Research Consortium Develops Innovative Cloud Orchestration Appliance

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Research Consortium Develops Innovative Cloud Orchestration Appliance

Christmann, German manufacturer known for its efficient IT infrastructure technology, fluid Operations, leading provider of semantic cloud and data management solutions and the Task Force for Cognitronics and Sensor Technology as part of the Cognitive Interaction Technology Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bielefeld joined forces in a research project. The goal is to develop a Cloud Orchestration Appliance (CORA).

Planning and Definition of Cloud-based data centers – CORA Enters New Technological Territory
While traditional cloud management approaches focus on data center operations, CORA enters new technological territory by allowing for the planning and definition of cloud-based data centers.

Delivering analyses and proposals, CORA supports the cloud planning process. The system checks, for example, whether the I/O performance for networks and memory is achieved. If necessary, it also recommends adjustments. On this basis, network diagrams and detailed offers can be created. Approval steps can be integrated as a workflow.

As part of the data center setup phase, CORA provides software wizards which guide users step by step through the process of setting up their infrastructure. In the event of difficulties, the system provides more detailed recommendations and information delivered by a semantic library which enables the correlation of heterogeneous data sources. Using automated test runs, the system checks the successful setup of the infrastructure.

In the operating phase, CORA gathers all the relevant information from the data center. CORA is the central platform that monitors the connected systems. It detects bottlenecks in the system and orchestrates system extensions automatically. The appliance is designed for maximum flexibility and the integration of external data sources. It reduces manual intervention in the administration of the data center to a minimum and allows for an optimal operation of the data center, including also optimized energy consumption.

“We are looking forward to the collaboration in the CORA project. Together with Christmann Informationstechnik and the University of Bielefeld we innovate the planning and definition of cloud-based data centers. We pursue ambitious goals. We want to reduce the time needed for planning and defining cloud-based data centers and the error rate while building up a data center by at least 50 percent. Overall our goal is to reduce the process costs”, explains Dr. Andreas Eberhart, Managing Director at fluid Operations.

"Resource efficiency is a key requirement when it comes to the development and the further development of data centers", says Mario Porrmann, Academic Director of the Task Force for Cognitronics and Sensor Technology at the University of Bielefeld. "Resource efficiency is not only reflected in the lowest possible energy and material costs, but also requires measures for the fast and secure installation. This project brings together the various facets in an ideal way and provides us the opportunity to contribute with the latest scientific research results which we can directly bring into the industrial applications of the project partners."

Wolfgang Christmann, Managing Director of Christmann Informationstechnik adds: "Together with the project partners, who have a high technical expertise and experience in certain areas which optimally complement the project, for us it is a great opportunity to bring forward the concept of an increasingly efficient IT infrastructure. The efficient planning, definition and operation of data centers in the cloud age is an essential base for the business success of both cloud infrastructure providers and cloud operators. With CORA we can provide them with an important component for their core business."

The Project Partners and Their Roles
fluidOps develops the CORA appliance based on eCloudManager™. With eCloudManager, fluidOps delivers a flexible infrastructure and cloud monitoring, management and orchestration platform for complex, virtualized and physical enterprise environments. The tool automates the planning, definition and operation processes in the public, private or hybrid cloud. eCloudManager provides an overview of the entire data center, including storage systems, physical and virtual compute infrastructure, networks and applications. In this way, eCloudManager creates a true “IT as a service” environment. This allows end-users to consume everything from compute resources (Infrastructure as a Service), to storage resources (Storage as a Service), to complex, multi-tiered enterprise application landscapes (Landscape as a Service™) and service extensions in a cloud-like manner.

Christmann Informationstechnik + Media manages the CORA project. The manufacturer of energy-efficient and resource-efficient IT systems in the areas of desktop computers and servers develops and evaluates a Compute Group Master that connects the server with CORA. The data stream resulting from server monitoring and controlling is organized without affecting the working network. The Compute Group Master evaluates data in advance and delivers only the most relevant data to CORA.
This is especially important to avoid excessive workloads on the network in the infrastructure of large data centers triggered by the movement of monitoring and controlling data.

The Task Force Cognitronics and Sensor Technology as part of the Cognitive Interaction Technology Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bielefeld develops and evaluates the resource-efficient and highly scalable hardware platform for CORA. During the build-up phase as well as during the later productive operation, the hardware automatically adjusts to the actual requirement profiles and provides the required performance with minimal energy consumption. This is achieved by a new system architecture that enables to add or remove subcomponents in operation and by parallel ultra-low processors which have the power of a few microwatts during low workload phases.

CORA at a Glance
• Duration: January 2013 until June 2014
• Funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) following a decision of the German Bundestag
• Total budget: 865.953 Euro
• Project coordination: Christmann Informationstechnik + Medien GmbH & Co. KG
• Partners: fluid Operations AG, Christmann Informationstechnik + Medien GmbH & Co. KG and the Cognitive Interaction Technology Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bielefeld
• Website:  www.zim-bmwi.de/

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