UTSA Hosts the Open BigCloud Symposium

By LAURA LOREK
Founder of Silicon Hills News

BnC9n-kCYAA9gdwSome of the biggest trends in technology today are the cloud, a fancy name for data centers, and big data, the massive bits and bytes of information flowing through those data centers.

At the University of Texas at San Antonio, more than 100 people met Wednesday to discuss hardware, software and networks around those topics at the first Open BigCloud Symposium.

“This is about the future of cloud computing and big data,” said UTSA President Ricardo Romo.

He compared the ideas and innovation around the Open Cloud environment to Detroit during its heyday of the automotive industry.

“A collision of ideas that’s what’s going to happen here,” he said.

Romo also cut the ribbon to officially open the UTSA Open Compute Project Certification and Solutions Laboratory. The only other lab of its kind is in Taiwan.

Frank Frankovsky, president and chairman of the Open Compute Project Foundation, praised the project.

“There are incredibly innovative people in the state of Texas driving the industry forward,” he said.

The two-day Open BigCloud Symposium features more than 20 speakers in the HEB University Center Ballroom at the UTSA main campus. Most of it is highly technical with sessions like “Using ZeroVM and Swift to Build a Compute Enabled Storage Platforms” and “Composable Rack Scale Archecture Storage.” But some of the sessions address universal issues facing the technology industry like the shortage of women in technology and fostering entrepreneurship.

In 2012, Rackspace hosted the Open Compute Summit and hosted more than 500 people involved in the Open Compute Project, which Frankovsky and his team launched at Facebook in 2011. The project’s goal focuses on creating the most efficient computer hardware and software for data center. Major players like Facebook, Rackspace, Hewlett Packard, Dell and Microsoft back the project.

The Open Compute Project is driven by collaboration, contributions and consumption or the adoption of the technology by industry, Frankovsky said.

UTSA is becoming a nationally recognized hub of innovation in the Cloud and big data technology, said Lorenzo Gomez, director of the 80/20 Foundation and Geekdom.

The 80/20 Foundation has donated more than $4 million in endowed partnerships in cloud computing technology to UTSA, Gomez said.

The research, the academia and industry coming together at UTSA is extremely important said John Engates, Rackspace’s Chief Technology Officer.

“We at Rackspace believe open is supercritical,” Engates said.

Open and collaborative environments help companies innovate faster, Engates said. It also means freedom. It also allows people to do their work remotely easily, he said. An open environment also allows companies to share the risks and rewards of research and development and innovation, he said.

“Getting people on a bobsled together and going in together I think that’s supercritical,” he said.

In 2010, Rackspace and NASA jointly created the OpenStack , an open source cloud software. Today, Rackspace runs the largest OpenStack cloud in the world today, Engates said.

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