Exciting Developments on the MOC – Fall 2019 Update

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.