Open Cloud Testbed: Developing a Testbed for the Research Community Exploring Next-Generation Cloud Platforms

March 3, 2020, 9:45 – 10:30 AM

This segment kicks off with a brief overview of the National Science Foundation CISE Community Research Infrastructure  (CCRI) program, which awarded the funding for the Open Cloud Testbed. Next, Mike Zink, Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Co-PI, CloudLab, Mass Open Cloud and Open Cloud Testbed, introduces the “Open Cloud Testbed” (OCT) project. The segment concludes with a Q&A featuring all PIs of the Open Cloud Testbed.

I. Overview of the National Science Foundation CISE Community Research Infrastructure  (CCRI) program

Presenter: Mimi McClure joined the National Science Foundation in 2002. She is the senior program director for the Computer Systems Research (CSR) cluster in the Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS), a position she has held for the past 9 years. Prior to moving to CNS, Mimi managed Learning and Workforce Development, VOSS, DataNet, and cross agency endeavors and working groups in the Office of CyberInfrastructure (OCI – now OAC). She started her NSF career in the Division of Graduate Education (DGE). Before beginning her federal service, Ms. McClure had a varied and robust career across several institutions and agencies in Florida.

II. Introduction of Open Cloud Testbed

Cloud testbeds are critical for enabling research into new cloud technologies – research that requires experiments that potentially change the operation of the cloud itself. Several such testbeds have been created in the recent past (e.g., Chameleon, CloudLab, etc.) with the goal to support the CISE systems research community. It has been shown that these testbeds are very popular and heavily used by the research community. Testbed utilization often reaches 100%, especially ahead of deadlines for major systems conferences, while there are also periods of modest (<40%) testbed usage.

This segment introduces our “Open Cloud Testbed” (OCT) project, which has the goal to enable elastic cloud testbeds for systems research. Eventually, OCT will allow cloud testbeds to grow and shrink by allocating and deallocating additional resources from compute facilities like production clouds and HPC clusters. Within the OCT project, we will create a prototype elastic cloud testbed, which will combine proven software technologies from both the CloudLab and the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC) projects. It will also combine a research cloud testbed (CloudLab) with a production cloud (MOC) through OCT’s tight integration with the latter and federation with CloudLab. In addition, OCT will provide programmable hardware (FPGAs) as Bump-in-the-Wire (BITW) capabilities not present in other facilities available to researchers today. The combination of a testbed and production cloud allows a) larger scale compared to isolated testbeds, b) reproducible experimentation based on realistic user behavior and applications, as well as c) a model for transitioning successful research results to practice.

OCT offers a unique sustainability model, by allowing additional compute resources to be dynamically moved from institutional uses into the testbed and back again, providing a path to growth beyond the initial testbed.

Presenter: Michael Zink is an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Darmstadt University of Technology in 1997 and 2003, respectively. His research interests are in cyberphysical systems, cloud computing, and Future Internet Architecture. He has been involved in the creation of research infrastructure through his involvement in the NSF GENI and NSF Cloud initiatives. In the latter case, he serves as a Co-PI on the CloudLab project. He is also PI for Open Cloud Testbed, a new NSF project, that has the goal to support the research activity of the systems community in the area of cloud computing.

III.  Q&A with OCT PIs and leads, facilitated by Michael Zink


Peter Desnoyers is an Associate Professor in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences, which he joined in 2008. He is one of the founders of the Massachusetts Open Cloud, a multi-institutional collaboration to develop new models for cloud computing, and serves on the steering committee. His research is focused on storage issues in operating systems, in particular, the integration of emerging storage technologies such as flash and SMR disk into existing software infrastructures. Professor Desnoyers is a member of the Industrial Advisory Board for the UMass Boston Department of Computer Science and a past visiting scholar at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has chaired the IEEE Symposium on Mass Storage Systems and Technologies (MSST ’15)  and the ACM Workshop on Interactions of NVM/Flash with Operating Systems and Workloads (INFLOW ’15), is an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Computers, and has served on the program committees and editorial boards of major computer science conferences and journals. Professor Desnoyers received his PhD in Computer Science in 2007 from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, under Professor Prashant Shenoy. Prior to his doctorate, he had a fifteen-year engineering career at large companies such as Apple and Motorola and smaller ten-person startups. Professor Desnoyers received his BS and MS degrees from MIT in 1988.

Martin Herbordt is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Boston University where he directs the Computer Architecture and Automated Design Lab.  His research spans Architecture and High Performance Computing.  He and his group have been working for many years in accelerating HPC applications with FPGAs and GPUs, and in building systems integrating FPGAs.  More recently their focus has been on middleware and system aspects of large-scale FPGA clusters and clouds, the latter especially in Bump-in-the-Wire configurations.

David Irwin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  He leads the Sustainable Computing Lab, which conducts experimental computer systems research in the areas of cloud computing, Internet-of-Things (IoT), and cyber-physical systems with a particular emphasis on applications to sustainability and energy-efficiency.  His research is deeply interdisciplinary and cuts across multiple technical research areas, including operating systems and virtualization, distributed systems and networking, embedded sensor systems, security and privacy, energy systems, data science and machine learning, and economics.  He is also the Smart Energy Lead for the Center for Smart and Connected Society (CS2) and an affiliate of the Center for Data Science, both at UMass Amherst.

Orran Krieger is a Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University, and PI, Mass Open Cloud, Red Hat Collaboratory and Open Cloud Testbed.  He has broad interest in computer systems, with a focus on operating systems, file systems, and cloud computing.  He joined Boston University to launch the Center for Cloud Computing at the Hariri Institute and shortly thereafter started the Mass Open Cloud.  Before coming to BU, Orran spent five years at VMware starting and working on vCloud.  Prior to that he was a researcher and manager at IBM T. J. Watson, leading the Advanced Operating System Research Department. Orran received his PhD and MASc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto.

Miriam Leeser is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University.  She has been doing research in hardware accelerators, including FPGAs and GPUs, for decades, and has done ground breaking research in floating point implementations, unsupervised learning, medical imaging, privacy preserving data processing and wireless networking.  She received her BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and Diploma and Ph.D. Degrees in Computer Science from Cambridge University in England.  She has been a faculty member at Northeastern since 1996, where she is head of the Reconfigurable Computing Laboratory and a member of the Computer Engineering group.  She is a senior member of ACM, IEEE and SWE. She is the recipient of an NSF Young Investigator Award.   Throughout her career she has been funded by both government agencies and companies, including DARPA, NSF, Google, MathWorks and Microsoft. She received the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award in 2018.

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