Tag: Intel

Rackspace and Intel Open the OpenStack Innovation Center

Rackspace, Intel and UTSA officials and UTSA interns at the opening of the OpenStack Innovation Center at Rackspace's headquarters.

Rackspace, Intel and UTSA officials and UTSA interns at the opening of the OpenStack Innovation Center at Rackspace’s headquarters.

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Officials with Rackspace and Intel Thursday officially cut the ribbon on the OpenStack Innovation Center at Rackspace’s headquarters.

“We are going to make this the launching pad to make OpenStack and the entire cloud available to everyone in the industry,” said Imad Sousou, vice president of the software and services group and general manager of Intel Open Source Technology Center.

“And, yes, we’re hiring,” Sousou said.

Rackspace and Intel officially announced their partnership for the OpenStack Innovation Center in late July. On Thursday, a few hundred people gathered in front of the new center at Rackspace’s headquarters in San Antonio to cut the ribbon on the facility where they will be working.

Rackspace has more than 200 employees working on OpenStack every day and they will occupy the OpenStack Innovation Center, which is in the fourth phase of development at the old Windsor Park Mall, which Rackspace refurbished into its headquarters, which Rackspace employees call “The Castle.”

In addition to the Rackspace employees, Intel will have developers at the center. Already, eight Intel developers have moved to San Antonio from Santa Clara, California, Arizona, Dallas and other Intel locations around the country to work here.

IMG_6515The OpenStack Innovation Center will add even more technology talent to San Antonio, said Darrin Hanson, vice president and general manager of Rackspace Private Cloud. And Rackspace’s partner in providing the tech pipeline of new talent locally is the University of Texas at San Antonio, he said.

Already, UTSA selected ten students to work as interns initially at the center and 30 more will be joining the program in the next year, said Mauli Agrawal, vice president of research at UTSA.

“By opening this innovation center, we’re creating the largest OpenStack development team in the world,” Agrawal said.

UTSA has developed a reputation nationwide as experts training computer and software engineers in open cloud computing and cybersecurity, Agrawal said. And this center further solidifies that reputation, he said.

“We are Cyber City and Cloud City USA,” Agrawal said.

The center will do research and development on OpenStack, which is an operating system that runs on the cloud and enables all kinds of software applications to run quickly and seamlessly from online banking to e-commerce. The cloud is a term used to described computer servers linked together in data centers that contain information accessible to anyone, anywhere through the Internet.

Intel has invested in the OpenStack project, which it calls “Intel’s Open Cloud for All” initiative although financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is also putting engineering resources behind the initiative. The New York Times recently did a story on Intel’s strategy to invest heavily in software that enhances cloud-computing capabilities. The idea is to create many competitors who offer cloud computing services, which ultimately creates many customers who demand servers that run Intel’s chips, and that way Intel will not get squeezed in price margins for its products by just a few giant companies, according to the article.

In July of 2010, Rackspace developed and launched OpenStack in cooperation with NASA. In the five years since then, OpenStack has grown considerably in popularity and other companies have exerted their influence on the software. HP, IBM and other big firms came in and contributed to the project. And the software got bogged down in bureaucracy and fragmentation as many companies contributed to it, Hanson with Rackspace said. This new initiative is about accelerating OpenStack development and adoption, Hanson said.

“We’re trying to create an environment where people are fully committed to improving OpenStack and doing it in a fully opened source way,” Hanson said.

“OpenStack is becoming the de facto cloud operating system for enterprises,” Hanson said. Enterprise is the name for large companies.

Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud are closed and proprietary platforms that compete with OpenStack, an open source alternatives to those services.

Intel and Rackspace’s collaboration seeks to make OpenStack the best operating system for the public and private cloud, Hanson said.

“For companies, the promise of OpenStack is that it gives them a platform that allows them to be much more efficient, much more nimble and it really improves speed to market for their customer facing and revenue generating applications,” Hanson said. “It gives them a really flexible and efficient platform where the IT department can go from being a call center to a center of strategy and to an enabler of revenue.”

Almalence Receives Investment from Intel Capital

imgres-1Almalence, a computational imaging startup, announced Monday it has received an investment from Intel Capital.

The amount of investment and terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Austin-based startup, founded in 2005, plans to use the funds to develop the next version of its mobile imaging technology to enable mobile cameras to achieve the image quality level of DSLR cameras.

The two companies have also entered into a strategic collaboration, which will allow Intel to license Almalence’s technology for its own products.

“Almalence develops computational photography technologies that significantly improve the image quality of photos and videos in mobile devices,” according to a news release. “The algorithm software can be implemented on either the device’s processor, or ported directly to the image processor for best performance. It is licensed directly to OEM customers.”

