HP, Intel and Yahoo team on cloud computing research

Updated: HP, Intel and Yahoo have combined to launch an open source test bed that will encompass multiple data centers for cloud computing research.According to the companies (statement), the trio of companies will create a global testing environment to examine software, hardware and management issues created by cloud computing applications and infrastructure.

Updated: HP, Intel and Yahoo have combined to launch an open source test bed that will encompass multiple data centers for cloud computing research.

According to the companies (statement), the trio of companies will create a global testing environment to examine software, hardware and management issues created by cloud computing applications and infrastructure. The effort is a partnership between HP, Intel, Yahoo and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the National Science Foundation via Illinois and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany.

At first, the partnership will be anchored by six data centers housed at partner locations. Each location will have cloud computing infrastructure with 1,000 to 4,000 processing cores and run on HP and Intel hardware. The founding members also noted that they were open to expanding the membership in the future.

Representatives from the companies said on a conference call that they would provide hardware, software and researchers to the effort and that some technology would make it to the open source community. On the open source question, however, details were sparse. The companies also wouldn't disclose financial terms of the investment. Here's Sam Diaz's take:

HP said the testbed will advance research and create technologies for the day where everything is a service. HP's Prith Banerjee, senior vice president of research and director of HP Labs, said on a conference call that the company is betting that everything IT will be delivered as a service and that means self-sustaining infrastructure needs to be developed.

In search of...the next gen cloud

Executives from the three companies stressed that their effort is a little different than the Google-IBM cloud partnership. For starters, the HP, Intel and Yahoo collaboration is designed to examine more parts of the software stack as well as all of the systems involved with them.

Andrew Chien, director of Intel Research and vice president of the corporate technology group, says the partnership has "a greater breadth of the technology that can be explored."

Banerjee added that the effort is designed to lower costs and create the next generation of cloud hardware. Banerjee noted that the testbed may help find the "future generation of memory blades and networking infrastructure that can scale while providing the security for multiple customers. Those technologies aren't available today."

Prabhakar Raghavan, head of Yahoo research, added that the ultimate goal will be to look beyond the infrastructure of the cloud and create the applications that will be hosted. "We need to think about this beyond the physical layer. ultimately it's about the applications you can build. What can you do if you didn't have to worry about the cloud?" said Raghavan.

Examining the motives

Here's a look at the motives:
  • For HP and Intel the project allows them to be in the forefront of cloud computing research. And guess what hardware these researchers will buy? Probably Intel and HP gear.
  • Yahoo will get to show off its open source chops by running Apache Hadoop and distributing computing software like Pig, a language created by Yahoo Research. The cloud computing partnership plays well with Yahoo's goal of becoming an open platform.
  • All parties will have access to research capabilities that can become products in the future. For instance, HP has focused on selling cloud computing infrastructure and its HP Labs unite can cook up some infrastructure management services that can be sold later.

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