HP gets Cirious about cloud research

Summary:Prith Bannerjee, head of HP Labs, talks about how the company will use open innovation in its cloud-computing research

HP has opened a new research lab in Singapore dedicated to cloud computing and cloud datacentre design. ZDNet UK spoke to Prith Banerjee, worldwide director of HP Labs, to find out more about the project.

HP Labs Singapore is the company's first new lab since Banerjee took control of its research in 2007 and set out a five-year strategic plan that made cloud computing one of the eight pillars of its research focus.

However, it is not HP's first cloud research lab, or its first cloud investment in Singapore. In 2008, the company teamed up with Intel, Yahoo and a number of academic sites (including the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore) to create Open Cirrus, an experimental, open-source cloud platform, which was based on x86 hardware and Yahoo's Hadoop supercomputing project. Open Cirrus already has 10 testbed sites around the world for researchers to develop on.

We asked Banerjee what the new lab will concentrate its research on, how the facility fits in with Open Cirrus and HP's other labs, and how it will feed into the company's cloud services for enterprises.

Q: HP already does cloud research in the Service Automation and Integration Lab in Palo Alto and the Automated Infrastructure Lab in Bristol. What will the researchers in the new lab concentrate on?
A: All three will work to develop an enterprise software cloud platform that we refer to as 'Cirious'. The Cirious vision is to develop a set of cloud capabilities that enable service providers such Verizon, Vodafone and others to take full advantage of the power of the cloud.

Our work will enable service providers of all types to tap into foundational cloud capabilities — into general-purpose horizontal capabilities as well as those tailored for specific industry verticals such as telcos, entertainment, healthcare and others.

We are working on a platform that will make it easy for them to develop, host and manage their services, to deliver value from the cloud, and to integrate with an ecosystem of services from other providers.

Cirious is an enterprise-grade software platform, and the vision of this is to enable service providers [with] access to cloud capabilities within an equal system of other services. There are cloud services available from other companies; however, those are mostly available for more consumer apps, where you really don't require as much scale, as much security, as much flexibility and availability.

Our vision is to provide a cloud platform that will be at an enterprise scale. We believe enterprises will not embrace the cloud until you can prove to them that it is highly scalable — and 'scalable' means scaling up and scaling down. It also means highly flexible, it means highly secure, so we can trust our data on remote sites.

It has to be highly available; we cannot afford to have a cloud services datacentre go down. These are very complex challenges.

How does HP Labs Singapore help you deliver that?
The future [is] billions of users accessing millions of services though thousands of service providers over millions of servers. Where those services are housed, how the data is processed or stored what the network traffic looks like — those will be irrelevant to the user.

But to our enterprise customers and service partners, the advancement in technology architecture driven out of this lab will be paramount.

HP Labs Singapore will research and develop a set of cloud-based apps in partnership with our customers in the Asia Pacific region. They'll be built on top of technologies...

Topics: Cloud, Servers


Mary Branscombe is a freelance tech journalist. Mary has been a technology writer for nearly two decades, covering everything from early versions of Windows and Office to the first smartphones, the arrival of the web and most things inbetween.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.