The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is planning to use a private computer cloud to streamline and optimise its IT infrastructure, and has commissioned Dell to build it.
Cloud computing refers to a series of computers connected together and typically accessed via the Internet, with the main computing power often located at a different site than the user. Because of the Internet-based connectivity, cloud resources (and the data stored on them) can typically be accessed anywhere and at any time, making them more flexible and available for more uses than traditionally networked machines. Cloud systems also deliver benefits from reductions in the power demands of IT networks, both from equipment utilisation and cooling requirements, which are important for greening initiatives.
Unlike a public cloud, which is a shared cloud resource managed by a third party, a private cloud's infrastructure is used for only one organisation. NRC's bespoke cloud, to be installed on the agency's own premises, has been designed by Dell to help the agency to consolidate its data centres, replace ageing equipment and take advantage of modernised IT services to deliver performance improvements.
NRC system engineering chief Mike Williams explained to World Nuclear News that an internal private cloud will allow the agency to host its critical applications in a secure, controlled cloud environment while avoiding the security and other risks of the public cloud. While allowing for higher availability of computing resources and service redundancy, it will also provide a technical base for the development and implementation of other cloud solutions, for example providing a safe and secure internal environment to develop new applications and services which may at a future date be rolled out to a public environment.
A cloud solution can also offer the possibility of a distributed processing function, for example allowing a complex simulation to be run across the large number of smaller computers linked through the cloud. Although the NRC currently does not plan to make use of this function, Williams acknowledged that the agency plans to use its private cloud to examine how it might employ distributed processing in future.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News