Stanford Cloud Workshop at the Computer History Museum Reveals Hardware and Software Innovations to Power the Future of Cloud Computing

Speakers from Industry and Academia Describe R&D Efforts to Meet the Future Needs of the Data Center and Cloud

Los Gatos, California – January 8, 2014
The Industry-Academia Partnership (IAP) conducted the 2013 Stanford Cloud Workshop at The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California on December 6 with the theme "Meeting the Future Needs of the Data Center and Cloud". The IAP is a new association formed to address the revolutionary changes required for the underlying hardware and software as multi-core compute, storage and networking converge for the future data center and cloud.

Workshop Organizers included Professor Christos Kozyrakis of Stanford University, Paul Rad of Rackspace, and Dr. Jim Ballingall, IAP Executive Director.

Speakers from industry and academia described their research and development efforts underway to meet the future needs of the data center and cloud.

In addition to Stanford University, the Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Computer Engineering departments from Carnegie Mellon University, San Jose State University, UC Berkeley, and the University of Toronto were represented.

The Storage Solutions session covered future approaches to server memory solutions and the data center memory hierarchy.

  • The keynote "Rethinking Memory System Design for Data-Intensive Computing", was delivered by Professor Onur Mutlu, Carnegie Mellon University.  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”.

The Cloud Workloads session focused on new methods to improve performance and power efficiency in large data centers.

  • The keynote “Resource Efficient Cloud Computing”, by Professor Christos Kozyrakis of Stanford, described new approaches to dynamically manage cloud facilities to substantially improve workload performance, resource utilization, and total cost of ownership.
  • Professor Andreas Moshovos, University of Toronto, described his team’s work to develop hardware methods for dynamically scheduling online transaction processing (OLTP) to mitigate OLTP bottlenecks, achieving performance gains in the range of 35% to 79% for TPC-C and TPC-E, the two standard OLTP benchmarks.
  • 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/decryption, pattern matching and deep packet inspection, data compression/de-compression, RAID, and de-duplication.

Monique Morrow, CTO Services at Cisco, joined Shaikh, Liu and Professor Kozyrakis in a panel discussion “Data Center Resource Management: Virtual Machines vs. Containers vs. Bare-metal”.  Morrow led with the perspective that virtualization and software defined networking in both the data center and the cloud are now firmly established, and data center operators, telco carriers, and end users are expecting the hardware and software providers to deliver ever increasing benefits in flexibility, speed and cost.  Morrow stated, “We will see an evolving mix in resource management technologies and strategies over the next few years, as data center and cloud operators strive to serve the high expectations of their users for continually more flexible, fast and affordable service.”

The student poster session displayed cloud related research by students 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. Christina Delimitrou of Stanford was awarded the Best Poster Award for her research 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. The system was tested by Delimitrou over a range of workload scenarios, including combinations of distributed frameworks and low-latency, stateful services, both on a local cluster and a 200-server EC2 cluster, increasing utilization while providing higher application performance. The Best Poster Award and $500 check were presented to Delimitrou by executives from the Workshop Platinum Sponsors - Monique Morrow, CTO Services at Cisco, and Amer Haider, Vice President, Corporate Development at Cavium (see accompanying photo to press release).

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.”

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.”

Paul Rad, Vice President Open Cloud Research at Rackspace and Director of Cloud and Big Data at UT San Antonio stated, “At Rackspace, we view our collaborations with academia to be instrumental in driving open source technologies and standards like OpenStack and Open Cloud.  The IAP Workshops are truly outstanding venues to interact with fellow researchers and talented students who are developing the next generation of cloud technologies.”

Professor Onur Mutlu, IAP Board Advisor, 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, IAP Board Advisor, and 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 was 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 was also great to see the enthusiastic participation from the other universities in addition to Stanford.”

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 pleased with the high level of industry participation, and the breadth and depth of expertise represented. We also 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.”

IAP membership and attendance at IAP Workshops is free for university professors, staff and students.  Industry attendees must be IAP members or invited by the IAP.  For further information, see

Video transcripts and slides of the presentations will be made available to IAP members. For further information, see

About the Industry-Academia Partnership: The IAP is an association of university professors, students and industry with the goal being to catalyze new product innovations by bringing together industry and university partners in pursuit of some common data center goals in education, research and product development. The IAP Board of Advisors includes Professor David Brooks of Harvard University, Professor Christos Kozyrakis of Stanford University, Professor José Martínez of Cornell University, Professor Onur Mutlu of Carnegie Mellon University, and Professor Daniel Sanchez of MIT. Dr. Jim Ballingall of Ballingall Consulting is the Executive Director. The IAP conducts workshops periodically on university campuses.  For further information, visit the IAP website at and contact the IAP at