Adding the Easy Button to the Cloud With SnowFlock and MPI

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Executive Summary

Cloud computing promises to provide researchers with the ability to perform parallel computations using large pools of Virtual Machines (VMs), without facing the burden of owning or maintaining physical infrastructure. However, with ease of access to hundreds of VMs, comes also an increased management burden. Cloud users today must manually instantiate, configure and maintain the virtual hosts in their cluster. They must learn new cloud APIs that are not germane to the problem of parallel processing. Those APIs usually take several minutes to perform their VM-management tasks, forcing users to keep VMs idling and pay for unused processing time, rather than shut VMs down and power them on as needed. Furthermore, users must still configure their cluster management framework to launch their parallel jobs.

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