Hosted at Boston University’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, the goal of the Open Research Cloud Initiative (ORCI) is to create an open production cloud that provides domain researchers with predictable low-cost resources and facilitator support while enabling academic researchers and developers in the open source community to participate in the kind of close interactions between research, development, and production operations that has resulted in so much innovation in today’s public clouds.  

ORCI does this by coordinating and helping bridge gaps between a set of projects that operate production cloud services, enable systems research, and engage a community of open source developers.  

Currently, these projects include:

  • Operating Production Services: Enabling researchers that want to use cloud services. 
    • New England Research Cloud (NERC)  – A production cloud currently being developed with professional operations and a team of experienced facilitators
    • Northeast Storage Exchange (NESE) – A production storage service, operated by a professional staff from Harvard and BU, that is over 24PB today and growing rapidly
    • Open Storage Network (OSN) – A distributed data storage service to support active data sharing and transfer between academic institutions, operated by a collaboration that currently includes five sites across the US 
    • Enkefalos cluster – A HPC/OpenShift medical research cluster set up by Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) that is working towards HIPAA compliance
  • Enabling Systems Research:  Enabling systems research in new cloud capabilities. 
    • Open Cloud Testbed (OCT) – A NSF (Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Community Research Infrastructure Program, Award #1925464) funded national testbed for cloud research
    • Red Hat Collaboratory – A partnership between Red Hat and BU to drive fundamental research that has a path to deployment
  • Enabling Development: Enabling the development community to engage with the systems research and production operations, develop and integrate new services, and offer them to research users. 
    • Mass Open Cloud (MOC) – A platform for experimental cloud services
    • OpenInfra Labs – A community for operators to publish and integrate prescriptive deployments of cloud services that can be federated
    • Operate First – An initiative to expose software as experimental services to real users before releasing it as products
    • BioGrids – An integrated suite of several hundred biomedical software applications

We expect new projects to join the initiative over time. 

While the focus of ORCI is regional, it is envisioned to become part of a network of production clouds connecting open source projects to production.

More about the i-Scale IUCRC

The goal of the National Science Foundation Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) program ( is to encourage high-impact research through collaboration between academic researchers and industry. Centers in this program are membership organizations, working within the scope of a per-Center research mission but with decisions on direction and research funding (from membership dues) largely determined by an Industrial Advisory Board. In the IUCRC portion of this workshop, we will be following an NSF-established process to both gather feedback on proposed i-Scale research projects and gauge the depth of industry support for creating a research center focused on the challenges of computing systems at large scale, across software, networking and hardware layers.