[Here is an excellent article in HPC in the cloud on how the Internet 2 network is helping researchers and educators use commercial clouds.Along with Ian Foster I have long argued that commercial clouds are ideal for small and medium science teams especially in humanities, social sciences, bio-informatics, genomics, etc. Small and medium sciences teams, made up of one or two PIs, a couple post docs, technician and some graduate students is how the overwhelming type of research is done at our universities. They don’t have the IT human resources to manage large scale cyber-infrastructure facilities like physics or engineering, and in many cases they only need computing resources on an infrequent basis. As such, in the past, they often purchased a small cluster that was often lightly utilized. Many of the tools they need are now available on commercial clouds as small businesses and graduate students prefer to develop tools on such facilities because of the commercial revenue from click-compute business models.
Over the past couple of days the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research – CIFR organized a cyber-infrastructure consultation meeting with senior Canadian researchers, funding councils and government departments. In the discussions at the meeting I was struck, by how simple tasks such as moving large data files is still a significant problem for most researchers, especially those outside of physics and computer science. Many researchers are still using FedX or snail mail to ship their data to fellow researchers. This is where Ian Foster’s work with Globus On Line team is so important – to develop tools using commercial clouds that eliminate or remove the mundane tasks that consume an inordinate amount of a researcher’s time such as file transfer, indexing, massaging data, cataloging etc etc. This does not mean, in many cases, that the researchers data or computation is done on the commercial cloud, with all the attendant problems of privacy and security, etc
To my mind making life easier for researcher should be the number priority for cyber-infrastructure. Many networks like JANET, SURFnet, NORDUnet are undertaking similar initiatives as Internet 2’s NET + services. – BSA]
Ian Foster’s presentations on Research IT as a Service
Cloud Services Satisfy a Higher Calling
Internet2 sees itself as a bridge between the academic communities and commercial vendors. "We're focused on cloud computing enabling scale for a community," Waggener stated, adding, "The ability to have any researcher, any student, anywhere at any institution and instantly use services together is a very powerful opportunity."
R&E Network and Green Internet Consultant.