Friday, June 12, 2009

Cloud grows globally: Russia, South Korea, and Malaysia join Open Cirrus Initiative

More evidence has emerged that cloud research and development is a growing worldwide phenomenon.

The Open Cirrus initiative spread across more borders this week with the addition of the Russian Academy of Sciences, South Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Malaysia (MIMOS).

A global, multiple data center, open-source test bed for the advancement of cloud computing research, Open Cirrus was started last summer by HP, Intel Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. The goal is to “promote open collaboration among industry, academia and governments by removing the financial and logistical barriers to research in data-intensive, Internet-scale computing,” the founders say.

Prior to announcing the three newest members at this week’s Open Cirrus Summit in Palo Alto, Calif., the founders had already attracted researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, and the Infocomm Development Authority, Singapore.

Noting that IDC predicts that cloud computing will become a $42 billion market by 2012, rival IBM announced its own Blue Cloud initiative earlier this year and in April opened its first cloud computing laboratory in Hong Kong. IBM is also ramping up its PaaS offerings.

HP also has developed Cloud Assure to help make any moves to cloud models mission critical in nature. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Not to be left out, Oracle Corp. is refining its grid middleware into cloud software products and is partnering with Amazon Web Services, one of the early cloud pioneers.

And, of course, the other 900-pound gorilla, Microsoft, has its Azure initiative although it is not entirely clear what shape that cloud will take.

So as vaudeville comic Jimmy Durante used to say when the stage got crowded: “Everybody wants to get into the act.”

The HP, Intel, Yahoo! initiative is impressive not only for the membership it is attracting but for the seriousness and scope of the Open Cirrus approach.

With a growing membership list, the Open Cirrus community offers researchers worldwide “access to new approaches and skill sets that will enable them to more quickly realize the full potential of cloud computing,” according to this week’s announcement. The new members plan to host additional test bed research sites, expanding Open Cirrus to nine locations, “creating the most geographically diverse cloud computing test bed currently available to researchers.”

This expands the cloud test bed to an “unprecedented scale,” according to Prith Banerjee, senior vice president of research at HP and director of HP Labs. He sees the Open Cirrus collaboration with academia, government and industry as “vital in charting the course for the future of cloud computing in which everything will be delivered as a service.”

The new members bring impressive resources to Open Cirrus.

The Russian Academy of Sciences, the first Eastern European institution to join Open Cirrus, provides R&D from three of its own organizations:
  • Institute for System Programming (ISP), which will conduct fundamental scientific research and applications in the field of system programming.

  • Joint SuperComputer Center (JSCC), which will engage in the processing of large arrays of biological data, nanotechnology, 3D modeling and other applications, and port them to cloud infrastructure.

  • Russian Research Center Kurchatov Institute, which will explore how cloud computing is different from other technologies, and apply its techniques for large-scale data processing.
South Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute plans to conduct research and development on the management architecture and content retrieval of massive data sets.

MIMOS in Malaysia plans to develop a national cloud computing platform to deploy services throughout Malaysia, focusing on enabling services through software, security frameworks and mobile interactivity, as well as testing new cloud tools and methodologies.

Andrew Chien, vice president and director of Intel Research sees these added resources and projects creating a critical mass for “our vision of an open-source cloud stack as a strong, large-scale platform for research and development.”

BriefingsDirect contributor Rich Seeley provided research and editorial assistance to BriefingsDirect on this post. He can be reached at

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