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Open Cloud Helping UTSA Obtain Tier 1 Status

Cloud-based platforms are key to pushing colleges and universities ahead of the curve in academic and scientific research. That’s exactly why schools like the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) are turning to open source technologies like OpenStack and the OpenStack-powered Rackspace Private Cloud to fuel their scientific research efforts.

According to UTSA President Dr. Ricardo Romo, cloud computing is a crucial component of UTSA’s strategic plan to help the school become recognized as a Tier 1 university. The initiative, called “A Shared Vision UTSA 2016,” aims to propel UTSA into a select group of nationally competitive research universities. The open cloud and open technologies are helping UTSA achieve Tier 1 status, which relies heavily on the quality of a school’s academic research.

There’s no doubt the cloud is revolutionizing the way researchers and scholars use technology to accelerate their research efforts. By offering increased computational capacities, the cloud allows you to process data in real-time while removing dependency on physical infrastructure. It also frees scientists from managing IT equipment, leaving scholars more time to focus on their research initiatives.

Rackspace and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) recently showcased an advanced OpenStack-powered platform designed to fuel academic research and solve complex scientific and engineering problems. Traditionally, these intensive models were implemented on high maintenance computing infrastructures.

UTSA’s hybrid cloud computing platform features Rackspace Private Cloud and public open cloud solutions and provides scientists with massive scale, flexibility and speed in its world-class research efforts.

“As an increasing number of the society’s current and future challenges require integration of ubiquitous and distributed sensing,  smart data extraction and fusion, and redundant and flexible communications among computational and mobile platforms, open cloud is the natural enabling technology for us to implement integrated solutions to these challenging problems,” said Dr. Daniel J. Pack, chair of the school’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Rajendra V. Boppana, chair of the Department of Computer Science, says a hybrid cloud platform is a key tool for faculty conducting high-impact research in computer architecture, cyber security, big data applications and high performance computing.

“The computer science faculty will use this hybrid cloud to…develop new technologies such as high performance computing as a service and to explore and solve large-scale bioinformatics problems,” he says. “The UTSA hybrid cloud is also an important pedagogical tool that facilitates hand-on experiments and learning activities in computer systems, parallel computing and cloud security.”

And Dr. Romo says he is confident that the power of the open cloud will extend beyond UTSA’s campus. Earlier this week, he told dozens of local movers-and-shakers at a Chamber of Commerce event that he is set on making San Antonio a true hub for the open cloud and innovation.

Rackspace Chairman Graham Weston’s non-profit, the 80/20 Foundation, is also working to make San Antonio an open cloud innovation center. The foundation helped kick-start UTSA’s cloud initiative through a recent donation.

“We collaborate closely with academia and industry to create economic value and help shape San Antonio’s future workforce,” said Lorenzo Gomez, the 80/20 Foundation’s executive director. “The idea of an open cloud enabling research that creates economic value for San Antonio and improves the velocity of scientific research is very compelling.”

Check out this video for a more in-depth look at how UTSA leverages the open cloud and Rackspace Private Cloud for scientific research.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Leezia Dhalla.

Leezia Dhalla joined Rackspace in January 2013. As a Corporate Communications team member, Leezia blogs, creates multimedia and builds presentations. She graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science.


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