Sure, it's all well and cute to think of "cloud computing" as being a magical data-fairy, but storing and processing all your fancy new CalDAV-enabled Google Calendar entries and MobileMe emails costs money, kid -- and that means it's hard for researchers to accurately simulate and build cloud research projects, since they don't have the resources to build large enough data centers. HP, Intel, and Yahoo are teaming up to alleviate that problem, though -- the three behemoths are going to build six cloud-computer research data centers around the world, stocked with anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 nodes each, with the goal of bringing them online later this year for pre-selected researchers to work on scaling, security, management, and new applications for the cloud. Three of the data centers will be hosted at HP, Intel, and Yahoo, and the other three will be at the University of Illinois, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, and the Steinbuch Centre for Computing in Germany.

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