447 Open-Source Application Streaming with Docker and Unidata's Cloudstream Technology Stack

Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Ward Fisher, UCAR, Boulder, CO

The rise in cloud computing, coupled with the growth of “Big Data”, has lead to a migration away from local scientific data storage. The increasing size of remote scientific data sets increase, however, makes it difficult for scientists to subject them to large-scale analysis and visualization. These large datasets can take an inordinate amount of time to download; subsetting is a potential solution, but subsetting services are not yet ubiquitous. Data providers may also pay steep prices, as many cloud providers meter data based on how much data leaves their cloud service.

The solution to this problem is a deceptively simple one; move data analysis and visualization tools to the cloud, so that scientists may perform data-proximate analysis and visualization. This results in increased transfer speeds, while egress costs are lowered or completely eliminated. The challenge now becomes creating tools which are cloud-ready.

The solution to this challenge is provided by Application Streaming. This technology allows a program to run entirely on a remote virtual machine while still allowing for interactivity and dynamic visualizations. When coupled with containerization technology such as Docker, we are able to easily deploy legacy analysis and visualization software to the cloud whilst retaining access via a desktop, netbook, a smartphone, or the next generation of hardware, whatever it may be.

Unidata has created a Docker-based solution for easily adapting legacy software for Application Streaming. This technology stack, dubbed Cloudstream, allows desktop software to run in the cloud with little-to-no effort. The docker container is configured by editing text files, and the legacy software does not need to be modified in any way. This work will discuss the underlying technologies used by Cloudstream, and outline how to use Cloudstream to run and access an existing desktop application to the cloud.

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