The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and hometown-based open cloud computing specialist firm Rackspace Hosting have collaborated on designing, building, and deploying an advanced academic research cloud computing software platform based upon jointly-developed OpenStack technologies. This computational power resource has been designed to revolutionize the way scientists and scholars at UTSA use technology to support their research efforts and studies.
Because academic and scientific research typically involves the application of mathematical and numerical models to solve scientific and engineering problems, complicated and intensive computational models have traditionally been developed and implemented on powerful supercomputers requiring high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure with high maintenance demands to handle academic research, computational power and big data for bioinformatics, aircraft digital twins, energy exploration research and so forth. However, cloud computing frees researchers from the demands on time and resources that managing IT equipment requires, and allows them to focus on research initiatives without the distraction and time-expenditure of managing IT logistics.
“To support the type of collaboration and initiatives expected from a premier research institution, UTSA decided early-on that the cloud was going to have to be open,” comments Jeff Prevost, coordinator of UTSA cloud initiatives, in a release. “An OpenStack-based foundation became the obvious choice for us, not only because of our relationship with Rackspace, but also because of the private and public structure possibilities. The flexibility of this hybrid environment is a compelling enabler for the research we are doing.”
You can watch a six-minute video presentation on UTSA on the Open Cloud at:
Rackspace also provides training and development services to UTSA, helping the institution to drive adoption and effective use of the new OpenStack powered private cloud. The ability for researchers and students to leverage this new platform massively enhances users’ scale, flexibility and speed in research.
“The demands made by applications and the needs of computer users are constantly spiraling upward,” says Dr. Mo Jamshidi, chair, UTSA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We were challenged by the physical limitations of our computers and wanted to find a new computing plateau where we could have the freedom to explore the full potential of our research. Rackspace’s Hybrid Cloud has given us real computing freedom and made the technology itself even more useful.”
“We are pleased to have worked with UTSA to build them a hybrid cloud platform featuring Rackspace Private Cloud and public Open Cloud solutions to help them advance their efforts around research and academics. This solution will enable UTSA to run scientific computations and big-data such as bioinformatics, aircraft digital twins, energy exploration research, and digital human model & real-time surgical control on an open cloud solution,” says Paul Rad, who as Rackspace Hosting’s Vice President of Private Cloud Certification Programs is responsible for building an enterprise ready computing platform based on Rackspace Private Cloud Software.
In a Rackspace blog posting, Mr. Rad cites UTSA Department of Mechanical Engineering Professor and Department Chair Harry R. Millwater Jr. observing that: “Computational simulation has become one of the three pillars of discovery along with theory and experiments. Using high performance computing we are in the beginnings of developing ‘Digital Twins’ of aircraft, the human body, energy and environmental systems and others. The digital clones will be used to prognose the health and maintenance of future systems. This concept requires substantial computational power. Rackspace Private Cloud and open cloud are enabling technology that advances the new concept of Digital Twins to become a reality.”
Hardware for UTSA’s new private cloud infrastructure was provided by a grant through Rackspace co-founder and Chairman Graham Weston’s 80/20 Foundation, which provides grants to public charities with a focus on turning San Antonio into Texas’s next entrepreneurial hub, promoting technology skills for the jobs of tomorrow and giving San Antonio more urban options.
Rackspace Hosting was founded in 1996 by Richard Yoo who started operating a small ISP called Cymitar Network Systems out of his garage apartment in San Antonio. Besides its San Antonio headquarters, the company also has offices in Australia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and Hong Kong, nine data centers operating in Grapevine, TX; Richardson, TX; Chicago, IL; Herndon, VA; Ashburn, VA; London, UK; Slough, UK; Hong Kong; Sydney, AUS. Rackspace’s more than 4,500 employees, called “Rackers” worldwide have delivered open technologies that are powering more than 205,000 customers worldwide, and deploys its “Fanatical Support” across a broad portfolio of IT products, including Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Hosting and Dedicated Hosting. Recognized by Bloomberg BusinessWeek as a Top 100 Performing Technology Company, Rackspace is featured on Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For, and is included on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Rackspace is headquartered in San Antonio with offices and data centers around the world. For more information, visit: