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October 22, 2010

NASA Announces Pre-Release of Nebula Cloud Services

Nicole Hemsoth

This week NASA announced that it had migrated the existing VM images and volumes of 250 or so users who were using Nebula during the season-long beta period of NASA Nebula-powered Cloud Services, and more importantly, that the pre-release of NASA Cloud Service was officially being made available to all NASA personnel. 

According to NASA, “plans call for the pre-release to be seamlessly transitioned to production after the Operational Readiness Review (ORR) is completed in the coming weeks.

While the services have been available, this does not mean that there will be instant wholesale adoption across the agency given that this is more of a “come and get it” call for potential users. 

Despite the cautious nature of the roll-out, NASA has reported that within the first day following the announcement of the pre-release, around 50 new endeavors are gearing up to use Nebula, which represents only a fraction of the 250 users who used it during the beta period.

During an interview with InformationWeek, NASA’s CTO, Chris Kemp noted that NASA Cloud Services, which have been designed with scientific users and their applications in mind, now presents researchers with an “alternative where they can get up and running more quickly than buying things off the shelf…We’re trying to prevent people from buying unnecessary servers and infrastructure and make their applications faster in speed and faster to provision.

At its roots is a 10GbE switching fabric, which as InformationWeek’s Nicholas Hoover notes is “at a major peering location for Tier 1 ISPs and connects to high-speed academic and research networks CENIC and Internet2, thereby mitigating latency concerns.” Nebula users are granted with 100 GB of storage and top performance power-wise.

The Nebula team noted the addition of some new features to the platform, the most significant of which is the overall improvement of the user interface. In addition to this simplification of use, the also announced that other new features include a per-project firewall-based security groups control panel, quota tracking by project, user-determined instance and image names.

Full story at NASA Nebula