UTSA Cloud and BigData Laboratory launches OpenStack Cloud on Open Compute hardware

lab ribbon cutting

Ribbon cutting at new UTSA Cloud and BigData Laboratory

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(May 7, 2014) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio announced today that the Cloud and BigData Laboratory in the UTSA College of Sciences is launching one of the largest Open Clouds in academia with initial 6,600 COREs utilizing OpenStack software, co-founded by Rackspace and Open Compute hardware, founded by Facebook, to support advanced computing and big-data analytics research.

The UTSA Cloud and BigData Laboratory, with more than 20 doctoral students, is devoted to the research of new technologies and innovations in various areas of computing such as OpenStack integrated with a Low Latency Interconnect and High Performance Cloud, Cyber Security, Hybrid and Federated Cloud, ZeroVM and BigData Analytics. The laboratory was built in collaboration with industry partners such as Rackspace, Open Compute Project Communities, Mellanox, Internet2 and many others.

"We believe Open Compute, OpenStack and Software Defined Data Center are going to be the next computing platforms to support all of the emerging cloud and big data technologies," said C. Mauli Agrawal, UTSA vice president for research. "These partnerships with OpenStack, ZeroVM and Open Compute communities will create research and educational leadership opportunities for UTSA, San Antonio and across Texas."

The primary goals for the laboratory include:

  • Building infrastructure research in collaboration with industry partners and Open communities
  • Enabling engineering and scientific research on Open Cloud with bursting to public clouds
  • Training a pipeline of students to be prepared for the future demands of the workforce.

"I want to congratulate UTSA on their hard work in making the Cloud and Big Data lab a reality," said John Engates, CTO of Rackspace. "Combining the intellectual and technological resources of UTSA, the Open Compute Project and Rackspace's expertise in running open technologies, the collaboration will help further position San Antonio as a technology hub and a leader in solving some of the most complex computing challenges in an open and transparent way. By embracing open technologies such as OpenStack and Open Compute, schools like UTSA give their students an advantage in the tech world. I know the students, the city and the world will receive the benefits of this major achievement."

The UTSA laboratory researchers are building the cloud using a multiple cell concept. Each cell consists of compute, storage and network nodes that are built using the Open Compute hardware, and OpenStack software with bursting capability to public clouds. Theoretically, the Open Compute hardware and the OpenStack software would both allow for flexibility in adapting the systems to changing engineering and scientific application requirements.

"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 George Perry, dean of the UTSA College of Sciences. "We want to continue to foster adoption of open technologies and make it easier to deploy open standard-based big data and cloud solutions."

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Partner comments

Mellanox Technologies:
"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 low-latency cloud architectures to improve performance, efficiency and scalability."

Edge-Core Networks:
"As a leading provider of open data center switches, Edge-Core Networks welcomes UTSA's research into SDN and cloud infrastructures built on open hardware," said Min Chou, president of Edge-Core Networks. "We are pleased to donate our 1GbE and 10GbE top-of-rack switches to the Cloud and Big Data Lab that will support a range of switchOS, SDN, and cloud orchestration software and infrastructure designs."

AMAX:
"Currently, the most pressing technology demand across all major industries comes within the arena of cloud and data analytics, particularly meeting these application needs in the form of converged infrastructures," said Julia Shih, director of strategic alliance, AMAX. "We are very excited to combine UTSA's research capabilities with AMAX's expertise in OpenStack converged cloud infrastructures to meet and exceed this demand, not only in the form of highly-efficient and modular data center solutions, but also with our Open Compute platforms integrated with GPUs designed for high performance parallel computing."

Cumulus Networks:
"As a long-standing supporter of the Open Compute Platform, we are excited to see our initial contributions evolve and help lay the foundation for the first North American open computing testing laboratory," said Reza Malekzadeh, vice president of business at Cumulus Networks. "UTSA's work in conjunction with the OpenStack and Open Compute projects will help to standardize open compute hardware development, making it easier for companies to adopt these technologies within their own infrastructures while preparing students and engineers for the future demands in IT."

Internet2:
"The University of Texas at San Antonio has done a magnificent job bringing together industry, higher education and the research community to create this open-compute lab as a research hub for high-performance computing," said Steve Wolff, Internet2 chief technology officer. "This endeavor will provide unique services via OpenStack to advance research, scholarship and practice for health care and other sectors. The Internet2 community looks forward to using this new open-source resource for high-performance computing."