One focus of the research at the University of Texas, San Antonio’s Institute for Cyber Security (ICS) is security related to cloud computing. In choosing a cloud stack to use for this work, ICS wanted one that would let researchers stand up a cloud instance as quickly and easily as possible. Reliability and visibility into the system were other key requirements.
After trying eight other cloud solutions, including OpenStack, Eucalyptus, and other AWS clones, ICS finally found one that meets the demands of world-class research, Joyent Cloud System. Compared to other cloud stacks that required teams on engineer/installers and weeks of time to install a simple 100-node setup, installing a 1000-core system on Joyent took just 40 minutes. Provisioning a virtual machine takes less than a minute on Joyent, compared to three to five minutes with competing cloud stacks.
Joyent use of ZFS as an integrated part of their software container-based Hypervisor gives ICS researchers confidence that their work is secure, while DTrace provides the access to the underlying system necessary for thoroughly understanding the behavior of research models. When the ICS receives additional grant funding, Joyent’s PXE booting lets them rapidly scale up the cloud environment to support the new projects.