Los Alamos Lab launches private cloud

Researchers can use servers on demand

The Energy Department’s Los Alamos National Laboratory has launched a private cloud that lets researchers automatically request virtual servers on-demand.

“Infrastructure On-Demand is the first infrastructure-as-a-service private cloud, to my knowledge, in the {Energy Department], ” said Anil Karmel, solutions architect at Los Alamos' engineering division.

Four years ago, the laboratory created a virtual environment in which officials decommissioned 100 physical servers and deployed 300 virtual machines on 13 physical host servers. The laboratory now has 400 virtual machines running on those host servers.

Los Alamos has achieved $1.4 million in cost savings thorough virtualization. Infrastructure-as-a-service is the next step in that evolution, Karmel said.

Infrastructure On-Demand “is a self-service Web portal that allows users to automatically request and provision virtual servers,” Karmel told attendees today during a session on data center architecture at Enterprise Architecture Conference & Exhibition 2010 in Washington. The conference is being held September 7-8 by 1105 Government Information Group along with the FEAC Institute and the Agriculture Department’s GS Graduate School.

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Infrastructure On-Demand in comprised of four components: a Web portal; Microsoft SharePoint software for workflow and communications; VMware VCloud Director,  a Web-based user interface that consumes cloud resources and VMware vShield for managing policies. Vshield gives a view into the cloud from a security perspective, Karmel said.

Microsoft SharePoint also handles the life cycle management and chargeback capabilities. Life-cycle management is important because information technology administrators are “good about turning on systems, but bad about turning them off,” Karmel said. As a result, users can request a system for a maximum of one year, after which they must renew the system or it will be shut off, he said

Chargeback is also important because users have an idea that virtual servers are free, Karmel noted. They can request and provision Microsoft Windows, Linux or Oracle/Sun Microsystems’ Solaris systems.

Users want to own systems, but don’t want to manage the physical hardware, Karmel said. Infrastructure On-Demand lets them own their data without the management worries, he noted.

The infrastructure runs on Hewlett Packard ProLiant DL 585 Servers with storage devices from Net App for high availability.


About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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