Yahoo, Intel and HP form cloud computing labs

Trio of industry titans hoping to foster collaboration among vendors, universities and government agencies around cloud computing.

Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Yahoo are partnering for cloud computing research and education in order to advance the development and adoption of large-scale, data-intensive Internet-hosted applications and related IT infrastructure.

By banding together, the trio of computer industry titans hopes to foster collaboration among vendors, universities and government agencies around cloud computing, whose progress is hampered by "financial and logistical barriers," the companies said Tuesday.

Intel, Yahoo and HP are forming the Cloud Computing Test Bed, which they describe as a global, multi-data center, open-source effort designed to promote research on software, data center management and hardware for large-scale, Internet-hosted computing.

Partners in the initiative include the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the National Science Foundation and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany

These partners, HP Labs, Intel Research and Yahoo will host six "centers of excellence," each of which will have a cloud computing infrastructure mostly based on HP hardware and Intel processors. The centers will have 1,000 to 4,000 processor cores and are expected to be up and running later this year for selected researchers from around the globe.

Non-founding members will be invited to participate in the test bed by the end of the year, said John Manley, director of the Automated Infrastructure Lab with HP Labs in Bristol, England, in an interview.

Manley said the research could spawn new topics for researchers to study, such as how to ensure services keep running when equipment fails, known as fault tolerance.

"It might well be that some of the fault tolerance mechanisms we know nowadays have a hard time scaling," Manley said.

When companies begin using services hosted elsewhere for their processing, security is a huge concern. Those services must be created in a secure partition that is isolated from others. The goal is to be able to provision those services quickly in their own partition or cell, Manley said.

Another concern is the management of virtual machines when several operating systems are running on one piece of hardware. The configuration can save money on infrastructure but can be more complex to manage.

Much of intellectual property that comes out of the research will be shared. "The intention is to be very open about the results," Manley said. "This is being set up as an open collaborative framework."

"Cloud computing is of critical importance to the industry and Intel is very focused on that," Andrew Chien, vice president of Intel's Corporate Technology Group and director of Intel Research, said during a press conference on Tuesday.

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