Saturday, May 23, 2009

NASA's NEBULA Space Cloud Computing Platform Launches

Earlier this week NASA took the wraps off a new Cloud Computing platform called NEBULA, or what I'm calling the (Space Cloud). Described as a way to manage research-class computing capacity. NASA describes NEBULA as "a Cloud Computing environment integrating a set of open-source components into a seamless, self-service platform."

I found the location of the Space Cloud particularly interesting, The primary NEBULA data center is at Ames Research Center, in the Ames Internet Exchange (AIX). AIX was formerly "Mae West", one of the original nodes of the Internet, and is still a major peering location for Tier 1 ISPs, as well as being the home of the "E" root name servers. Basically you can't find a better location to put a cloud then the birth place of the internet.

NASA also put out a request for "Computonauts" through the TESS Community Observer program which will allows teams of citizen scientists to propose, test, refine and rank algorithms for on-board analysis of image data to support serendipitous science.

NEBULA is currently in a limited beta, NASA is looking for beta testers who are interested in working with NASA projects to test drive the Cloud. They go on to state that "users desiring to utilize the underlying NEBULA components directly will be required to pass the necessary security reviews, content reviews and legal certifications themselves." Not sure what that means, but it sounds like an interesting project none the less.

Below is architecteral diagram of the NEBULA platform.

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