Posted by: Arik Hesseldahl on July 29, 2008
Computing giant Hewlett-Packard, chipmaker Intel and Web concern Yahoo said today they have teamed up on cloud computing. If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, perhaps you ought to go back a few months and read Steve Baker’s cover story on “Google and the Wisdom of the Clouds.”
The idea is that large-scale computing tasks, can be handled as efficiently, if not more so “in the cloud” meaning by thousands of Internet-connected servers stationed in data centers around the world. Instead of spending truckloads of cash for servers and the space to house them and the personnel to run and maintain them, why not lease the capacity you need from providers in the cloud who can give you what need, add or subtract more quickly based on your needs
Dubbed the HP, Intel and Yahoo Cloud Computing Test Bed, the three companies are building a global project that will consist six distributed computing centers around the world. The trio has partnered with the Infocomm Development Authority in Singapore, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the U.S. and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany each of which will host one of the six “centers of excellence.” The other three will be hosted by Yahoo, Intel and HP.
Each site will be based mostly on HP hardware and Intel processors, and will between 1,000 and 4,000 processor cores, which is enough computing power to conduct research on cloud computing applications. The sites will be fully operational and accessible to researchers later this year.
The companies declined to talk about their financial commitment, but each will be responsible for contributing hardware and resources at their own expense.
HP’s Prith Banerjee, head of HP Labs said that HP believes that the marketplace is entering an era called “Everything as a Service.” For instance, instead of wishing your company had the right computing resources to do a job, you’d be able to secure those resources from the cloud, without having to worry about the costs associated buying the hardware upfront or maintaining it. Better yet: You’ll only pay for what you use, and if you need more capacity, you can easily add more.
How might cloud computing affect the average user? Russ Daniels, CTO of HP’s Cloud Services Strategy says that since most of the computing work is not done on a user’s machine but out in the cloud, you can worry less about the limitations of that one particular machine, making it easier to provide a consistent user experience, even if your PC is a littler older. At least that’s the theory. We’ll see.
For now, the test bed will be used by researchers to better figure out how all this will work.