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Remember Internet2? It's now a software-defined metacloud

Boffins can slice network into their own private connections for research and fun

By Richard Chirgwin, 30 Oct 2014

America's Internet2 research network is embracing the cloud, launching an SDN implementation designed to let academics create their own private clouds.

The SDN rollout uses the FlowSpace Firewall to slice up segments of connected campuses' 100 Gbps Internet2 connections into discrete slices whose resources are protected from other traffic on the network. That means the 40 attached nodes in America will be able to get their own OpenFlow slices on the network.

Backed by National Science Foundation (NSF) funding of $10 million, the first two projects to use the capability have now been launched: CloudLab and Chameleon.

CloudLab, led by the University of Utah, describes itself as a “metacloud” environment in which researchers can build their own clouds, with the aim of making getting a cloud as easy as getting a VM is today. Research clouds can either run existing cloud stacks (OpenStack and Hadoop are cited in this presentation), or researchers will be able to run a ground-up build.

Spread across three locations, CloudLab runs a total of 15,000 cores, and the Emulab and protoGENI software environments provide research-specific capabilities such as profiles that capture experimental metadata like software, data and hardware information.

Chameleon, to be deployed at the University of Chicago and the Texas Advanced Computing Center, will have 650 multi-core cloud nodes and a total of 5 PB of disk space. It's focus will be supporting work on cloud services, design and technologies, allowing users to work on “problems ranging from the creation of Software as a Service to kernel support for virtualisation”. ®

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