CSIRO builds tech for hybrid cloud deployments

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CSIRO builds tech for hybrid cloud deployments

Develops software for internal use and commercialisation.

The CSIRO has been developing ‘Hycloud’ software for use internally and by any Government agencies choosing to adopt public, private, or hybrid cloud computing.

The 18-month-old project involved 20 researchers from the CSIRO’s Service Computing, Trusted Systems and Distributed Computing teams, and could yield a commercial product by the end of next year.

CSIRO research director Dimitrios Georgakopoulos said Hycloud had three components that targeted major cloud computing concerns: data security and availability; quality of service; and portability.

The latter offered a common interface for developing and uploading applications to various cloud platforms, including Amazon Web Services, NASA’s Nebula, and the CSIRO’s internal GPU clusters.

It had been tested internally for the past six months, and eventually would be deployed more widely by the organisation’s Information Management and Technology (IM&T) group, Georgakopoulos said.

“Right now, there are vendors that compete for the market; these platforms are not interoperable with each other,” he told iTnews.

“In our case, we don’t want to make a commitment to any particular infrastructure or vendor.”

To address security and availability concerns, Hycloud offered a ‘secure and trusted storage’ feature that encrypted and automatically backed up data on multiple platforms.

The feature would be tested by CSIRO users in late August, Georgakopoulos said, adding that “all of the things we are developing can be commercialised”.

A third, and least mature, Hycloud component was designed to ensure quality of cloud services by determining the optimal method of executing cloud computing payloads.

The tool analysed the time and computing resources each payload required, before suggesting the cheapest, fastest, most secure method of execution.

Earlier this year, The Australian reported that the CSIRO’s move towards cloud computing was underpinned by plans to consolidate 55 data centres into a single Canberra facility over the next few years.

Georgakopoulos said the research organisation would make its move “as soon as possible”, noting that some research groups were already using private cloud infrastructure.

He added that the CSIRO was prepared to advise the Government on cloud computing technologies and any concerns or goals raised by its nascent cloud computing strategy.

“The Government has great need for a plan and technology for transitioning from normal infrastructure to private, hybrid, and finally, public cloud,” he told iTnews.

“What needs to happen is happening right now; they have to figure out how to go about [adopting cloud services], and what policies are required. We’re going along with the Government’s timetable – debate is just starting.”

The CSIRO currently sought three cloud computing researchers to bolster Hycloud’s development.

Georgakopoulos expected a more mature product in another 18 months, after which CSIRO would consider either commercialising Hycloud, offering it to a vendor, or publicly releasing it via the OpenStack consortium.

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