The US government's National Science Foundation has handed out $20m in funding for two big new cloud computing research projects.
The funding has been allocated because the foundation feels commercial clouds are built with a particular purpose in mind, leaving them rather good at particular jobs but not the best possible testbeds for experimentation.
The two clouds the cash will go towards building are therefore designed to be reconfigurable so that boffins can tweak them in all sorts of ways.
One project, “Chameleon”, will comprise a 650-node rig, backed by five petabytes of storage. The project is said to offer “heterogeneous computer architectures, including low-power processors, general processing units and field-programmable gate arrays, as well as a variety of network interconnects and storage devices.”
Boffins using the rig will be able to “mix-and-match hardware, software and networking components and test their performance.” Chameleon will be co-located at the University of Chicago and The University of Texas at Austin.
The second project is a three-bit-barn, 15,000-core, one-petabyte bruiser called “CloudLab”.
This system's three data centers will link over Internet2 at 100Gbps and employ OpenFlow to enable it to be reconfigured. Each of the three bit barns will contain different kit and the idea seems to be that boffins will assemble clouds out of different components.
HP, Cisco and Dell have each thrown some hardware at the CloudLab project, which will live at the University of Utah, Clemson University and the University of Wisconsin. ®