[Here is an excellent presentation by Ian Foster on how clouds and grids can liberate researchers from traditional IT research tasks.
As Ian points out in his presentation while much of the focus of cyber-infrastructure is on “big” science, it is the small scale and medium scale science that is struggling to manage the tsunami of its own data. This is especially true for those countries with smaller R&D budgets where the bulk of science research is in the small and medium size category. In the US there is an estimated 5500 small/medium science projects who are struggling with the challenges of IT. This is where developing tools of “research IT as a service” becomes critical. R&E networks and other organizations can play a critical role in helping these projects by outsourcing research computing and IT tasks to the cloud and providing a range of other tools. The recent Internet 2 cloud initiative is a good example. Others include the ESnet Science DMZ, SURFconext, COmanage, etc – BSA]
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