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Contrail Project Looks to Federate European Clouds

This video describes the business benefits of the Contrail Project, a novel approach to federating computer centers in Europe. Funded by an an 8 million Euro contribution by the EU, Contrail is “an open infrastructure in a homogeneous computer cloud, in which participants can seamlessly share their computer capacities.”

After decades in which companies used to host their entire IT infrastructures in-house, a major shift is occurring where these infrastructures are outsourced to external operators such as Data Centers and Computing Clouds. However, although this market is in rapid expansion in Europe, this growth may soon be hindered by user concerns such as lock-in within a single commercial offer (which reduces the necessary competition between many infrastructure providers), ownership and privacy issues of the data stored in the Cloud, and the lack of performance predictability of current Clouds. To allow open access to shared computing resources, the vision of the Contrail Project is that any organization should be able to be both a Cloud provider when its IT infrastructure is not used at its maximal capacity, and a Cloud customer in periods of peak activity. Resources that belong to different operators will be integrated into a single homogeneous Federated Cloud that users can access seamlessly.

According to their press release, Contrail project experiments will be performed on the Grid 5000 platform managed by INRIA and consisting of more than 7000 cores distributed on 11 sites in France and abroad.

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