Seeking Developers to Help Our Community Cope with the COVID-19 Crisis

The MOC and MGHPCC are launching Computing against COVID-19 (CAC19), a website that connects people with projects to fight the coronavirus pandemic and we need your help!

Computing against COVID-19 facilitates connections between groups developing and deploying applications to fight the pandemic and expert developers, architects, and operators willing and able to provide help and support. Please visit to join the fight!
To launch our site, Computing against COVID-19 is excited to join with BU Spark! on The Resiliency Challenge, a nine-week, virtual challenge, with three-week sprint challenges aimed at catalyzing innovation in response to the unprecedented situation facing colleges and communities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Resiliency Challenge is seeking engineers that are interested in facilitating agile development teams and are committed to providing sustainable and scalable solutions that meet the needs of its users. Visit the site for more information.
Special thanks to all of the partners who have contributed to launching this effort: Northeast Cyberteam, WPI, UNH, Boston University, Intel, and Red Hat.

Related News

– ECE is Helping Fight Coronavirus With Computing (Boston University, Edmonds, Colbi, 4.10.20)

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MOC’s Michael Daitzman to Keynote at Open Infrastructure Summit

Boston University’s Michael Daitzman, Director of Engineering and Product, Mass Open Cloud (MOC), will be giving a keynote on OpenInfra Labs (OIL) – a new OpenStack Foundation (OSF) project launched in collaboration with the MOC – at the virtual Open Infrastructure Summit, hosted by the OSF, October 19 – 23.  The Summit features keynotes from open source leaders and innovators and over 100 sessions developed and facilitated by users from research institutions and global enterprises building and operating open infrastructure at scale, providing opportunities for participants to engage and collaborate. Thousands of attendees representing 30+ open source communities and more than 110 countries are expected to join. View the full Summit schedule and register for free today!

Alibaba Cloud, AT&T, China Mobile, CERN, European Weather Cloud, GE Digital, OpenInfra Labs, Volvo Cars and Workday are among the open infrastructure use cases featuring Airship, Kata Containers, Kubernetes, OpenStack, Zuul and over 30 other open source technologies that will be presented at the virtual Summit. 

The complete schedule related to OpenInfra Labs can be found below!

OpenInfra Labs (OIL) – the new OpenStack Foundation (OSF) project launched in collaboration with the MOC – will be featured in a keynote and several forums during the virtual Open Infrastructure Summit, hosted by the OSF, October 19 – 23, 2020.  The Summit features keynotes from open source leaders and innovators and over 100 sessions developed and facilitated by users from research institutions and global enterprises building and operating open infrastructure at scale, providing opportunities for participants to engage and collaborate. Thousands of attendees representing 30+ open source communities and more than 110 countries are expected to join. View the full Summit schedule and register for free today!

Below is the schedule of events associated with OpenInfra Labs. Whether you’re a member of the OpenInfra Labs community or interested in learning more about the efforts and how to get involved, we encourage you to join as many of these segments as possible.

Please note that times are subject to change – please verify all times on the Open Infrastructure Summit event site (links below go directly to the OIS pages for each segment).

DayUTCEastern Time (ET)Central Time (CT)TypeEvent (click link for description)
Tuesday3:00-5:00 PM11:00AM-1:00PM10:00AM-12:00PMKeynoteKeynote (Open Infra Labs Section ~10:40AM)
Tuesday5:45-6:15PM1:45-2:15PM12:45-1:15PM101Open Infra Labs 101
Wednesday1:45-2:15PM9:45-10:158:45-9:15AMTalkElastic Secure Infrastructure (ESI): I Learned to Share my Hardware; You Can Too!!
Wednesday4:45-5:30PM12:45-1:30PM11:45AM-12:30PMForumElastic Secure Infrastructure (ESI): Q&A and looking forward
Wednesday4:45 – 5:30PM12:45-1:30PM11:45AM-12:30PMForumOpenInfra Labs
Wednesday3:45-4:30PM11:45AM-12:30PM10:45AM-11:30AMForumProject Caerus (Compute-Storage Coordination)
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Fundamentals of Cloud Computing Mentor Request

Students and alumni of Fundamentals of Cloud Computing at BU and Northeastern, (now known as CS/ECE 528 and CS 6620) and members of the MOC Community – Please consider proposing projects for the course starting this fall. Mentors are the backbone of the course, and people that have taken the course have turned out to be some of the best mentors!

Once again we are looking for mentors for our cloud computing course, which is being offered at BU this Fall. We would love the proposals as soon as possible, and definitely before the class starts Sept 3rd. If you’ve done this before, the mentor registration form is here: For those of you who haven’t – Fundamentals of Cloud Computing is a senior/graduate-level class that includes a semester-long capstone-like project, with the projects being proposed and supervised by an industry mentor. The projects are completed in teams of 5-7 students, who are expected to spend 5-8 hours per week on the project over the 13-week term, with presentations to the class every two weeks to ensure they don’t slack off until the end of the term. Although some of the students’ time will be spent learning new technologies, in prior years many teams have achieved significant results, ranging from nice-to-have tools to (typically open-source) product enhancements.We are looking for project proposals for this fall, of a size appropriate for a team of 5-7 students. The goals of these projects are to:

  1. Give students experience in web and/or cloud technologies
  2. Give them real experience as part of an agile development team
  3. (hopefully) Develop a useful artifact with real users

Projects are typically (but not always) open source, and students will share significant details of concept and design with instructors and the class as part of the evaluation process.Students will rank their choice of project, and will be assigned to projects based on preference and a skills survey. As a result, you should expect a team which is motivated, has some (hopefully all) of the skills you have requested, and represents a cross-section of class ability. The students will have substantial course-based experience, but often little experience putting that background into practice when addressing an unknown (i.e. non-classroom) problem. As a mentor your goal will be to help translate this academic knowledge, to help them design and build a real artifact to solve a real problem.Mentors are critical to project success. We will need mentors with the technical expertise to help guide the students – you should have the skills (if not the time) that would be needed to complete the project, and be able to answer technical questions the students ask (even if the appropriate response is often to show them where to look for the answer).

The typical time commitment is about 2 hours/week, although often this can be shared between a technical and non-technical mentor. Meeting times are outside of class hours and are negotiated with students, and mentor/student meetings can (and often are) remote via Skype, Zoom, etc.

Questions? Email Orran and cc: Jen.

Join the Fundamentals of Cloud Computing Course Facebook page.

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MOC User Survey: Action Requested

May 15, 2020

The following message is for all users of the MOC.

Due to the success of the MOC, Boston University and Harvard University are creating a production cloud service, the New England Research Cloud (NERC), supported by the professional Research Computing Services staff from those universities.  We expect that this production service will enable a significant community of users that do not have the technical skills to use the existing, unsupported MOC service and/or were unwilling to assume the risk of using an experimental service.   Our plan over the summer is to focus the larger MOC and NERC team and our collective hardware resources on tasks needed for launching NERC.   In order to minimize disruption during this period, and to understand the needs for the future NERC platform, we are asking existing users to complete the following survey (link below). 

Due to this work, the resources available to the existing MOC OpenStack and Open Shift environments will be significantly reduced, there will be periods of downtime, and we hope by the end of the summer to entirely decommission some of the MOC clusters. 

By Thursday May 21 – Please fill out one survey for each OpenStack or OpenShift project for which you currently use the MOC (so if you are using it for three projects, you will fill it out three times).  If you have many projects and the form is too cumbersome, please email Jennifer Stacy,, and she will send you an excel spreadsheet version.

The short link the survey is here:

As always, if you find projects or other MOC resources you are no longer using please delete them. 

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2020 Open Cloud Workshop Follow-Up: Ways to Get Involved

Despite the period of uncertainty since the workshop, we have continued planning and building on the momentum from the two days we got to spend with many of you in early March and we look forward to working with you in the coming weeks and months on the initiatives discussed in the workshop. This email provides updates and information on how to get involved.

Six years after the MOC’s 2014 launch, the work done by the MOC team, its partners, and numerous collaborators has led to a much larger constellation of deeply connected initiatives in 2020 – driving the broader and deeper discussion at this year’s Open Cloud Workshop. For a quick reminder, please see the video and slide-deck that provide an overview of the MOC, NERC, OCT, Operate First and OILabs initiatives.  We are excited to be in a place where there is more opportunity than ever before to get involved.  We have launched a new website that tries to capture the broader scope of the connected initiatives (please note that site is currently in soft launch, so we appreciate any and all feedback) and you can find slides and videos of the workshop here: 2020 OC Workshop event page.  

To illustrate how the initiatives are deeply interconnected, the work being done to enable Operate First is occurring in the OILabs git repository.   This work will form the basis of the next release of the MOC and the future New England Research Cloud (NERC).   The Elastic Secure Infrastructure (ESI) project, that started as a research project in the MOC to enable sharing of hardware, will similarly become a component of OILabs.  Once it is productized, it will be integrated into the MOC, NERC, and Open Cloud Testbed (OCT), enabling hardware to be easily shifted between those services based on demand. 

As discussed below, the best way for individuals to get involved is through OILabs, Operate First, and the OCT.  Please forward this information to people in your community that might want to participate.  If you are interested in getting involved as a corporate sponsor of OILabs or the MOC, please contact Jennifer Stacy.

