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CumuloNimbo (news article)

Highly Scalable Transactional Multi-Tier PaaS

INESC TEC’s High Assurance Software Laboratory (HASLab) has recently concluded a European project where the aim was to create a platform available as a service (Platform as a Service - PaaS) for highly scalable transactional computing in the cloud.

A major innovation of the project ‘CumuloNimbo: Highly Scalable Transactional Multi-Tier PaaS’ is that it can achieve a very high scalability without losing coherence in the manipulated data, which is a common problem in the PaaS used today. The last project meeting was held on 27 November and the work was commended by the evaluation committee of the European Commission for its “excellent progress”.

The PaaS is a way of renting the entire software ecosystem, such as operating systems, databases, application servers, required to run applications in a cloud computing provider. One of the main challenges associated with cloud computing technologies and the new generation of PaaS is the question of how to guarantee easy programming, consistency and scalability, while providing the traditional abstractions and programming tools and taking advantage of the versatility offered by the cloud.

The CumuloNimbo introduces a new generation of a platform that can be installed as a Service (PaaS). It consists of modular and stackable software components that are as easy to program and provide the same consistency levels as current service oriented platforms. At the same time the platform is able to provide Internet-scale services (100s of nodes providing service to millions of clients).

Current PaaS initiatives sacrifice data consistency for the sake of scalability. Thus, data consistency becomes a responsibility of the application developers. This makes it necessary to hire highly skilled application developers capable of building applications on top of PaaS, which is often not feasible for SMEs.

According to the European Commission, the project “achieved all its scientific and technical goals and exceeded expectations”. Moreover, “exploitation and commercial potential [of the CumuloNimbo] is quite vast”.

Led by the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain) and with the participation of INESC TEC through the University of Minho, the CumuloNimbo also gathered the following partners: SAP AG  (Germany), Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (Greece), Yahoo Research (Spain), McGill University (Canada), Flexiant Limited (United Kingdom). The project was financed by the European Union through the 7th Framework-Programme.



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