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Feature Story | Mathematics and Computer Science Division

Chameleon cloud computing testbed renewed for second phase

The Chameleon cloud computing testbed has been renewed for a second phase under a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation.

Chameleon is an open-production testbed  spanning the University of Chicago and the Texas Advanced Computing Center. It supports computer science systems research – ranging from operating systems and virtualization to power management and security – by allowing users to reconfigure the resources at bare metal level, boot from a custom kernel, or access the serial console. Over the past two years of its availability Chameleon has developed a vibrant community of 1,800+ users and 300+ projects.

The $10 million renewal was announced at the first Chameleon User Meeting, held at Argonne National Laboratory on Sept. 1314. Kate Keahey, a computer scientist in Argonne’s Mathematics and Computer Science Division and director of the Chameleon project, gave the opening keynote address, in which she described new capabilities that the project will provide in the second phase. New hardware, in particular SDN-enabled Corsa switches, as well as support for repeatable experimentation will broaden the set of experiments that can be deployed and will transform Chameleon into a scientific instrument for computer science research,” said Keahey.

Among the users presenting their work at the workshop was Swann Perarnau, an MCS Division assistant computer scientist, who gave a talk titled Chameleon & Argo: Experiments in Exascale System Software.” As one of the early users of the Chameleon system he acknowledged that much progress has been made over the past two years since its public availability was announced, specifically in developing the whole disk image boot and access to the serial console, greatly facilitating Argo experiments. He also praised the modern hardware and fast team response and said that the Argo team was looking forward to future Chameleon use.

For the full program and slides from the user meeting, see the website https://​press3​.mcs​.anl​.gov/​c​c​u​s​e​r​s​2017​/​p​r​o​gram/.For a detailed discussion of the new hardware and software, as well as the planned outreach activities of the second phase of the project, see the writeup by HPCWire: