The facility, CloudLab, will be run by the University of
Cloud computing allows companies and everyday consumers alike to "rent" computers and data storage. Tasks that previously would have been performed by a desktop computer or a company's server can be stored in computers in the cloud and accessed over the web. These tasks include running software applications and storing files. "The cloud" refers to large pools of linked computers, typically in data centers, which perform this offsite data processing and storage.
Cloud computing has changed dramatically the way people and companies use computing services. The cloud enables larger companies such as
Many of the technologies underpinning cloud computing were explored first by computer scientists. Now, these building blocks are part of the proprietary inner workings of commercial clouds, making it difficult for researchers to run scientific studies of cloud computing, share data and create large-scale clouds for new software.
"CloudLab will help researchers develop clouds that enable new applications with direct benefit to the public in areas of national priority, such as real-time disaster response or the security of private data like medical records," says
Clouds can help with disaster response and storing medical data because they provide more data capacity. This means individuals and companies can store more data, handle streaming or changing data, and keep the data secure. For example, in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane, the flexibility of the cloud would allow access to communication services, websites and databases to help people find each other and best allocate emergency resources.
"Today's clouds are designed with a specific set of technologies 'baked in,' meaning some kinds of applications work well in the cloud, and some don't," Ricci adds. "CloudLab will be a facility where researchers can build their own clouds and experiment with new ideas with complete control, visibility and scientific accuracy."
The U team is building CloudLab at the U's downtown data center, which houses all the cyberinfrastructure-based computing and storage needs of the university, including
Ricci and his
In addition, the U investigators will collaborate with
CloudLab builds on a successful computer network previously developed at the U called Emulab, which has been operating for nearly 15 years. Emulab is an experimental software environment freely available to computer science researchers worldwide to test, develop, debug and evaluate networked systems.
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