SAN JOSE, Calif. Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Yahoo have partnered with three research groups to create an open source test bed for research in cloud-computing, the concept of using globally distributed computers as a platform for delivering services. In May, Google and IBM announced a similar research collaboration working with MIT, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon in a Linux-based environment.
HP, Intel and Yahoo have partnered with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. Each partner will host a cloud computing research site, largely based on HP and Intel hardware with 1,000 to 4,000 processor cores.
The test beds will undertake research and training in a wide array of Internet-scale computing issues. Work is expected to span subjects ranging from data center hardware design to systems and applications software issues including automatic resource allocation, scheduling, monitoring and management.
The test beds are expected to be operational and made available to researchers through a selection process later this year. They will generally run open source software including Apache Hadoop and Pig, the parallel programming language developed by Yahoo Research. In addition, Intel will support Tashi, an open source cluster management system for cloud computing.
"With this test bed, not only can researchers test applications at Internet scale, they will also have access to the underlying computing systems to advance understanding of how systems software and hardware function in a cloud environment," said Prabhakar Raghavan, head of Yahoo Research, speaking in a prepared statement.
Raghavan joined Yahoo from IBM Research in 2005 with a mandate to build a research division for the company focused on an emerging field of what he calls Internet sciences.
"Cloud computing is considered by many to be the next paradigm shift in computer technology, and this may be the next 'platform' for innovative ecosystems." said Khoong Hock Yun, an assistant chief executive at IDA in Singapore, also speaking in the group's press statement.
Through IDA in Singapore and the National Science Foundation in the U.S., both countries' governments are participating in the effort.
"To realize the full potential of cloud computing, the technology industry must think about the cloud as a platform for creating new services and experiences," said Prith Banerjee, director of HP Labs in the group statement. "This requires an entirely new approach to the way we design, deploy and manage cloud infrastructure and services," he added.
HP hopes to use the test bed to experiment in radically new architectures for the data center, Banerjee added in a conference call the partners held. "This multiple data center approach lets us test out ideas at scale," he said.
"Creating large-scale test beds is important because they lower barriers to innovation and provide the opportunity to experiment and learn at scale," said Andrew A. Chien, director of Intel Research, speaking in the statement.
In the conference call Chien said the new partnership has a broader research focus that the IBM/Google effort.
"My understanding is the IBM/Google partnership is focused on applications," Chien said. "We're trying to support research at a variety of levels including systems software and even hardware Intel might put in its future silicon," he said.
The partnership follows two similar moves from Yahoo. In November 2007, the Internet search company opened a cloud computing research site with Carnegie Mellon University as its first partner. In May 2008, Yahoo struck an agreement to do cloud computing research on a supercomputing system hosted by India's Computational Research Laboratories.
Yahoo also hosted earlier this year the Hadoop Summit and Data-Intensive Computing Symposium to bring together researchers working in the field. Also this year, HP formed a so-called Scalable Computing and Infrastructure Organization to address this emerging market.