Red Hat and Boston University Announce Major Partnership to Advance Open Hybrid Cloud Research and Operations at Scale

  • Red Hat will donate $551.9 million in software subscriptions to Boston University to help drive innovation for several key open source projects that form an open research cloud initiative, including the Mass Open Cloud (MOC)
  • Red Hat and Boston University renew and expand collaboration with a new five-year agreement totaling $20 million to drive innovative research and education in open source technology

Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, and Boston University (BU), an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research, today announced an expanded collaboration to help fund education and research for open source projects, communities and hybrid cloud operations. To drive these efforts, Red Hat is donating software subscriptions, valued at $551.9 million, to BU while also announcing a renewed and expanded commitment of $20 million to support research and deepen collaboration under the Red Hat Collaboratory at BU. 

As hybrid cloud operations at scale become a key focus for organizations across industries, Red Hat is committed to providing resources to help deliver the next generation of innovation. Combining Red Hat’s vast knowledge in open source and hybrid cloud technologies with BU’s leadership in combining research and technology to solve real-world industry challenges, this partnership lays a foundation to speed breakthroughs in cloud-based technologies and related open source projects, while building critical skills needed in the next wave of IT professionals.


We are excited to renew and expand Boston University’s and Red Hat’s previous collaborations to drive research, education and collaboration in open source technology and cloud systems."

Dr. Robert A. Brown

President, Boston University

Driving open source cloud innovation

With the subscription donation, researchers across multiple universities will be able to benefit from access to Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat OpenStack Platform, Red Hat Virtualization, and Red Hat Ceph Storage. This offers BU and its partners, including Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts and the other members of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC), resources to make a greater impact on open cloud research. MGHPCC members will be able to deliver new cloud-based technologies more quickly and make existing services more efficient and accessible, helping to further research across a wider set of research fields, including computer science. 

The subscriptions, which will be distributed over a three-year period, will also help grow a series of interrelated projects that form an open research cloud initiative, including the Mass Open Cloud (MOC); New England Research Cloud (NERC); Northeast Storage Exchange (NESE); Open Cloud Testbed (OCT); and Open Storage Network (OSN). The growth of these projects will help advance research in computing and artificial intelligence operations (AIOps), creating a regional center of excellence in cloud research. This also provides a stable and accessible space for open source communities to develop operational knowledge around cloud infrastructure. 

Already, these projects have had significant impact, including: 

  • Significant contributions to open source storage, operating systems and security projects; 

  • The development of critical advancements such as the ChRIS Research Integration Service in collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital. ChRIS is a web-based medical image platform developed using Red Hat technologies on the MOC that provides a distributed user interface that is designed to enable real-time collaboration between clinicians and radiologists around the world;

  • Additional research funding, including a recent grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Computer and Network Systems to help fund the development of the OCT, a national cloud testbed for research and development of new cloud computing platforms; and

  • Efforts to close the education skills gap so that students and graduates have the ability to work with premium industry-standard open source software.

A continued commitment to research and education

In 2017, Red Hat announced a collaborative research and education agreement with BU, now known as the Red Hat Collaboratory, to advance research and education in open source and emerging technologies, including cloud computing, machine learning, automation and big data. With today’s announcement, Red Hat is expanding this grant to total $20 million over five years. 

Hosted within the Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering at Boston University, the Red Hat Collaboratory is dedicated to leading integrated initiatives in research, education, and technology development targeting all layers of the cloud computing ecosystem. This extended agreement includes plans to: 

  • Create a joint operations research center for the study of automated hybrid cloud operations at a larger scale. The center will bring together Red Hat operations engineers, BU researchers, faculty and students to advance operations and systems research using the cloud ops data generated by the open research cloud initiative.

  • Expand the Red Hat Collaboratory’s support of BU faculty and student researchers, including the Red Hat Graduate Fellows focused on scaling the open hybrid cloud. Red Hat Graduate Fellows work with Red Hat engineers to help make their work relevant to open source to drive “big ideas initiatives” into upstream projects. The program includes summer internships at Red Hat’s expanded Boston facility. Since the original agreement in 2017, the partnership has funded research by 11 different BU faculty, involving more than 22 different graduate students and close to 50 undergraduate students. Through the program, several dozen BU graduates have found careers at Red Hat.

  • Support open source development and give BU students the opportunity to develop and operate cloud software as part of their education through continued work on the Operate First project. This initiative aims to change software development practice and emphasizes operating software while developing it. Research and teaching in this set of practices will change open source development and give BU students the opportunity to learn how to develop and operate cloud software as part of their education.

Supporting Quotes

Dr. Robert A. Brown, President, Boston University
“The Red Hat Collaboratory and the open research cloud initiative create a unique environment in which academic researchers and the open source community can engage. The cloud is transforming how research is conducted to address pressing societal challenges that require cross-disciplinary and cross-industry innovation. We are excited to renew and expand Boston University’s and Red Hat’s previous collaborations to drive research, education and collaboration in open source technology and cloud systems.“

Paul Cormier, president and CEO, Red Hat
“Red Hat continues to be passionate about the work being done at Boston University to deliver impactful solutions with open, hybrid cloud technologies. By expanding our collaboration with BU, we can help advance the groundbreaking work on projects within the open research cloud initiative like the Mass Open Cloud. By working together, we can help deliver the next generation of open source technologies that solve real-world challenges as the industry moves to hybrid cloud as its preferred architecture and deployment model for the future.”

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