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JPL Cloud Computing

By Tom Soderstrom, IT CTO, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

JPL's Office of the CIO hosted a laboratory-wide Cloud Computing Day on May 12. The event, which drew a large audience on site and via JPL-TV, is part of a series of cloud innovation, exploration and educational events planned for 2010. The event was led by the 70-member JPL Cloud Working Group, whose members include representatives from JPL's OCIO, various JPL projects and line organizations, and industry partners.

Attendees saw live demonstrations of several JPL mission prototype applications running in the clouds; explored cloud security, network and business issues; heard about the real metrics and experiences of multiple cloud vendors and cloud types; debated JPL's strategy of keeping cloud computing real for the missions through early exploration of multiple clouds. Attendees were invited to submit their applications via an online tool to the Cloud Application Suitability Model (CASM), which helps to determine for which cloud an application is most suited. The audience was also given access to an online cloud collaboration website and invited to participate in continued development of the newly created Cloud Readiness Level (CRL) framework.

The audience of JPLers and industry partners unanimously agreed that JPL is on the right track toward effective usage of clouds "by keeping it real" and that cloud computing can have measurable benefits for JPL and NASA. With the affirmative conclusion of this event, cloud computing now transitions from a Prototype to a pilot activity at JPL.