Improved cloud elasticity and cleaner data centres – a joint project launched by Inria and Scalair
In September 2017, the CIRRUS team, made up of the Spirals project team from the Inria Lille - Nord Europe Research Centre and the company Scalair, was awarded the “Joint Lab‑Company Team” label by the Hauts-de-France region. The research team is working on cloud computing in two key areas: elasticity of cloud-based applications and low-carbon cloud infrastructure.
Cloud elasticity, for a more flexible cloud and optimised costs
Applications use a lot of resources that fluctuate constantly according to demand (i.e. number of connected users). The cloud is still relatively rigid today, however, requiring human intervention to deploy or withdraw resources. The CIRRUS team is striving to create cloud platform models that can adapt automatically to real-time demand. The research has many potential applications. For example, cloud elasticity could significantly lower hosting costs for mail order companies.
Green, energy-efficient computing
Cloud elasticity undoubtedly improves the user experience, but may require more and more resources as resource consumption increases automatically when applications are in high demand. CIRRUS team’s two objectives – cloud elasticity and greener computing – might therefore seem contradictory; the team’s challenge is precisely to find solutions to reconcile these two objectives and ensure that cloud elasticity results in energy savings rather than increased consumption. Research is being conducted on low-carbon data centres, for example.
Inria and Scalair: a close lab-company partnership
Since 2014, the Inria Lille - Nord Europe Research Centre and Scalair have led several successful initiatives together, including participation in the PIA OCCIware project from 2014 to 2017 and the joint supervision of Yahya Al Dhuraibi's CIFRE [industrial agreement for training through research] thesis since 2015. A new step has been taken with the creation of this joint research team. As of September 2018, the team will be one of the first two teams to be based in Inria’s new building at EuraTechnologies. In the long term, Inria and Scalair could set up a joint research and development laboratory.
Inria, the French National Institute for Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, promotes “scientific excellence for technology transfer and society”. It employs 2,400 members of staff from some of the world's most prestigious universities, who endeavour to address the latest challenges in computer science and mathematics. Thanks to its open and flexible model, Inria is exploring new and original ways of conducting research alongside its industrial and academic partners. In this way, Inria is better equipped to face the many multidisciplinary and application challenges of the digital transition. Inria is behind a great many innovations that create value and jobs.
About the Inria Lille - Nord Europe Research Centre
The Inria Lille - Nord Europe Research Centre, established in 2008, employs 360 people, including 300 scientists working in 16 different research teams. Renowned for its committed involvement in the socio-economic development of the Hauts-de-France region, the Centre works alongside its academic, institutional and industry partners on major research and innovation projects in the field of digital technology.
Scalair is a cloud operator and architect. Scalair provides supports for businesses with their cloud strategy (i.e. hosting, integration, facility management, etc.) and with setting up secure, scalable, hybrid infrastructure with on-demand resource consumption. Scalair is part of the OktoCampus Group (Scalair, Vade Secure, OpenIO), which employs around 120 people in San Francisco, Montreal, Hong Kong and Tokyo, as well as in Hem (Lille area), Betton (in Brittany), and Paris in France. Scalair invests 15% of its revenue (€6.1 million in 2016) in research and development.
*CIRRUS is a joint Inria Lille - Scalair team. Within Inria Lille, the CIRRUS team was born from the Spirals project team, a University of Lille partner, from the CNRS - Centrale Lille -Université de Lille, CRIStAL 9189 Joint Research Lab (UMR).
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This project was sponsored by the The European Union with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).