Open Cloud Test Bed Bolsters Big Data Innovation

By Tiffany Trader

April 28, 2014

On Friday, in the Western Massachusetts town of Holyoke, Governor Deval Patrick and officials from industry, government and academia joined together for the official launch of a $3 million capital investment, known as the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC) project. The public-private initiative will establish a new cloud computing infrastructure to serve as a virtual laboratory for big data researchers and innovators across the state. One of the first aims of the MOC Project will be to study the feasibility of operating HPC applications in this open cloud environment.

MassachusettsOpenCloud-logos-in-cloud-500xAlthough the MOC will begin as a research collaboration and testbed, the ultimate goal is for it to become an independent non-profit entity. Guiding its direction as it evolves from prototype to production to self-sustaining operation will be a wide range of stakeholders – a mix of academic, industry, government and non-profit members. The initial $3 million in funding is being provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under a Mass Tech Collaborative Matching Grant Award with another $16 million in matching funds coming from a mix of federal, industry and philanthropic sources.

The physical resources for the cloud, which will be implemented using an OpenStack framework, will be hosted at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC), the Holyoke, Mass., datacenter that was created in 2012 by Boston University (BU), Harvard University, MIT, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts (Umass). The 90,000 square foot, 10 megawatt facility is located on an 8.6 acre former industrial site just a few blocks from City Hall in Holyoke, Mass.

The five founding universities are also principal MOC partners along with Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Boston University’s Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science and Engineering is leading the project with operational leadership coming from Harvard University, development leadership from Northeastern University, community building from MIT, and related research falling under the purview of all five universities.

The initiative is based on the “Open Cloud eXchange” model, where hardware, software and other services can be supplied, purchased and resold by many participants, ranging from existing providers to startup innovators. As with popular public clouds from vendors like Amazon and Google, MOC provides access to massive off-site computational resources, but unlike those proprietary clouds, where all of the technology is controlled by a single provider, MOC uses an open and customizable approach to the design and operation of cloud computing.

It makes sense that a program designed to spur innovation would itself be on the cutting-edge. “The MOC will be the first realization of this model,” reports Orran Krieger, director of the Cloud Computing Initiative at the Hariri Institute. “If it’s successful, we expect other clouds to follow our model, fundamentally changing the nature of cloud computing.” Krieger is also a College of Arts & Sciences research professor of computer science at Boston University.

Krieger and fellow Boston University researcher Azer Bestavros were instrumental in designing the model, and seeing it to fruition.

“The Open Cloud Exchange (OCX) is envisioned as a public cloud marketplace in which many stakeholders, rather than just a single provider, participate in implementing and operating the cloud. This ecosystem would enable innovation from the broader academic and industry communities, resulting in a much healthier and more efficient cloud marketplace,” the duo write in a recent paper.

They make the case that a closed cloud stifles innovation, whereas an open cloud promotes it. With a comparison to open source software, the authors are confident an open cloud will also enhance security.

“Th[e] single-provider model results in strong homogeneity in cloud providers’ offerings,” they write. “This not only limits research but also results in a monoculture that’s susceptible to security threats. Security concerns also arise because public clouds are designed under the assumption that the cloud operator is fundamentally trusted. No documented technologies or policies keep a cloud provider, or even a disgruntled employee, from instrospecting on a customer’s network traffic, computers or even private datasets. We argue that an open cloud would deliver some of the same long-recognized security benefits as has open source software development.”

According to the project’s website, the MOC has two overarching goals:

  • To create an improved computing resource for cloud and big data users in the Commonwealth.
  • To create a new model of cloud computing that enables research and technology companies to innovate and profit in the cloud and big data sectors.

Major tasks and milestones have been divided into three main categories:

  • Deploying, operating, and maintaining a production cloud service with technology partners.
  • Enhancing OpenStack to enable multiple competing providers to participate in a shared cloud.
  • Working with a broad industry and academic community to enable new workloads and users to exploit the cloud.

The MOC project is already enjoying strong industry support. Founding vendor partners include Cisco, DataDirect Networks, EMC, SGI, Red Hat, Juniper Networks, Canonical, Dell, Intel, Mellanox, Brocade, Mathworks, Plexxi, Cambridge Computer Services, Enterprise DB, and Riverbed.

DDN’s role in the project will be to contribute its Web Object Scaler (WOS) software to enable a low latency object storage service. DDN’s Chief Technology Officer Jean-Luc Chatelain notes that while the initial interface to the WOS cloud will be through OpenStack APIs, the company expects to be able to test multiple interfaces and configurations at large scale. (WOS can host up 32 trillion objects, according to the company.) In an interview with HPCwire, Dave Fellinger, DDN Chief Scientist, emphasized the importance of data management in a federated environment to enable collaboration. The MOC Project has a long-term goal of federating with other datacenters, and DDN’s WOS platform has been designed to enable this service, without involving servers or any external management devices.

As Fellinger further explains, WOS was designed to be an efficient means of data replication and data recovery. The software establishes on each storage node a demon that runs across the entire storage cluster, tracking and recovering data on a peer to peer basis. If a disk drive fails, the node will retrieve the objects and replace them automatically without any server involvement.

SGI is another company that’s excited to be collaborating on the Massachusetts Open Cloud project. “SGI’s computational infrastructure is purpose-built to handle workflows that lie at the intersection of HPC and Big Data – High Performance Data Analysis is a growing area for data scientists in both academic and commercial settings, and we are proud to help Massachusetts grow its leadership efforts in these areas,” Jorge Titinger, president and CEO of SGI states. “As a result of this collaboration SGI expects to contribute to further advances in Knowledge Discovery, the science of extracting exceptional insights from very large and continuously dynamic data sets, paving the way for real Big Data innovation.”

