How GRNET Provides cloud services for science and government

Okeanos [1] is an IaaS cloud service developed and operated by GRNET [2]. The service is powered by Synnefo [3], an open source software build on top of existing proven open source software (Google Ganeti, Ceph, etc.) which has been expanded in-house in order to provide a robust and complete IaaS cloud solution. The incentive for building the service has been the provision of public IaaS cloud service free of charge to the Greek Research and Academic community. ~okeanos is a national-funded project the success of which has seen expansion beyond national borders, attracting international collaborations and use cases. 
 

~okeanos is one of the cloud services that participate in the European Grid Infrastructure’s (EGI) Federated Cloud [4] providing computing resources to the high-productivity federated infrastructure offered by EGI. GRNET is using ~okeanos to offer public cloud services to the GÉANT [5] community through the ~okeanos GLOBAL initiative [6] enabled in part of GÉANT’s GN3+ SA7 Support to Clouds activity. Moreover, the service is now an integral part of a number of existing and upcoming EC funded project, for example ~okeanos is one of the cloud services participating in the CELAR FP7 [7] project, which is developing advanced cloud elasticity capabilities.
 
GRNET is currently faced with a number of challenges regarding the future of ~okeanos. The increased demand for computing resources is pushing GRNET to expand its underlying computing capacity. At this moment, GRNET is running a number of procurement projects seeking to build the required physical infrastructure for hosting cloud services. Probably the most notable of them is the development of an innovative container-based data centre, currently being constructed by the banks of Louros river in Central Greece, nearby an hydroelectric dam operated by the public power corporation (PPC). The data centre will use water from the river in order to cool the IT equipment and electricity produced by the dam, making it an excellent example of Green IT implementation. This data centre will act mainly as disaster recovery of the main data centre in Athens, which is also being expanded in order to accommodate a larger capacity of physical resources. 
 
The underlying software is also evolving in order to support new technologies, capabilities and use cases. GRNET is also aiming to expand its cloud offerings beyond IaaS and exploit ~okeanos to develop state-of-the-art services on the PaaS level.
 
Sustainability and funding are also two obvious challenges. ~okeanos, as part of GRNET's activities, has been included in Greece's national strategic map of research infrastructures and is expected to continue to be funded until 2020. What is evident though is that the scale and quality of service that ~okeanos is currently targeting cannot rely on government or EC funding alone. Rather, it calls for a partial commercialization of the service. GRNET is currently investigating possible business models and is examining pricing models that could be used for commercial exploitation of the service. The process is less than trivial but is crucial for the sustainability of the service and to ensure that ~okeanos will remain competitive and relevant comparing to other open source and other commercial cloud solutions. 
 
References
[3] Synnefo cloud software stack, http://www.synnefo.org
[4] EGI Federated Cloud Task Force, 
[7] CELAR project, http://www.celarcloud.eu