Inside the box, the software is installed. At the lowest level, there is CentOS installed which uses KVM as a virtualization layer. On top of this StratusLab is installed. This is a Cloud software that is used internally and easy to install. On top of this SlipStream is installed. SlipStream allows the user to have a web interface in order to control what is being visualized.
As for the hardware, NuvlaBox has a standard motherboard with no moving parts whatsoever nor fans for cooling. This is happening through the heat sink in the front. NuvlaBox uses an i5 Intel chip with 16 gigabytes of memory and 256 gigabytes of data storage.
NuvlaBox is broadcasting on a WiFi signal. You connect to the WiFi and access the internal network. This will bring up the web interface for SlipStream. SlipStream is a Cloud application management platform to define the applications and to deploy them. When you see which applications are available, you can select one by clicking. SlipStream handles the entire deployment process and tells you when it is ready. Once the web-based application is ready, you can just click on the link and this will bring up the application itself.
SlipStream is SixSq's core product. It is used inside the NuvlaBox to have a nice interface to the local Cloud itself. It is used in HelixNebula as well with a different skin but the software behind it is exactly the same. SixSq. is using it as a Software-as-a-Service to allow people to actually do hybrid computing between different types of Cloud.
Just like in HelixNebula, there are some five or six different types of Cloud you can use. SixSq. supports about 10 to 15 different Clouds.
HelixNebula is a public-private collaboration inside of Europe, basically bringing together European Cloud providers and flagship scientific users to allow those users to use a scientific Cloud in Europe.
The cost of the NuvlaBox is 1500 euro, software and everything included. You just need to connect with your laptop or iPhone and plug it into a standard socket.
There are different usage scenarios. One usage scenario is for education in places where they do not have their own networking. You can use NuvlaBlox as a Cloud platform between various people who are all attached to the same box.
Another usage scenario is for smart grid where you want to have local computing in many different places and control it centrally. In that case, you would deploy the NuvlaBoxes in many locations and use a central SlipStream server to deploy applications on these boxes to federate on the whole infrastructure itself.
If you want to remotely control the NuvlaBox you need to have some external connectivity. For upgrading purposes, you can upgrade via the external network. If you do not have a network, you can upgrade via the USB key. So basically, you can plug in the USB key and then upgrade from the USB key.
Up til now, some 10 to 15 pieces of the NuvlaBox have been produced and are ready to ship out. Half of them have been sold. If SixSq. is accepted by the supplier, then 6000 to 14.000 of these NuvlaBoxes will be produced.
The next thing for NuvlaBox will be upgrades to the hardware to make it a bit more capable as to what it is now. There are also some scenarios where you need a large amount of computing so a larger NuvlaBox will have to be developed to use the same concept but with a lot more computing capability.
At the software level, SixSq is keeping it in sinc with the normal SlipStream updates to basically take advantage of the new SlipStream features.
In terms of the NuvlaBox software itself, the thing that has not been done yet but which is planned is to allow the NuvlaBoxes to match. If you put three of four boxes in the same area, they have to be able to discover each other and actually perform a matched network, so you can use all of them in a coherent way.