June 14, 2012
NASA, co-founder of OpenStack, has surreptitiously migrated a number of their cloud services to Amazon. In a June 8th blog post, agency CIO Linda Cureton talked about improved investment management practices and a number of cloud projects using Windows Azure and Amazon's Web Services.
It was just under a month ago when the agency ceased OpenStack development. Karen Petraska, service executive for computing services at NASA's CIO office, made the official announcement at the Uptime Institute's Symposium. The reason given for departure was OpenStack's growing commercial adoption. As a government entity, NASA found it unnecessary to participate in development of commercial technology. Instead, the agency would look to become a smart consumer of cloud services.
While turning to one of OpenStack's chief competitors definitely raises eyebrows, NASA is staying true to its word. Cureton had this to say about the migration to Amazon:
NASA shifted to a new web services model that uses Amazon Web Services for cloud-based enterprise infrastructure. This cloud-based model supports a wide variety of web applications and sites using an interoperable, standards-based, and secure environment while providing almost a million dollars in cost savings each year.
The agency has seemingly looked beyond their OpenStack roots and decided to keep all options on the table. In this case, Amazon Web Services provided the best cost to benefit analysis. NASA's funding is limited to just .4 percent of the federal budget, which might have driven their final decision.
Cureton mentioned two other cloud projects in her blog while keeping mum about OpenStack. The first involved NASA's Jet propulsion Laboratory, which uploaded 250,000 pictures of Mars to Windows Azure.
This "Be a Martian" initiative has been very popular, serving over 2.5 million data queries from crowd-sourcing applications and proving that the cloud can be a terrific way to reach and engage the public and support STEM activities in our schools.
The other program, named SERVIR, uses geospatial data to monitor changes in the environment. There was no mention as to what services support that project.
Dollars and cents aside, the choice may also suggest that NASA felt OpenStack was lacking certain features and benefits. It's also possible the agency preferred OpenStack, but Amazon's pricing model beat out the competition.
Obviously, Amazon is pleased with NASAs decision. Servicing the co-founder of a competing cloud platform is more symbolic for the company than anything else. The Amazon Web Services blog has already taken advantage of the situation, highlighting NASA's adoption of the platform.
On the other hand, this news does not bode as well for the OpenStack community. Joshua McKenty, former NASA employee and founder of Piston Cloud Computing, spoke with Wired about the agency's recent moves:
I see this totally out of context with whatever else NASA is doing as far as data center consolidation, virtualization, private cloud, all the stack software and everything else.
While the OpenStack platform has been steadily gaining big name contributors, including Dell, Intel, NetApp, HP and Yahoo, losing one of the project's creators to Amazon certainly doesn't send a good message.
Researchers from the Suddhananda Engineering and Research Centre in Bhubaneswar, India developed a job scheduling system, which they call Service Level Agreement (SLA) scheduling, that is meant to achieve acceptable methods of resource provisioning similar to that of potential in-house systems. They combined that with an on-demand resource provisioner to ensure utilization optimization of virtual machines.
Experimental scientific HPC applications are continually being moved to the cloud, as covered here in several capacities over the last couple of weeks. Included in that rundown, Co-founder and CEO of CloudSigma Robert Jenkins penned an article for HPC in the Cloud where he discussed the emergence of cloud technologies to supplement research capabilities of big scientific initiatives like CERN and ESA (the European Space Agency)...
When considering moving excess or experimental HPC applications to a cloud environment, there will always be obstacles. Were that not the case, the cost effectiveness of cloud-based HPC would rule the high performance landscape. Jonathan Stewart Ward and Adam Barker of the University of St. Andrews produced an intriguing report on the state of cloud computing, paying a significant amount of attention to the problems facing cloud computing.
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04/02/2012 | AMD | Developers today are just beginning to explore the potential of heterogeneous computing, but the potential for this new paradigm is huge. This brief article reviews how the technology might impact a range of application development areas, including client experiences and cloud-based data management. As platforms like OpenCL continue to evolve, the benefits of heterogeneous computing will become even more accessible. Use this quick article to jump-start your own thinking on heterogeneous computing.