The Mass Open Cloud (MOC) is a shared cloud platform operated by Boston University (BU), Northeastern University (NU), Harvard University, University of Massachusetts, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the MGHPCC data center.  It currently has an Infrastructure as a Service offering based on OpenStack.  Users can, in a self-service fashion, stand up virtual machines, use object storage, and create on-demand HDFS environments (with Hadoop, SPARK, PIG…).  

The MOC provides its users an alternative to public clouds, like AWS or Azure to, for example:

  • stand up long-running services that can be accessed over the internet (e.g., rich websites)
  • deploy low-level software that is incompatible with today’s (e.g., institutional) production HPC clusters (e.g., operating systems, specialized libraries, etc),
  • stand up private on-demand Big Data environments.  

The MOC is not an alternative to existing batch scheduled institutional HPC clusters (NU Discovery, BU SCC, etc.), but instead serves as a complimentary service that offers users long-term, interactive use of virtualized and bare metal resources.  Examples of teams/projects currently using the MOC include Dataverse, Worldmap, SESA/EbbRT, the Billion Object Project, and the Conclave project on scalable MPC, and largescale interdisciplinary NLP projects. The MOC is also being used for a number of courses where students need low-level access to virtualized environments, such as the NU/BU cloud computing course and the BU Data Mechanics course

Services available soon through the MOC include OpenShift (self-scaling container-based Platform-as-a-Service with support for most popular web frameworks), Cloud Dataverse (i.e. efficient object-level access to large datasets managed by Dataverse) and a new simpler to use GUI for end-users.  The MOC provides (trusted) researchers that require low-level access to computers a Hardware-as-a-Service offering that we plan to augment with a testbed that will contain a number of different accelerators, such as GPUs and FPGAs. We will also provide access to the North Eastern Storage Exchange (NESE) as it becomes available.

Upon request, basic MOC accounts are available to faculty and students from participating institutions at no cost, with the default quota on the production “Kaizen” OpenStack cloud of 10 instances, 20 VCPUs, 50GB memory, 1TB of storage, and 2 external IP addresses. Additional resources are typically granted upon PI request. You can apply for an account by going to the MOC web page and completing the form to request an account.

While the MOC has been highly reliable, and all data is triply replicated in our storage, the service is currently still provided in AS IS basis, and we strongly encourage users to back up their data externally.

Additional Documentation

Infrastructure backing the main MOC cluster that Kaizen is part of currently consists of

  • 4 Dell High Capacity – 480 TB storage (usable 160 TB)
  • 4 Fujitsu High Performance Storage – 136 TB (usable 45 TB)


Last Modified on December 21, 2017
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