Research >> Software Portal Hosting, Distribution & Brokerage Service Phase 1

Software Portal Hosting, Distribution & Brokerage Service Phase 1

Objective

An open portal development environment, a hosting service for the portal products, and an integrated web based electronic commerce (e-commerce) system designed to broaden the use of digital analysis computing (DAC) and model based simulation by the tiered chain of manufacturers supplying the tier 1 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

 

Approach

Develop Software Portal Hosting, Distribution and Access Infrastructure Integrated with Nimbis Services

On this project, Nimbis Services Inc. provided a software portal hosting, distribution and access infrastructure integrated with Nimbis Services current brokerage service that broadened the use of digital analysis computing or model based simulation by tier 2-4 supply chain manufacturers. The goal was to encourage development of new model based simulations applications and domain specific portals by entrepreneurs and increase accessibility/use of this new infrastructure capability by supply chain users. This was accomplished by providing a new commercial service capability built on Nimbis Services existing core brokerage technology with a user supportive environment for hosting domain specific portals, developing/hosting emerging model based simulation applications, and e-commerce distribution system with a special focus on underserved periodic and experimental industry user communities.

  1. Digital Manufacturing Portal Storefront

Created an end-user friendly digital manufacturing ecommerce storefront ecosystem that enabled target customers to rapidly access and perform digital analysis computing using a SaaS model. In collaboration with the portal developers, Nimbis utilized their application user scenarios, capability objectives, and performance metrics to prioritize the features and capabilities that were implemented. Nimbis also leveraged their existing relationships with independent software vendors, high performance computing suppliers, non-profit manufacturing centers, and DoD supply chain companies. A spiral software development process was applied.

  1. Domain Portal Toolkit

Established a portal development environment that enabled vendors, universities, and entrepreneurs to easily develop their own digital manufacturing domain specific portal implementations as plug-ins to the Nimbis hosting service.  In this task, Nimbis also developed the domain portal hosting tools.  The implementation included extensions to the existing Nimbis Cloud Portal architecture including: a new framework for hosted application domain web portals, a domain portal storefront, and tools for developing, monitoring, and tuning virtual clusters machine images/instances for domain portal application back ends. The proposed toolkits and frameworks would be built using open source software packages and rely heavily on integrated service oriented architectures and web services technologies.

  1. Portal Ecosystem Prototype

Built a complete engineering prototype of an integrated portal ecosystem incorporating the software components.  Performed small-scale technology experiments to evaluate components in the architecture which might be at technical risk. These experiments include:

  • Installed evaluation copies of target application software packages in candidate computing supplier facilities to verify compatibility,
  • Benchmarking application performance on target systems to extrapolate future application domain software portal performance,
  • Developed prototypes to experiment with software interoperability of hardware and software systems, tools, applications, and user interfaces, and
  • Evaluated external developer interface technical completeness.
  1. Digital Manufacturing Portal Ecosystem Demonstration

Evidence indicated that the prototype worked in an engineering development environment. Incorporated a candidate digital manufacturing portal application along with the Nimbis supplied interfaces, tools, and storefront.  One or more candidate portal applications were selected. This approach flushed out any portal developer related technical or user interface issues.

The end commercial product will be a tightly integrated turn-key commercial package, incorporating a portal development environment, a hosting service for the new domain specific portal application products, and a web based ecommerce Digital Manufacturing Portal storefront with low barrier, on-demand, click-through access to the software and services hosted on the portal. Achieving the end commercial product requires three development phases. Phase 1, this phase, establishes a design architecture and a Phase 2 development plan. Phase 2 will establish a working prototype and a Phase 3 commercialization plan. Phase 3 will result in the deployed end commercial product. The scope of this investigation is on Phase 1.

Details

SPONSOR / PARTNER
DARPA

DESCRIPTION
Small Business Innovation Research Project
Phase 1

YEAR
2010

TOPIC
Software Portal Hosting, Distribution & Brokerage Service

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Brian Schott
Mark Gray

PRINCIPAL-IN-CHARGE
Robert Graybill

 

Outcome

The primary results of the research in this investigation comprise the architectural design definition of a set of extensions to the existing Nimbis Cloud Portal to create a Digital Manufacturing Portal with the following design components:

  • Application domain portals
  • Domain portal storefront
  • Domain portal analytics
  • Domain portal toolkit
  • Performance monitoring and tuning tools

The goal of the Digital Manufacturing Portal is to lower the barriers to advanced technical computing for companies in the DoD supply chain and U.S. manufacturing base by developing an online marketplace for on-demand application services driven by high performance computing (HPC). The Nimbis Digital Manufacturing Portal development and hosting concept is based on traditional web marketplace hosting, where the hosting company provides common components for building a storefront (account management, order processing, order tracking, etc.) and then allows the vendors to get on with serving their products to their niche markets. This business model is very successful for products and services companies. Nimbis applies this marketplace approach to application services driven by HPC. The vendors (sellers) in this case are engineering services companies with application domain expertise and independent software vendors that provide consulting and support services. The customers (buyers) are manufacturing companies with entry-level, experimental, and/or periodic users of digital analysis computing.

 

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