Researchers from a collaboration of six European organisations have attracted funding worth €2.3million to develop a new Internet-based software project called StratusLab. The two year project, headed up by Project Coordinator Dr Charles Loomis from CNRS, was launched in Paris on the 14th of June 2010. It aims to enhance distributed computing infrastructures, such as the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI), that allow research and higher education institutes from around the world to pool computing resources.
Funded through the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the two year project aims to successfully integrate ‘cloud computing’ technologies into ‘grid’ infrastructures. Grids link computers and data that are scattered across the globe to work together for common goals, whilst cloud computing makes software platforms or virtual servers available as a service over the Internet, usually on a commercial basis, and provides a way for organisations to access computing capacity without investing directly in new infrastructure. Behind cloud services are data centres that typically house large numbers of processors and vast data storage systems. Linking grid and cloud technologies will result in major benefits for European academic research and is part of the European Commission strategy to develop European computing infrastructures.
StratusLab will integrate, distribute and maintain a sustainable open-source cloud distributionto bring cloud to existing and new grid sites. The StratusLab toolkit will be composed of existing cutting edge open source software, and the innovative service and cloud management technologies developed in the project. The StratusLab toolkit will integrate OpenNebula, the leading open-source toolkit for cloud computing. OpenNebula is a cloud management tool that is widely used in several grid and HPC sites.
Speaking about the project, Project Coordinator Dr Charles Loomis said: “Computer grids are used by thousands of researchers in many scientific fields. For example, the data from the Large Hadron Collider’s experiments, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator situated at CERN in Switzerland, are distributed via an international grid infrastructure to be processed at institutes around Europe and the world. The StratusLab toolkit will make the grid easier to manage and will allow grids to tap into commercial cloud services to meet peak demands. Later it will allow organisations that already provide a grid service to offer a cloud service to academic users, whilst retaining the many benefits of the grid approach.”
The StratusLab project will bring several benefits to the distributed computing infrastructure ecosystem including simplified management, added flexibility, increased maintainability, quality, energy efficiency and resilience of computing sites. It will benefit a wide variety of users from scientists, who can use the systems to run scientific analyses, to system administrators and hardware technicians, who are responsible for running grid services and maintaining the hardware and infrastructure at various resource centres.
The StratusLab project brings together six organisations, all key players with recognised leadership, proven expertise, experience and skills in grid and cloud computing. This collaboration presents a balanced combination of academic, research and industrial institutes with complementary capabilities. The participating organisations include the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France; the DSA-Research Group at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain; the Greek Research and Technology Network S.A., Greece; SixSq Sárl, Switzerland; Telefonica Investigacion y Desarrollo, Spain, and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
About the StratusLab Project
The StratusLab project consists of numerous collaborators from six European research institutions. A website can be accessed via the following address: www.stratuslab.eu. The project is partially funded by the European Commission through the Grant Agreement RI-261552.
OpenNebula is the most advanced open-source toolkit for building private, public and hybrid clouds, offering unique features for cloud management and providing the integration capabilities that many enterprise IT shops need for internal cloud. OpenNebula is the result of many years of research and development in efficient and scalable management of virtual machines on large-scale distributed infrastructures. The technology has been designed to address the requirements of business use cases from leading companies in the context of flagship international projects in cloud computing. For more info: http://www.OpenNebula.org
About European Union Framework Programme 7
The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) bundles all research-related EU initiatives together under a common roof playing a crucial role in reaching the goals of growth, competitiveness and employment. The framework programme runs a number of programmes under the headings Cooperation, Ideas, People and Capacities. All specific programmes work together to promote and encourage the creation of European poles of scientific excellence. More information on FP7 can be obtained from http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/home_en.html.