Dimitry Shmunk and Eugene Panich, Russian engineers, founded the company. Almalence’s research and development team is based in Novosibirsk, Russia.

Intel Seeks Inventors for New Reality TV Show with $1 Million Prize

Courtesy photo from Intel

Courtesy photo from Intel

A new television series “America’s Greatest Makers” is looking for inventors, makers, designers and engineers who are creating the next big wearable or smart-connected device.

The competition, backed by Intel, Turner Broadcasting Mark Burnett, the producer of “Shark Tank,” “Survivor” and “The Apprentice,” will award a $1 million grand prize and other prizes for the final five.

Intel is taking its “Make It Wearable” challenge to the next level and is looking nationwide for contestants to create the next big wearable or smart-connected device using Intel’s Curie Module.

This new series will chronicle the competition among the finalists who will be mentored by Intel engineers to make their ideas a reality.

For more information and to apply, go to America’s Greatest Makers. The deadline to apply is Oct. 2. and applicants must be at least 15 years old.

Measr[food], a Smart Food Scale, Wins Intel’s Internet of Things Roadshow in Austin

Founder of Silicon Hills News

measr[food] Team Members Brad Hughes, V.J. Velacheri and Chris Boette

measr[food] Team Members Brad Hughes, V.J. Velacheri and Chris Boette

Americans have a problem counting calories which contributes to skyrocketing rates of obesity, said Brad Hughes, software engineer at National Instruments.

He thought Intel’s Internet of Things Hackathon might be a good place to tackle the problem.

He pitched the idea of a smart food scale connected to the Internet to measure portion size, weight and calorie content in a plate of food as well as tap into other online databases to coordinate with fitness programs.

V.J. Velacheri, a chip designer at Samsung, and Chris Boette, a full stack web developer at Game Salad, joined the team. They bought a food scale and spent Saturday and Sunday tearing it apart and hooking it up to the Internet with various sensors using Intel’s Galileo board, which packs the power of a miniature computer. Their hard work on their hardware paid off.

Their project, measr[food], won Intel’s Internet of Things Hackathon last weekend at TechShop in Austin. They received $1,500 in Amazon gift cards as a prize.

“It’s really cool that Intel is doing this and putting their money where their mouth is in the Internet of Things marketplace,” Hughes said. “Intel is giving people the tools and the power to build really cool stuff at a fraction of the price.”

Intel's Edison, "a small form factor single-board-computer."

Intel’s Edison, “a small form factor single-board-computer.”

Intel kicked off its Internet of Things Roadshow in Austin. It is hosting hackathons in 10 cities worldwide, but only three are in the U.S. In addition to Austin, Intel will host events in New York and Mountain View, Calif. Intel selected Austin because it has a campus of about 1,500 employees here with a big maker group, said Stewart Christie with Intel.

Intel cut off registration for the event at 200 people, Christie said. About half of those showed up. And a couple of hours before the event started Saturday a line formed at the front door.

Intel gave away Galileo boards and developer kits to the first 100 people. The kits contained sensors, software and other accessories.

“It’s kind of like Legos you can put the things together but you can also pull them apart as well,” Christie said.

Intel’s IoT hackers formed 14 teams but a couple of them dropped out, including a team building a wired chicken coop and another with an Internet-connected fishtank. The teams had to upload their projects to Hacker League by 2 p.m. Sunday and then pitch in front of a panel of five judges. The projects needed to use Intel’s developer kits, integrate with the Cloud and tap into online data. They also needed to have market potential.

The two second place winners included Smart Dog Collar, a fitness tracking collar for dogs, and Nursing Home Tracker, a clock-like device to monitor a patient’s environment and sends alerts. Each team won $1,000 in Amazon.com gift cards.

Three teams won third place and $500 Amazon.com gift cards. They were Car Alert, which alerts car owners when someone bumps into or breaks into their car, Save My Baby, a car seat with heat sensors and programmed to send out text messages when the temperature in a car get too hot, and GluLogic, a smart monitor to keep track of a diabetic’s medicine.

Bill Tyler, a diabetic, thought of the device to provide insulin dosage tracking, monitor blood sugar levels and provide reminders to take medicine, because he would like to have one. The device uses Bluetooth and WiFi to communicate online and to store data in the cloud.

Some of the Lego winners at Intel's IoT Hackathon at Techshop

Some of the Lego winners at Intel’s IoT Hackathon at Techshop

Several people also won Intel Basis watches throughout the weekend in a Lego building contest and a selfie Tweet contest. BeMyApp coordinated the event, which Intel sponsored.

In a month, the Intel roadshow team will be back for a show and tell to see how much progress the teams have made, Christie said.

Boette with the measr[food] team enjoyed the hackathon.

“I think getting people to think about applying technology to the Internet of Things from the bottom up is really useful and helpful,” he said.

Full disclosure: I served as a judge at the Intel IoT Roadshow Hackathon.

Intel to Host Internet of Things Workshop at TechShop in Austin

600_408307722Intel will be hosting its Internet of Things Roadshow at Techshop in Austin on Saturday and Sunday.

The roadshow is one of ten events the company is doing worldwide and the only one in Texas. Other events in the U.S. are in Mountain View, Calif. and New York. Other events globally are being held in Europe, South America and Asia.

Intel is looking for makers, IoT startups, developers, students and even hardware novices to join them at the event. Participants get a free developers kit which includes an Intel development board.

The event will feature food, onsite giveaways and prizes for the best IoT solutions.

“Come by and tinker with the Dev Kit – which is based on Intel® architecture and designed to be hardware and software pin-compatible with Arduino,” according to an Intel release. “Plus it includes lots of cool sensors, software and accessories to stimulate your creativity.”

The event kicks off with training on the technology and developer’s kit, followed by a hackathon. People can work solo or in teams. And Intel will be giving the first 100 attendees who have registered a free Intel Galileo Board.

The event starts Saturday at 9 a.m. at Techshop. But you’ve got to register to attend.

Full disclosure: Silicon Hills News will be one of the judges at the Hackathon event

The Open Compute Project helps data centers save energy and increase efficiency

By L.A. Lorek

Data centers gobble up energy.
But some of the smartest minds in the information technology industry want to change that.
They are meeting in San Antonio today and tomorrow to rethink the old ways of putting together servers, power and cooling units and the rest of the guts of data centers to save energy and increase efficiency.
It’s called the Open Compute Project, launched last April by Facebook with the goal of creating the most efficient computer hardware and software for data centers. Of course not everyone has joined the project. Google, Microsoft and Amazon are not on board. But lots of major players like Facebook and Rackspace are.
And in just a year, the Open Compute Project has made data centers 38 percent more efficient to run and 24 percent less expensive to build, according to the organization. The group comes up with new hardware and software standards and then they share those with everyone else. The entire data center industry benefits from the open collaborative work of the best engineers in a variety of companies.
About 500 data center leaders from Intel, AMD, Hewlett Packard, Dell, Facebook, Rackspace and more met today at Rackspace’s headquarters in San Antonio for the third summit designed to hammer out designs and think up projects to improve the way data centers operate.