OpenInfra Labs (OILabs)OpenInfra Labs (OILabs) is a new effort, established in partnership with the OpenStack Foundation, to simplify, standardize, and evolve how different institutions deploy and operate open source cloud infrastructure and cloud native software. One key priority of the initial OILabs effort is to address the needs of the MOC and NERC. Meanwhile, we welcome new grassroots open-source projects from the community at large that are aligned with the mission of the OILabs and that will be jointly developed by individual contributors. The overall goal of the OILabs is to see more organizations globally (especially in the academic and research space) stand up consistent and more consumable fullstack clouds that can enable hybrid and federated use cases.  If you are building or operating open source based clouds and would like to help improve and standardize the process for creating and using them, we invite you to get involved in OpenInfra Labs today!  For more information, visit the website, and join the conversation:

Mailing list –
IRC – Freenode IRC: #openinfralabs

Also, please take this short  five-question survey to help OILabs understand the open source infrastructure usage across more environments:

Operate First: The Operate First initiative is an effort to open source cloud operations at scale. As the code and automation around operating software become as valuable as the source code of the software itself, open source communities will need to operate the software they work on themselves before it can be productized and operated by others. With the Operate First Initiative we hope to provide a space where communities can operate services, collect operational data, use that data to create automated ops tools (anomaly checking, rules, etc.), and incorporate those tools and rules into the software and the software configuration. This will give open source software communities a much more even playing field to compete with the proprietary cloud providers who have the advantage of operating everything themselves.

All the work being done to enable Operate First is occurring in the Open Infrastructure Labs git repository: Please have a look and consider joining the community.

Open Cloud TestBed: The NSF Open Cloud Testbed (OCT) initiative will build and support a testbed for research and experimentation into new cloud technologies.  The OCT combines proven software technologies from both CloudLab and Mass Open Cloud.  It also makes FPGAs widely available to systems researchers, building on Intel’s generous donation of FPGA boards to the MOC.  The OCT will be the first national cloud computing testbed connected to a functioning cloud, enabling access to cloud data sets and meta-data, providing a path for researchers to expose their innovation to end users, and enabling infrastructure to be shifted between the cloud and testbed based on demand. 

The OCT is achieving a much larger scale than anticipated in the NSF proposal because of a large donation of computers from Two Sigma to the OCT and MOC.  Over this past winter, Two Sigma provided 200 servers with 30 TB of memory.  Since this additional infrastructure is not NSF funded, this provides us with the opportunity to support not only academic researchers, but also the open source community and industry.  We are working hard to make this infrastructure fully available, and expect to have over 130 servers exposed through the testbed by early summer.  If you are a member of the NSF CISE community, please apply for an account here.  If you are from industry or an open source developer and would like to use the platform, or want to work with the OCT to expose interesting hardware capabilities to testbed users, please contact Mike Zink to get involved.  To get involved in ESI development you can find the information here.  To get involved in Cloud Lab development please go here

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.  We look forward to working with you on these efforts.

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Exciting Developments in the MOC- Fall 2019

The MOC Project has always had three interrelated goals:

1. Creating a production cloud
2. Enabling cloud research
3. Enabling industry innovation

We have really good news on all three fronts:

Production Cloud: Due to the success of the MOC, Boston University and Harvard University have decided to move forward to create a production cloud service, the New England Research Cloud (NERC), supported by the professional Research IT staff from those universities. The vision of the NERC is to build a cohesive, sustainable partnership between research clusters and technology professionals with a common cloud framework that is tailored for data-driven discovery and available to many institutions in New England.  This partnership will set NERC apart from today’s public clouds and is critical to bridge the gap in skills that are needed for research and teaching professionals.

Enabling Cloud Research: In October, the NSF has awarded (see here) a five year, $5M project to enhance the MOC to create the new “Open Cloud Testbed” (OCT) for cloud researchers, essentially expanding the researchers involved in the MOC from the regional researchers to national researchers in cloud computing. The MOC will be augmented with CloudLab, established testbed software for cloud systems research which is supported by the NSFCloud initiative. CloudLab provides proven tools to allow CISE researchers to perform reproducible experiments on hardware with control and visibility “all the way down to the bare metal.” 

This effort will involve productizing the Elastic Scalable Infrastructure (ESI) research so that infrastructure may be elastically and securely transferred between research and production uses.  It will also expose MOC telemetry and data sets to cloud researchers, enable researchers to expose experimental services to users of the MOC, and augment the MOC with a testbed of FPGA enabled servers. These efforts will, in turn, allow the research community to study fundamental questions that could previously only be explored within the large public clouds.

Enabling Innovation:  In order for an organization to innovate in the cloud, it needs a cloud that is under its control.  Today, standing up a private cloud requires lots of custom scripts and settings, and a detailed understanding of all of the necessary open source projects.  With the OpenStack Foundation, we are launching OpenInfra Labs (OIL), a project to simplify and standardize how academic institutions, enterprises, and regions deploy and operate stand alone, hybrid and federated open source clouds.  Initially, the project will prioritize the needs of the MOC and gain full visibility into those needs by participating in the deployment and operations. Longer term the project goal is to stand up multiple consistent clouds and develop technologies for hybrid and federated clouds. 

Please join us at the 2020 Open Cloud Workshop (formerly Mass Open Cloud Workshop) on March 2 -3, 2020 at Boston University to learn about these (and more) developments.

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