The Open Commons Consortium (OCC)* is a not for profit that manages and operates cloud computing and data commons infrastructure to support scientific, medical, health care and environmental research. OCC members span the globe and include over 30 universities, companies, government agencies and national laboratories.

* (formerly the Open Cloud Consortium)

To better understand our role, it is helpful to divide projects in these areas into three groups:

  • Individual researchers and small projects typically do not need much computing infrastructure and can either operate their own or use a public cloud service provider such as Amazon.
  • The OCC is designed to serve medium to large size research projects by managing and operating a cloud computing infrastructure that can be shared across these projects.
  • Very large research projects, such as the LHC, the LSST, and the OOI, typically develop their own dedicated computing infrastructure.

The term community based science is sometimes used for the shared infrastructure that groups and organizations like the OCC provide. In the jargon of cloud computing, you can think of the OCC as providing Science as a Service or more accurately the infrastructure, platform and services to support science as a service.

The Open Commons Consortium is organized into different working groups, which manage and operate the infrastructure and services that we provide.

If you are interested in joining the Open Commons Consortium, please review the membership documents and send an email to info at occ-data dot org. Currently, we do not have a mechanism for individuals to join the OCC. Current members include research groups and organizations that can benefit from cloud computing and developers and providers of cloud computing products, services, and infrastructure.

We are primarily supported by the products, services and infrastructure of our members and by donations from foundations. We also have some support from the U.S. National Science Foundation. You can learn more about our sponsors here. Of course, we are always interested in donations and support. If you would like to support the OCC, please email us at info at occ-data dot org.

The OCC Mission

The Open Commons Consortium (OCC):

  1. Manage storage and data commons infrastructure, such as the Open Science Data Cloud Public Data Commons, the Environmental Data Commons, the BloodPAC Commons, the Biomedical Data Commons, and various contract-specific commons.
  2. Provide a governance framework to align various stakeholders in the success of a Data Commons.
  3. Provide index, metadata, transfer and other value services supporting data commons activities.
  4. Manage cloud computing infrastructure such as the Open Science Data Cloud, to support scientific, environmental, medical and health care research.
  5. Manage cloud computing testbeds, such as the Open Cloud Testbed, to improve cloud computing software and services.
  6. Develop reference implementations, benchmarks and standards, such as the MalStone Benchmark, to improve the state of the art of cloud computing.
  7. Sponsor workshops and other events related to cloud computing and data commons to educate the community.


The OCC is grateful to all its members and sponsors for the support they have provided. We would like to provide special acknowledgement to the support provided by the following Members and sponsors:

Major funding and support for the cloud computing infrastructure and services is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which has provided $2M of funding that will be using to purchase approximately 6 racks for the Open Science Data Cloud during 2011 and another 6 racks during 2012. This funding was used to launch Phase 1 of the OSDC (2011-2014).

Additional funding for the OCC has been provided by the following Sponsors:

  • Cisco provides the OCC access to the Cisco 10G C-Wave, which is used for the OCC Open Science Data Cloud and the OCC Testbed. The Cisco C-Wave helps connect with a 10 Gbps wide area network the facilities that the OCC operates in Chicago, Baltimore, San Diego, Miami and Livermore.
  • In 2011, Yahoo! donated the OCC-Y Cluster, consisting of 4 racks, 928 cores and 1 PB of storage, so that scientists at selected computer science departments could have access to a facility for doing research in data intensive computing using Hadoop and related applications.
  • The National Science Foundation NSF awarded the OCC OSDC a 5-year (2010-2016) $3.5M PIRE award to train scientists to use the OSDC and to further develop the underlying technology.
  • The StarLight Facility in Chicago allows the OSDC to connect to over 30 high performance research networks around the world at 10Gbps or higher.
  • Yahoo! donated 5 racks of equipment to the OSDC in 2008. These racks provided over 800 cores and 0.6 PB of data for the Proof of Concept OSDC (2008-2010).

If you are interested in providing funding or donating equipment or services, please contact us at info at occ-data dot org.

The Open Commons Consortium is a consortium managed by the Center for Computational Science Research, Inc., which is an Illinois based not-for-profit corporation.