StratusLab has launched the latest version of their software. This release makes it easier to create a cloud and run an EGI site on it. It also marks the end of the project and a move to a truly open-source, community-driven product.
Cloud computing means many things to many people and different solutions provide different services. StratusLab focuses on “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS) cloud. This simply means the user outsources the maintenance and running of the physical computing resources, but has the freedom to choose what operating system, software and applications they run. This is the kind of service already provided by a lot of companies, e.g. Amazon’s EC2.
For academic projects, sadly, the cost of commercial clouds can outweigh any benefits; they just don’t have the money. However researchers already have access to a diverse range of computing resources – could these be extended into a cloud-like system? For the last 2 years StratusLab have been working on this problem, developing an open-source package that can be deployed on a wide range of systems and infrastructures.
StratusLab allows system administrators to easily create a cloud for their users on whatever computing resources they have available. In turn, they provide the users with interface tools and a marketplace with ready-to-use, free applications. But even before a system administrator has to be called, potential users can play on a test version of a StratusLab cloud to understand the capabilities of the platform and the tools available.
For the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI), one of the major benefits of StratusLab is the ability to pull together disparate resources into a single cloud and then run an EGI compatible grid site on it. This means that it is even easier for an institute to start contributing to EGI and open the world of grid computing to their researchers. The Greek partners in EGI have been running one of their sites like this for some time now and it has worked extremely well.
“We already offer hundreds of thousands of CPUs to our users” says Catherine Gater, EGI’s Deputy Director, “but as we grow our user base, we will also need to grow the number of institutes providing resources. StratusLab is one of the technologies making this simple. We have worked very closely with them and are delighted with their successes.”
Now the StratusLab software has a new home on the online repository GitHub, so from now on, it will be the grid community tweaking code and deciding the future direction of StratusLab. “We have worked very hard over the last 24 months and we are really happy with what we have achieved.” explains Dr Charles Loomis from StratusLab, based at the Linear Accelerator Laboratory in Orsay, France. “While it is sad to see the end of the project, we have built up a great community so the software will evolve and improve.”
Read about changes and improvements in StratusLab 2.0 on the StratusLab website.
To find out more about cloud computing, visit the Cloud Lounge.