March 29, 2017, by Stuart Moran

Working toward the provision of cloud compute services

The digital research team are actively working with Information Services to provide access to appropriate cloud services for the University.

As a part of trialling a new Research Software Engineering service in the School of Geography, it quickly became clear to us the need to secure access to the cloud. This was driven by (1) the use of Windows-based environments by the researchers, which are not suitable for running on the university’s HPC and (2) the need for scalable parallelisation.

The Architecture team in Information Services have recently helped us to setup some temporary access to Microsoft Azure, and are working with the RSE to make best use of the tools available. The ultimate aim for Azure access across the University is to have a simple menu which will help researchers to match the appropriate tool to the type of analysis they wish to achieve. Our current work with the RSE will help inform what that menu may look like, while also helping the Geography researchers do their analysis.

In addition, Amazon Web Services have been recently made accessible through Arcus Global, who are now listed as a supplier on Agresso. This means researchers no longer need to use a credit card to purchase cloud credits and can look to pay a single upfront fee or have a standing order that runs across the lifetime of a research project.

The digital research team have been helping to trial the new procurement process and to iron out any issues. We have very recently worked our way through the process, having successfully purchased credits and registered two users. Our findings from this will help to inform the service catalogue description of the process.

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