Red Hat Provides $551.9 Million in Software Subscriptions to Boston University, Advancing Mission of OpenInfra Labs

By Mark Collier on 27/04/2021

OpenInfra Foundation Platinum Member Red Hat is providing $551.9 million USD in software subscriptions and resources to the Hariri Institute’s open research cloud initiative, in addition to $20 million to support research and deepen collaboration under the Red Hat Collaboratory at Boston University. This effort is creating a production research cloud that serves as the first, founding region in the OpenInfra Labs Cloud Network, which is envisioned to be a network of production clouds connecting open source projects to production. OpenInfra Labs will enable the cloud services and network deployed in this founding region to be replicated to other regions, federated between these regions and extended beyond academia.  

The academic focus of this first region—involving Boston University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Northeastern University and University of Massachusetts—will expose tens of thousands of students to open source cloud software and services. It also will enable rich interaction between systems researchers and the global OpenInfra community of open source developers. Faculty, students and developers will work together on compelling ideas, enabling realistic systems research on open source systems at scale and providing a rapid path for integration of research ideas into upstream software (with potentially new or prototype hardware), exposed as experimental services and then deployed in production when they have demonstrated value.

The interrelated projects that form the Hariri Institute’s open research cloud initiative include the Mass Open Cloud (MOC), New England Research Cloud (NERC), Northeast Storage Exchange (NESE), Open Cloud Testbed (OCT) and Open Storage Network (OSN). The infrastructure available for cloud services include more than 10,000 Intel cores and 30PB of Ceph storage. With this new investment by Red Hat, the OpenInfra Labs region in the North East will continue to grow, advancing the OpenInfra mission to build the next decade of infrastructure, collaboratively, with open source software. 

OpenInfra Labs enterprise and ecosystem supporters include Intel, City Network, Futurewei, FiberHome, Dell EMC, Ampere Computing, CDAC, G-Research, Red Hat, Troila, Whitestack and Vexxhost.

“To achieve a true open hybrid cloud approach, we need to continue to create and foster open communities that share this vision and purpose. The OpenInfra Labs project will help support the development of operational knowledge and open source tools needed to operate platforms, like the Mass Open Cloud, which will help provide greater impact on open cloud research,” said Chris Wright, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Red Hat.

“Open source has become the prevailing model that academia relies on to drive innovation and problem solving at a massive scale,” said Scott Yockel, university research computing officer at Harvard University. “What makes this possible is a huge community of users and developers, working together to identify and address the most critical priorities. My collaborators and I are excited about this opportunity to further expand our collaboration through OpenInfra Labs to engage more organizations beyond academia in moving open infrastructure innovations into production.”

“The public cloud has fundamentally transformed research for domain researchers, and is itself a critical area of systems research,” said Orran Krieger, principal investigator at Mass Open Cloud, a member of the OpenInfra Community. “This effort is going to enable impactful systems research by providing researchers rich information about a real production cloud and enabling them to work on problems with a huge community of open source developers.”

“Red Hat has not only played a pivotal role in shaping open source on a global scale, but also has been particularly generous in its support of academic communities, recognizing their importance to the future of cloud,” said Mark Collier, COO of the Open Infrastructure Foundation. “This contribution to Boston University will boost the open research cloud initiative and in turn will fuel the growth of the OpenInfra Labs mission overall. This investment will undoubtedly raise awareness for these important projects and attract new participants in the effort to bring enterprises and academia together, two groups that increasingly see the importance of building infrastructure that runs in production.”

The OpenInfra Labs community is looking for additional companies interested in investing to accelerate the first region, help lead the effort to replicate and expand it to other regions, and participate in defining the rules for the federated open infrastructure cloud. Here are the ways to support the OpenInfra Labs community:

Join the OpenInfra Foundation to build the next decade of open infrastructure.

Tell us how your company is interested in supporting OpenInfra Labs. 

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