Frank Frankovsky with Facebook

Wednesday morning, Frank Frankovsky, vice president of hardware design and supply chain at Facebook, gave the keynote address on the progress made in the last year.
First off, Frankovsky showed a slide listing dozens of new companies that have joined the movement including HP, AMD, Fidelity, Quanta, Tencent, Salesforce.com, VMware, HP and others. Frankovsky wrote a blog post on May 2 providing a full list of new members and detailing all the accomplishments in the past year.
And later on the stage, executives from HP and Dell both unveiled their newly redesigned servers dubbed Project Coyote and Project Zeus respectively.
The objectives of the Open Compute Project are scale, value, simplicity, sustainability and openness, Frankovsky said. That involves rethinking the entire data center from the racks that house the servers to the electrical systems that connect them together.
“We’re ditching the 19 inch rack design,” he said.
A big part of that is creating new 21-inch width standard for racks inside data centers to replace the outdated 19-inch racks, which date back to the 1950s, Frankovsky said.
“We want people to differentiate less and innovate more,” he said.
Following Frankovsky, Glenn Keels, HP, director of marketing of its hyperscale business unit, said the reason HP joined the Open Compute Project was because “leaders do not sit on their laurels” and “leaders develop standards.” HP is number one or number two in the data center markets it serves, Keels said. HP powers some of the largest cloud data centers in the world including Facebook, he said.
The cloud market is small but growing exponentially between now and 2020, Keels said.
“HP has begun to think differently,” Keels said. HP is transforming servers and changing the experience with projects like moonshot, voyager and odyssey aimed at improving efficiencies in the data center, Keels said.
“Open Compute Project is the most robust group of problem solvers focused on the data center space and moving from technology and form factors of 1995 to today to reclaim stranded time, space and power,” Keels said.
“We have to reinvent ourselves every time and Open Compute is a fantastic forum for us to do that,” Keels said. “Standardization has the ability to unlock innovation.”
Keels unveiled HP’s Coyote open rack standard at the conference.
Then Forrest Norrod, vice president and general manager of Dell’s Data Center Solutions Group, showed off Dell’s new server and storage designs that meet the Open Rack specifications.
“Dell is deeply rooted in our support for open alliances,” Norrod said. “It’s in our DNA…We are very active in our support for open source.”
Rackspace is also active in the open source movement and in creating less expensive and more efficient data centers. Late Wednesday morning, Mark Roenigk, Rackspace’s chief operating officer, detailed the company’s plans in an interview.
Rackspace has nine data centers globally including two in the United Kingdom and one in Hong Kong. Its U.S. data centers are in Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth and the Washington, D.C. area,.
“We shuttered two in San Antonio in the last six months due to inefficiencies,” Roenigk said. “There’s a great example of how quickly this technology is moving.”
In the last two years, Rackspace has seen a 22 percent efficiency improvement in its data centers, Roenigk said.
Rackspace plans to leverage the Open Compute Project designs for computer servers, storage, network and utilities in its next generation data center, which it plans soon, Roenigk said.
Overall, Rackspace has 80,000 servers online serving 172,000 customers today.
“We want to be influential in the design of the hardware,” Roenigk said.
So Rackspace works closely with original equipment makers like HP and Dell, he said.
“Most recently we’ve increased the density of a rack from 7 kilowatts to 18 kilowatts a rack providing more computing power coming out of a smaller footprint,” Roenigk said. “That means less cost which is passed on to our customers.”
Sustainability and saving energy is a core covenant of the Open Computer Project, Roenigk said.
“We were recently judged by Greenpeace in a report “How Clean Is Your Cloud,” Roenigk said. “We’re pleased that even though we’re a small player in the market, we’re in the middle of the pack.”
“We think we can be a big influencer in data center efficiency and the power used to power those data centers,” Roenigk said.
Those decisions on being green stem from the sources that Rackspace uses to power its data centers. That’s why it has bypassed states, which provide cheap power from coal sources in favor of hydro electric, wind and natural gas sources.
“We’re really about serving customers,” Roenigk said. “They pull us and push us in different directions all the time.”
Two years ago, only one in 25 customers ever brought up the subject of sustainability when talking about hosting, Roenigk said.
“Today it is more like six or seven in ten,” he said. “It is now a real part of the sourcing and procurement process.”
On Thursday, engineers attending the summit will hammer out their ideas in special sessions that go very, very deep, Roenigk said. The Open Compute Project has a formal process for people to bring forth their ideas, he said. The board decides which projects are going to drive the most value to the open source community. Then the engineers meet once or several times a week. When they are done, they publish their design specifications to members of the Open Compute Project to use, Roenigk said.
“Linux took 20 years to become a standard,” Roenigk said. “We will do what Linux did in 20 years in five years or less.”

The following video is from Rackspace and explains its role in the Open Compute Project.

Rackspace is a sponsor of Silicon Hills News

HP uses Calxeda’s technology to power its servers

Calxeda introduced its high-performance low power semiconductors Tuesday to power Hewlett Packard’s servers.
The Austin-based start-up held an event in Palo Alto to introduce its new products along with its partner HP.
But in its hometown, employees, customers, analysts and others gathered to watch a live stream broadcast of the event and to celebrate. They met up at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar in downtown Austin at 2 p.m.
Calxeda, formerly Smooth Stone, closed on $48 million in funding a little more than a year ago.
HP’s new server platform, called Project Moonshot, is designed to reduce costs and energy use for data center customers.
The HP Redstone Server Development Platform uses Calxeda EnergyCore ARM Cortex processors. HP plans for future versions to include Intel’s Atom-based processors among others. The platform is expected to be available by June of next year.

Michael Dell hosts Dell World 2011 in Austin

At Dell World 2011, Michael Dell will take questions today during a panel discussion with press and analysts at the Long Center in Austin.

The sold-out Dell World event begins with a welcoming reception at Austin City Limits Wednesday night. Then, bright and early, Michael Dell will deliver the keynote at 8 a.m. Thursday at the Austin Convention Center. His speech will discuss trends in the virtual world such as data overload, mobile applications and security. He’ll also talk about how Dell’s “customers can best succeed, compete and innovate.”

Dell World 2011 also features speeches from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Intel CEO Paul Otellini, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, former White House CIO Vivek Kundra, VMware CEO Paul Maritz, IDC Research Vice President Michelle Bailey and many others. The focus is on innovation.

Justin.TV is broadcasting the event live at 2 p.m. central time.

Watch live video from Dell on Justin.tv

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