Google Shuts Down Hadoop Cloud for Researchers

Google has announced the end of its Academic Cloud Computing Initiative, the latest free product or service to be stopped, this project was started in 2007.

The project began as a joint program with IBM and the National Science Foundation and gave researchers access to a massive Hadoop cluster on which to run their data-intensive projects.

The project started in a partnership with several universities as a way to introduce students and researchers to webscale computing, and broadened its scope to the entire scientific community by collaborating with the NSF’s Cluster Exploratory program in 2008. 
The initiative was once very unique in both scope and scale in terms of computing power 

offered to the research community. Since these capabilities are becoming commonplace Google has chosen to end the ACCI altogether.

The latest trend among a handful of public cloud service providers (including Google, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle) is to take a cue from Amazon Web Services and move in on the “big data” analytics trend with Hadoop/MapReduce, an impressive multifunctional open source project.

According to Google VP of Research Alfred Spector in a recent blog, "Overall, 1,328 researchers have used the cluster to perform over 120 million computing tasks on the cluster and in the process, have published 49 scientific publications, educated thousands of students on parallel computing and supported numerous post-doctoral candidates in their academic careers."

"Three years later, there are many viable, affordable alternatives to the Academic Cloud Computing Initiative, so we have decided to bring our part of the program to a close. It was state-of-the-art four years ago when it was started; now, Academic Cloud Computing is a worldwide phenomena and there are many low-cost cloud computing options that provide viable alternatives to the Academic Cloud Computing Initiative."

Most likely he is referring to the free hours offered to researchers by cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, as well as Yahoo’s program to give researchers access to its M45 Hadoop cluster. 

Yahoo is also involved with the Open Cirrus cloud testbed along with HP and Intel, and EMC Greenplum recently announced its own 1,000-node Hadoop cluster to support the Apache community.

This is just the latest move by Google to streamline operations that are not yielding any revenues for the company.

With Google search activities providing nearly 95% of all revenues for the company, they are still seeking other profitable lines of business. This is largely viewed as a trial and error process by the company. 

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