A newly built OpenStack Cloud Computing system is now supporting research and teaching within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Surrey University. The OpenStack Cloud is used as part of an MSc module in Cloud Computing, one of the first such courses in the country, and an undergraduate course in mobile communications. Researchers within the Department of Computing at Surrey have used the Cloud as part of an EPSRC research project "Fair Benchmarking for Cloud Computing Systems". The FEPS Cloud was set up by John O'Loughlin , Bin Li and Dr Lee Gillam using OpenStack on top of Ubuntu 10.10.
OpenStack is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Cloud that enables users to create and run virtual servers. The ability for users to create their own server images, run instances of them and then terminate them when finished makes cloud services very flexible in the way they can be used. This flexibility is ideal in a teaching and research environment where demand can be 'bursty' in nature. Consider, for example, a lecturer who wants to launch 30 virtual machines for the duration of a lab session or a researcher who needs extra compute power for a particular code run. Cloud Systems are designed to meet such demands. Further, the fact that Clouds are 'self-service' is also vitally important as it allows users to provision their resources when required.
Currently the FEPS OpenStack Cloud can run up to 160 virtual server instances but there are plans to increase this. We hope to develop both the infrastructure and it's use in teaching and research over the coming years.
If you would like to discuss how you can use the FEPS cloud in your teaching or research or are interested in Cloud Computing please contact: