UTSA opens Cloud and Big Data Laboratory to support computing research, training

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(Nov. 22, 2013) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio has opened a new laboratory to support cloud computing and big data research and development. The laboratory, developed in large part through industry collaboration, will help the international business community improve their computing platforms through open-source hardware and cloud and big data technologies. The university laboratory also will train a pipeline of students for the workforce.

"Our Cloud and Big Data Laboratory will allow us to venture into the unknown so we might better understand new technologies and methods of computing," said Paul Rad, director of the UTSA laboratory and vice president of research at Rackspace. "By pushing the limits of our current capabilities, expanding our knowledge and examining new usage models, we can dream up new fantastic ways to use technology in the future."

The Cloud and Big Data Laboratory, is devoted to the research of new technologies and innovations in various areas of computing such as Open Compute, OpenStack and Software Defined Network (SDN). The laboratory was built in collaboration with industry partners such as Rackspace, Facebook, Mellanox, Internet2 and others.

"In virtualized environments, Mellanox InfiniBand and 10/40 Gigabit Ethernet interconnect solutions with RDMA and SR-IOV technologies accelerate hypervisor performance by offloading tasks that are critical for large-scale workloads," said Kevin Deierling, vice president of marketing at Mellanox Technologies. "We are pleased to partner with The University of Texas at San Antonio and extend our research in the convergence of high-performance computing and cloud architectures to improve performance, efficiency and scalability."

"We are partnering with industry leaders to expand our academic and research focus to include the cutting-edge technologies and the problems that are significant to industry," said Raj Boppana, interim chair of the UTSA Department of Computer Science. "We want to continue to foster adoption of open technologies and make it easier to deploy open standard-based big data and cloud solutions."

"The experience of recent decades shows that open technology spurs faster innovation and eventually wins against proprietary technologies developed in a closed manner within individual companies," said John Engates, CTO of Rackspace. "We are also very committed to our partnership with the UTSA Cloud and Big Data Laboratory, as a center of teaching and research on cloud computing and very excited about the possibilities to provide our unique technology to benefit research, education and innovation."

UTSA has already leveraged Open Compute and OpenStack to research the convergence of high performance computing, cloud architectures and big data. Rad envisions the laboratory will offer technical training and hands-on experience in open cloud and big data solutions to help industry professionals understand the benefits of Open Compute, OpenStack and Software Defined Network.

"This new computer science laboratory is a win-win for UTSA and for our industry partners," said George Perry, dean of the UTSA College of Sciences. "Not only will it offer our researchers the opportunity to conduct top-tier research on new cloud and big data technologies, but it will give us an opportunity to train our students in those technologies, giving them the chance to learn skills that will make them extremely marketable job candidates upon graduation."

>> Learn more about the UTSA Department of Computer Science.