010

Cloud Computing Test Bed Open Cirrus Announces Expansion

By Madhubanti Rudra, TMCnet Contributor


Cloud is the latest buzzword in the industry and an increasing number of industry leaders are teaming up to further its scope. Launched in 2008, Open Cirrus is an important initiative by world’s some of the major organizations. The fourth Open Cirrus Summit was recently hosted by Carnegie Melon University and Intel (News - Alert) Labs Pittsburgh in cooperation with HP and Yahoo! Inc. In the event, HP, Intel Corporation and Yahoo! announced the expansion of Open Cirrus with the addition of four new organizations.

The four new members of Open Cirrus are: China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI), the Supercomputing Center of Galicia (CESGA), China Telecom's (News - Alert) Guangzhou Research Institute (GSTA), and Georgia Tech University's Center for Experimental Research in Computer Systems (CERCS). The new members are expected to enrich the joint research efforts by expanding the global footprint of Open Cirrus to 14 locations and creating the most geographically diverse cloud computing test bed currently available to researchers.

Open Cirrus is a global, multiple data center, and open source test bed for the advancement of cloud computing research. When it comes to slashing IT budget, there is nothing like cloud computing. Then cloud computing allows customers to have access to powerful applications on a wider variety of devices. Still in the nascent stage, cloud computing presents many challenges for the developers. Lack of adequate R&D initiatives is one of the challenges that the sector is currently facing. In order to advance the technology toward next generation innovations, the R&D professionals need a systematic access to cloud computing resources. R&D is also essential for developing new tools, techniques and applications. Open Cirrus was created to address these challenges.

Open Cirrus was created 2 years ago to promote open collaboration among industry, academia and governments. The initiative was aimed at removing the financial and logistical constraints to research in data-intensive, internet-scale computing. The test bed, which has more than 80 research projects currently underway, simulates a real-life, global, internet-scale environment and gives researchers an unprecedented ability to test applications and measure the performance of infrastructure and services built to run on large-scale cloud systems.

As for example, Carnegie Mellon University is collaborating with Intel to use Open Cirrus to advance stem cell research, pairing a microscopic imaging system with cloud-based visual processing to automatically analyze the behaviors of each stem cell in a large population under various culture conditions.

Then, HP is using Open Cirrus to build a Cloud Sustainability Dashboard to evaluate and understand the overall sustainability impact of cloud computing.

Yahoo! is using Open Cirrus to support a broad range of computer science research, from web-scale machine learning and natural language processing to Wikipedia analysis to understand "the wisdom of crowds."

The expansion of the Open Cirrus community will make an important value addition to the Open Cirrus test bed by providing researchers access to new approaches and skill sets. All these will ultimately enable the researchers to more quickly realize the full potential of cloud computing. Each of the new sites will contribute tools and best practices, and help further benchmark and compare alternative approaches to service management at data center scale.


Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda