Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bringing Open, User-Centric Cloud Infrastructure to Research Communities

Communities CORDIS News

European researchers working on the VENUS-C project have developed an open, scalable, and user-centered cloud computing infrastructure, highlighting an attempt to implement a user-centric approach to the cloud. Cloud computing empowers researchers "in a number of different ways, enabling them not only to do better science by accelerating discovery but also new science they could not have done before," says VENUS-C project director Andrea Manieri. The new infrastructure integrates easily with users' working environments and provides on-demand access to cloud resources as and when needed. "Our approach to the interoperability layer tackles current challenges with our users firmly in mind," Manieri says. The researchers used the VENUS-C infrastructure on Microsoft's Windows Azure platform to run BLAST, a data-intensive tool used by biologists to find regions of local similarity in amino-acid sequences of different proteins. The VENUS-C infrastructure made the experiment cost less than 600 euros and take just a week to process the data that normally would have taken more than year. "The advantage of using VENUS-C BLAST compared with renting cloud resources and deploying high-performance computing or high-throughput versions of BLAST is that deployment efforts are minimized and client impact is also minimal, since users don’t have to log-in on a different machine," says VENUS-C's Ignacio Blanquer.

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