Governor Patrick also announced the release of the 2014 Mass Big Data Report, which identifies and outlines the opportunities for innovation and growth within the big data industry, providing strategic recommendations for policymakers. According to findings in the report, the global big data market is expected to hit $48 billion by 2017, up from $11.6 billion in 2012. Hardware and services are expected to continue to account for the greatest share of revenue, however, the fastest growing sector, according to the report, is likely to be in big data-enabled applications. In Mass., big data applications are especially well-represented in healthcare, life sciences and financial services, and local firms are seeking to fill as many as 3,000 jobs related to these fields over the next 12 months.

“Investment in the Massachusetts Open Cloud will help keep our Commonwealth at the forefront of big data research nationally, expanding opportunities for innovators to build advanced cloud computing solutions,” said Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “As cited in the 2014 Mass Big Data Report, we must continue developing cross-sector collaborations like the Massachusetts Open Cloud, in order to spur innovation and foster industry growth.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Democratization of HPC Part 3: Ninth Graders Tap HPC in the Cloud to Design Flying Boats

October 18, 2018

This is the third in a series of articles demonstrating the growing acceptance of high-performance computing (HPC) in new user communities and application areas. In this article we present UberCloud use case #208 on how Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Håkon Bull Hove

Penguin Computing Launches Consultancy for Piecing AI Strategies Together

October 18, 2018

AI stands before the HPC industry as a beacon of great expectations, yet market research repeatedly shows that AI adoption is commonly stuck in the talking phase, on the near side of a difficult chasm to cross. In respon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Water Quality—Not Quantity—Hinders HPC Cooling

October 18, 2018

Attention has been paid to the sheer quantity of water consumed by supercomputers’ cooling towers – and rightly so, as they can require thousands of gallons per minute to cool. But in the background, another factor can emerge, bottlenecking efficiency and raising costs: water quality. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

One Small Step Toward Mars: One Giant Leap for Supercomputing

Since the days of the Space Race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, we have continually sought ways to perform experiments in space. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Paper Offers ‘Proof’ of Quantum Advantage on Some Problems

October 18, 2018

Is quantum computing worth all the effort being poured into it or should we just wait for classical computing to catch up? An IBM blog today posed those questions and, you won’t be surprised, offers a firm “it’s wo Read more…

By John Russell

Penguin Computing Launches Consultancy for Piecing AI Strategies Together

October 18, 2018

AI stands before the HPC industry as a beacon of great expectations, yet market research repeatedly shows that AI adoption is commonly stuck in the talking phas Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Water Quality—Not Quantity—Hinders HPC Cooling

October 18, 2018

Attention has been paid to the sheer quantity of water consumed by supercomputers’ cooling towers – and rightly so, as they can require thousands of gallons per minute to cool. But in the background, another factor can emerge, bottlenecking efficiency and raising costs: water quality. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Paper Offers ‘Proof’ of Quantum Advantage on Some Problems

October 18, 2018

Is quantum computing worth all the effort being poured into it or should we just wait for classical computing to catch up? An IBM blog today posed those questio Read more…

By John Russell

Dell EMC to Supply U Michigan’s Great Lakes Cluster

October 16, 2018

The University of Michigan (U-M) today announced Dell EMC is the lead vendor for U-M’s $4.8 million Great Lakes HPC cluster scheduled for deployment in first Read more…

By John Russell

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Platform Pushes GPUs into Machine Learning, High Performance Data Analytics

October 10, 2018

GPU leader Nvidia, generally associated with deep learning, autonomous vehicles and other higher-end enterprise and scientific workloads (and gaming, of course) Read more…

By Doug Black

Federal Investment in Exascale – What It Really Means

October 10, 2018

Earlier this month, the EuroHPC JU (Joint Undertaking) reached critical mass, and it seems all EU and affiliated member states, bar the UK (unsurprisingly), have or will sign on. The EuroHPC JU was born from a recognition that individual EU member states, and the EU as a whole, were significantly underinvesting in HPC compared to the US, China and Japan, who all have their own exascale investment and delivery strategies (NSCI, 13th 5 Year Plan, Post-K, etc). Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

NERSC-9 Clues Found in NERSC 2017 Annual Report

October 8, 2018

If you’re eager to find out who’ll supply NERSC’s next-gen supercomputer, codenamed NERSC-9, here’s a project update to tide you over until the winning bid and system details are revealed. The upcoming system is referenced several times in the recently published 2017 NERSC annual report. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

D-Wave Breaks New Ground in Quantum Simulation

July 16, 2018

Last Friday D-Wave scientists and colleagues published work in Science which they say represents the first fulfillment of Richard Feynman’s 1982 notion that Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

HPC on Wall Street 2018 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Arista

Dell EMC

IBM

Intel

RStor

VMWare

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GPUs Power Five of World’s Top Seven Supercomputers

June 25, 2018

The top 10 echelon of the newly minted Top500 list boasts three powerful new systems with one common engine: the Nvidia Volta V100 general-purpose graphics proc Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

Aerodynamic Simulation Reveals Best Position in a Peloton of Cyclists

July 5, 2018

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and KU Leuven research group conducts the largest numerical simulation ever done in the sport industry and cycling discipline. The goal was to understand the aerodynamic interactions in the peloton, i.e., the main pack of cyclists in a race. Read more…

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This