European cloud testing environment to be offered free of charge during 2014

The BonFIRE Project is offering its multi-site cloud infrastructure free throughout 2014 for researchers and SMEs to use for testing and experimentation of cloud-based applications and services. Although EU investment finished at the end of 2013, the infrastructure will continue to operate as the BonFIRE Foundation.

BonFIRE provides access to large-scale virtualised compute, storage, and networking resources with high levels of control and observation for detailed experimentation. The service enables developers to research new, faster, cheaper, or more flexible ways of running applications with new business models. SMEs and researchers can test a range of cloud scenarios, such as cloud bursting and hybrid clouds, across BonFIRE’s five European sites.

The service is being continued after the end of EU-funding, as the foundation will be financed by its core members. Testbed providers, integrators, and partners who agree to provide practical support for the project are full members of the BonFIRE Foundation; other partners will retain their links as associates.

Demand for BonFIRE's Open Access facility, has exceeded the project's expectations. Vegard Engen of The IT Innovation Centre at the University of Southampton, who led the Open Access initiative, said: ‘The response to Open Access has been brilliant. We’ve received applications from all over the world including companies, research centres and universities wanting to benefit from our offer. The experiments are really diverse, with developers exploiting clouds for applications in health, e-learning, multimedia, smart cities, as well as advancing core cloud/services technologies.’

'By using BonFIRE we have cut the cost of developing applications,' said Usman Wajid, Future Internet Researcher at the University of Manchester. 'Because BonFIRE was built for testing and experimentation, it gave us total control and dedicated access to the specific physical machines where we run our experiments. We have been able to test various scenarios that reflect the real world, with the additional benefit of being able to observe in detail what happens in complex situations that we control. We have been able to adjust and investigate various cloud computing elements including network events, resource contention, elasticity, data storage using a simple web-based portal.'

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