A New Research Cloud on Ubuntu OpenStack

If you’re starting from almost scratch, and – where many people are – you don’t have any skill, you don’t have any training, you don’t have much of an idea of what you want to do, Then [BootStack] is a very good place to start.

The University of Cape Town (UCT), in South Africa, recently switched on their first Ubuntu OpenStack-based research cloud. It’s no surprise, since a recent OpenStack user’s group survey showed that over 41% of OpenStack operators plan to run scientific or engineering workloads. Not uniquely, but also not the norm, UCT’s OpenStack is a cloud built only for scientific and research workloads.

UCT wanted to focus on the workloads they’d be hosting, and the potential users of the system, not the system itself. As many have found out, if you don’t have the operational expertise, or the right toolset, OpenStack is often not easily tamed as a useful cloud. So, UCT partnered with Canonical to leverage both our expertise and our toolset to begin offering this research cloud as a service. They opted for BootStack.

BootStack is a service and a product. Canonical’s OpenStack engineering team (the same ones that run our own OpenStack infrastructure) install and manage a private OpenStack cloud at your location. BootStack reduces a process that could take weeks, or even months, for the uninitiated, down to a matter of days.

UCT is starting small. They’re offering up the use of their new research cloud for training programs across the university. Their belief is that as these users become familiar with the environment they will naturally begin building solutions on top of it.

The ICTS team even see the possibility of offering the research cloud to stakeholders beyond the UCT campus. They believe that offering compute capabilities to smaller universities in the region could be tremendously beneficial to the research community as a whole.

Starting small doesn’t mean staying small. BootStack is designed for scalability, to thousands of nodes. Since BootStack uses Canonical’s application modeling tool, Juju, to model and deploy the OpenStack environment, scaling, and even upgrading, is easy.

If you want to learn more about BootStack, and how you can have a dynamic OpenStack cloud in production in just a few days, visit ubuntu.com/bootstack

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