Platform virtualisation as well as software and hardware optimisation are key elements of the second phase of CERN openlab, a partnership between CERN, the researcher of nuclear fusion, and HP, Intel and Oracle.
The second phase of CERN openlab builds on experience from the last three years, where the partnership is said to have yielded excellent technical results in the field of cluster and grid computing.
Activities are based around a platform competence centre, a grid interoperability centre and an IT security initiative. It is this platform competence centre that focuses on platform virtualisation as well as software and hardware optimisation.
Platform virtualisation at CERN enables grid applications to benefit from a secure and standardised environment presented by a ‘virtual machine hypervisor’, independent of any the hardware intricacies. Software and hardware optimisation is seen as a vital part of the deployment of a global computing grid for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CERN’s flagship accelerator, which is due to start operations in 2007.
CERN believes that optimisation can help to cope with the expected huge demand for computing resources by the scientists involved in the LHC experiments, and avoid that demand outstrips the available resources of the grid.