Ecole Polytechnique counts among its benefactors Cisco Systems – and, enjoys a multi-faceted relationship with the company: Master-classes from their top engineers ; financial support for research projects ; joint PhD students ; continuous internship and undergraduate projects for our engineering students ; joint research leading to publications ; access to experimental platforms allowing us to take our research from theory to reality. In particular, Cisco is behind the endowment of my industrial “chaire”.
Outside of teaching and research, Cisco Systems is among the sponsors of the Ecole Polytechnique entrepreneurship center (constituted of a start-up accelerator and a start-up incubator), which is hosted in the building named “La Fibre Entrepreneur – Drahi X-Novation Center”. This building is also where my research team (and, an awesome fab-lab, btw.) is located.
These past days, the building has been abuzz with activity. Cisco delivered an “Innovation Pod’ as part of my Chaire endowment, as well as a “solution garage” to the entrepreneurship center (really, though, “Innovation Pod” and “Solution Garage” are, just cute names for “datacenter”). And that had to be installed.
FedEx came and off-loaded a pile of pallets with shrink-wrapped gear – of course, in the opposite side of campus from the entrepreneurship center where it was to be installed.
Fortunately, my colleagues Frederic Ayrault, Jiazi Yi, and Juan Antonio Cordero Fuertes were good sports, and helped move heavy stuff across campus. Just goes to show: a PhD is no obstacle to manual labor 😉
The Innovation Pod was to be installed next to the Solution Garage, and to help us do that, Cisco dispatched one of their brightest young systems engineers, Guillaume Ladhuie. His LinkedIn profile clearly suggests that he is the right man for the job:
Guillaume had brought Christian Kakanou Ngameni, an even younger, but equally bright, apprentice systems engineer along for the task. And together, they made a plan for the
two “datacenters” the InnovationPod and SolutionGarage install:
And then, Christian and Guillaume went a-racking gear like there was no tomorrow. Storage, computing nodes, switches, routers:
The rack closest to the door is the “Solution Garage” for the Entrepreneurship program — the rack further away is the donation from Cisco to my Chaire.
The physical set-up being “easy”, the next step being configuration and connection. This being two independent “datacenters” supposed to cooperate but being connected via different uplinks and catering to different requirements, Maëlan Bouazouzi from the IT team at Ecole Polytechnique helped with the latter – which Guillaume and Christian transcribed into an actual configuration.
That’s an InnovationPod (left) and a SolutionGarage (right) all ready to go – the visible difference being the sticker 😉 Note the absence of flashing lights in the final picture? Of course, the two racks were shut down after initial configuration, awaiting the official opening ceremony — which now has happened 😉
The innovation center also saw, on the same occasion, its meeting rooms equipped with TelePresence units: