Stanford Cloud Workshop

The Industry-Academia Partnership (IAP) held the Stanford IAP Cloud Workshop on Friday, December 6, 2013 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, with the theme "Meeting the Future Needs of the Data Center and Cloud.”

Comments from Academic Participants

Professor Onur Mutlu, the Strecker Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and the inaugural winner of the IEEE Computer Society TCCA Young Computer Architect Award stated, “This was a terrific workshop, a delight to participate along with so many academic and industry colleagues, and the many students from Stanford, Berkeley and, of course, Carnegie Mellon.  I view interactions with our industry colleagues like this as key to informing our research activities, and greatly look forward to hosting an IAP Workshop in 2014.”

Professor Christos Kozyrakis, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at Stanford University stated after his afternoon keynote, “We are at an exciting time in cloud computing, and also a challenging time for cloud technologies, as operators strive to meet increasing performance and cost-of-ownership demands. I am very pleased to see the broad industry participation at this Workshop from across the technology solution stack in hardware and software; such cooperation is needed with academia to meet the future needs of the cloud. It is also great to see the enthusiastic participation from the other universities in addition to Stanford."

Professors Mutlu and Kozyrakis are IAP Board Advisors. Prof. Kozyrakis was the Stanford host and Workshop co-organizer with Paul Rad of Rackspace and Jim Ballingall, IAP Executive Director.

The Best Poster Award went to Christina Delimitrou of Stanford, presented by Monique Morrow, CTO Services at Cisco and Amer Haider, Vice President, Cavium. Cisco and Cavium were Platinum Sponsors of the Workshop. Delimitrou was awarded $500 for her presentation entitled “Improving Resource-Efficiency in Cloud Computing”. Delimitrou studied a large cluster at Twitter managed by Mesos, and designed a new cluster management system that automatically explores the large space of options for an efficient way to pack workloads onto compute nodes.

Panelists address a question from the floor. Pictured (left to right) are Prof. Christos Kozyrakis, Stanford, Monique Morrow, CTO Services at Cisco, Mukhtiar Shaikh, Distinguished Engineer at Brocade, and Kin-Yip Liu, Sr. Director of Systems Applications Engineering at Cavium. The panel topic was “The Future of Cloud Resource Management – Virtualization vs. Containers vs. Bare Metal.” Prof. Kozyrakis moderated the panel.

In addition to the panel, there were expert presentations on the hardware and software technology needs to support the future data center and cloud from industry engineers and professors, including Brocade, Carnegie Mellon, Cavium, Samsung, Sandisk, Stanford, and the University of Toronto. The student poster session displayed cloud related research by students and post-docs from Carnegie Mellon University, San Jose State University, Stanford University, and the University of Toronto, representing the collective contributions of 25 students, professors, and industry researchers.

Vivek Seshadri, a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon, describes his poster on reducing main memory power consumption to Stanford grad students Jonathan Ellithorpe and Satoshi Matsushita.

Dr. Samira Khan, Carnegie Mellon, describes a collaborative research effort with industry for more efficient hardware and software cooperative management of storage and memory systems.

Several companies involved in data center operations, infrastructure, hardware components and software supported the Workshop including Brocade, Canonical, Cavium, Cisco, Imagination Technologies, LG CNS, OpenStack, Rackspace, SanDisk, Samsung, SK Hynix, and Ubuntu. Rackspace donated Free Openstack Training to many student attendees, a 12-hour course conducted on university campuses.

Mike Harris of SanDisk describes internship and career opportunities to several interested students at the Career Fair that ran during the lunch and networking session, co-located with the student posters.

There were three technical sessions, each with a keynote presentation. Professor Onur Mutlu kicked off the Storage Solutions session with the keynote "Rethinking Memory System Design for Data-Intensive Computing". Professor Mutlu, one of the world’s leading authorities on memory and storage systems, described several innovative methods his research group is exploring to improve data center system performance, while also significantly reducing main memory bandwidth and energy consumption. Bob Brennan, Senior Vice President at Samsung provided a complementary industry viewpoint, describing the roadmap options for data center memory in his presentation “Beyond DRAM: Memory System Architecture for the Future of Cloud Memory”.

In the Cloud Workloads session, Professor Christos Kozyrakis presented the keynote “Resource Efficient Cloud Computing”, describing new approaches to dynamically manage cloud facilities to substantially improve workload performance, resource utilization, and total cost of ownership. Dr. Brian O'Krafka, Chief Architect and Fellow at SanDisk, reviewed detailed benchmarking studies on a wide variety of cloud workloads utilizing a unique all-flash memory system. O’Krafka showed substantial acceleration of Cassandra, Memcached, MongoDB and Redis - orders of magnitude superior to hard disc drives and in many cases providing significant performance and cost benefits vs. traditional DRAM solutions due to the massive parallelization of applications using a SanDisk developed “flash data fabric” coupled with the inherent low cost and high density of flash memory.

The Network Function Virtualization (NFV) session overviewed the premises and emerging solutions for NFV. Mukhtiar Shaikh, Distinguished Engineer at Brocade, delivered the keynote “NFV: The Architectural Framework for Workload Agility and Deployment Use Cases”. Shaikh described the architectural framework outlined by the NFV Working Group, and described some specific NFV solutions for a flexible, low cost and fault tolerant telco cloud. Kin-Yip Liu, Sr. Director, Systems Applications Engineering at Cavium, described the cost and performance benefits of specialized, re-purposeable processors to augment commodity x86 processors, offloading the acceleration of network, storage and security functions including TCP/IP, encryption, pattern matching and deep packet inspection, data compression, RAID, and de-duplication.

Comments from Industry Participants

Monique Morrow, CTO Services at Cisco, commented, “This was an excellent event! The caliber of the speakers at the Stanford Cloud Workshop was very impressive.  These Workshops are a terrific opportunity to network with leaders in the field and meet with many talented grad and undergrad students from leading universities.  I was really pleased to see the strong turnout and the energy of the students from Stanford, as well as from Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon.”

Bob Brennan, Senior Vice President at Samsung commented, "An IAP Workshop is a great conference to discuss disruptive technology trends.  The Workshop format provides a structured yet informal setting for give-and-take discussion, and it was wonderful to interact with so many academics and talented students. Samsung is delighted participate in IAP Workshops for their R&D value, and our recruiting team enjoyed the enthusiasm of the students in the Career Fair session during lunch."

Mukhtiar Shaikh, Distinguished Engineer at Brocade commented, "The IAP Cloud Workshop at Stanford was extremely worthwhile for me and my Brocade colleagues; offering a forum to network with leading academic and industry stakeholders regarding the future needs of the data center. Our HR and university recruiting teams also made many new contacts at the workshop. We view university collaboration to be a key component for R&D and new product development and look forward to future IAP Workshops.”

Paul Rad, Vice President of Private Cloud Certification at Rackspace stated, “The IAP is a unique association of high level industry and academia researchers dedicated to new developments that impact the future data center. At Rackspace, we view university collaboration to be a key component for R&D and new product development and also view these IAP Workshops to be outstanding venues to interact with fellow researchers and students.”

Dr. Brian O'Krafka, Chief Architect and Fellow at SanDisk commented, “The IAP provides a unique opportunity for a cloud storage solutions provider such as SanDisk to interact with leaders in academia and industry across the entire solution stack from components to software and data center infrastructure. The student poster presentations were truly excellent, and I was delighted the Q&A for my presentation extended well into the break after the session, reflecting the strong interest from students and industry alike in our work on cloud workloads.”

Kin-Yip Liu, Sr. Director, Systems Applications Engineering at Cavium, stated, “I am very pleased to participate in activities like these in an area where industry-academia collaborations are essential to push innovation forward. It also was great to see our HR and university relations teams meeting with many students in the Career Fair session during lunch. I greatly look forward to IAP workshops in 2014.”

Dr. Jim Ballingall, Executive Director of the IAP summed up, “According to university program rankings such as U.S. News and World Report, 3 of the top 5 computer science and engineering programs in the world were represented at the Stanford Cloud Workshop. We are also pleased with the high level of industry participation, and the breadth and depth of expertise represented; and we want to thank the students from the Stanford Tau Beta Pi and IEEE chapters who assisted the IAP staff with checking in and badging the Workshop pre-registrants, as well as publicizing the event on campus.”