Science Daily has a neat article on Nimbus, a cloud computing platform that the project’s team describes as an “infrastructure-as-a-service” (IaaS). To date, organizations are largely adopting the cloud computing model to offload storage and host applications with Web-based front ends. What Argonne National Lab’s open source (Apache v2.0) Nimbus project does is run programs that require heavy number crunching via virtual workloads on the cloud.
Therefore, while organizations are looking at clouds to host business apps, productivity suites and databases, some researchers are already harnessing the power of distributed computing for projects typically relegated to the high performance computing (HPC) arena.
Keahey and her team developed this open source cloud computing infrastructure to allow scientists working on data-intensive research projects to be able to use such virtual machines with a cloud provider. Nimbus also allows users to create multiple virtual machines to complete specific computational jobs that can be deployed throughout the cloud and still work in tandem with each other. This flexibility allows a user to configure a virtual machine and then connect it to resources on a cloud, regardless of who is providing the cloud.
Having this kind of flexibility and on-demand computing power is vital to projects that are extremely data-intensive, such as research efforts in experimental and theoretical physics. Nimbus has already been deployed successfully to support the STAR nuclear physics experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider. When researchers there needed to turn the massive amounts of data they had generated into viable simulations for an international conference, they used Nimbus to create virtual machines that were run through commercial cloud computing providers.
Did it get your attention? Visit the official Nimbus website for an overview and a FAQ on the technology.
Source: Science Daily
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