Open Cirrus Cloud Expands to Carnegie Mellon

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Carnegie Mellon University has become the latest research institution to host a site as part of Open Cirrus, the global cloud testbed created by HP, Intel, and Yahoo to provide researchers with access to an open source cloud platform for honing their development skills.

To become a testbed or Open Cirrus Center of Excellence, each participating institution is required to offer at least 1,000 cores to the cloud. There are 10 testbeds including facilities at HP Labs, Intel Research and Yahoo, as well as the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Intel donated to CMU some 148 high-end systems and an undisclosed amount of funds to invest in other equipment to enable the university to become a testbed. Each Intel system features two quad core CPUs and 16GB of main memory. Seventy eight of the machines house four 1TB disks. All in all, Carnegie Mellon’s Open Cirrus infrastructure has 159 servers and 1,165 processing cores, offering 2.4TB of memory and almost 900TB of storage.

APC helped to design the physical space that houses the cluster and provided its In Row Cooling technology, which provides close-coupled cooling for closets, server rooms and data centers.

CMU was already a user of the Intel Labs Pittsburgh Open Cirrus cluster on CMU’s campus. It was also the first university to use Yahoo’s M45 4,000-processor Hadoop-based cluster, which Yahoo opened to academic researchers in 2007. M45 became Yahoo’s Open Cirrus test bed when the search giant launched Open Cirrus with Intel and HP in 2008.

Greg Ganger, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of Carnegie Mellon’s Parallel Data Lab said CMU would continue to use both its own test bed and M45 for research into projects such as enabling applications to translate into different world languages without human intervention, and to develop single sign-on for multiple clouds. As well as being used by CMU’s own researchers, the CMU test bed will be open to external researchers to tap into.

“This site embodies our commitment to the collaborative, open-source research environment that Open Cirrus promotes and to aggressively pursuing cloud computing research on this campus,” he said.

Dejan Milojicic, scientist and senior research manager at HP Labs says Open Cirrus is unique because it is offers researchers equipment that is spread globally. Not only does this enable researchers to test applications across multiple clouds, it also presents thorny cloud challenges such as global privacy issues for researchers to examine.

Since its launch, Open Cirrus has held several closed meetings among its contributors but Milojicic says it plans to invite other HPC cloud operators, such as IBM and Google to participate.

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