Three giants combine to research the cloud

Intel, Yahoo and HP have teamed up with some terribly prestigious researchers to figure out how to scale cloud computing.

Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Yahoo have announced the creation of a global, multi-data center open source test bed for the advancement of cloud computing research and education.

The HP, Intel and Yahoo Cloud Computing Test Bed will offer an Web-based testing environment for research on the software, data center management and hardware issues associated with cloud computing. The open source initiative will also support research of cloud applications and services.

The companies would not disclose the financial investment amount in the test bed.

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 (KIT) in Germany to form the research initiative. The partnership with Illinois also includes the National Science Foundation.

The test bed consists of six "centers of excellence" at partner locations, which are expected to be fully operational and accessible to researchers worldwide through a selection process later this year. With hardware provided by HP and Intel, each location will host a cloud computing infrastructure and will have 1,000 to 4,000 processor cores at each site. The companies have also provided researchers, who have already begun work.

The test bed will run Apache Hadoop -- an open source, distributed computing project of the Apache Software Foundation -- and other open source, distributed computing software such as Pig, the parallel programming language developed by Yahoo Research.

Collaboration central to the cloud
HP anticipates that the initiative will move cloud computing forward quickly.

"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. This requires an entirely new approach to the way we design, deploy and manage cloud infrastructure and services," said Prith Banerjee, the senior vice president of research at HP and director of HP Labs.

Prabhakar Raghavan, the head of Yahoo research, said the contributions of the companies involved are central to advancing cloud computing. "Universities don't have the hardware or software to conduct research at scale. We believe the next generation of the Web will demand collaboration to develop truly large-scale computing systems. The test bed is a significant step in that direction."

This collaboration follows the Google and IBM's cloud computing initiative announced in October 2007. Andrew Chien, the vice president of the Corporate Technology Group at Intel and the director of Intel Research, said "What we are doing here is complimentary but quite distinct compared with the Google/IBM initiative, which focuses on the application level. We are focused on a broader segment; the operating systems, hardware, networking."

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