Use Cases at the Cloud Forum: OCRE-Funded HPC in the Cloud at the University of Bath

GÉANT Cloud Services team hosts a bi-weekly Cloud Forum, a place where Cloud Delivery Service Managers from NRENs across Europe meet to share knowledge, ideas and tips on providing and deploying cloud services at member institutions. The original Cloud Forum started meeting regularly online since 2016 (way before everyone was meeting online!) and has proven a valuable channel to develop, disseminate and expand the single marketplace cloud service catalogue of the GÉANT project. This includes a wide range of public and community cloud service offerings support the kind of dynamic collaboration academic research requires. This diverse range of service providers and cloud services offers NRENs and the research and education community a quick and easy guide and resources, alongside framework agreements reached with providers that meet the specific needs for cloud services for the research and education community and to assist and streamline procurement processes. The most recent addition of the unified OCRE (Open Clouds for Research Environments) framework, of 467 commercial cloud contracts to date (and growing) with IaaS vendors to ease access and provide volume discounts to research and education institutions.

The November 25, 2022 Cloud Forum featured something new: guest presentations from users who have consumed these services. More user presentations from the field are planned for upcoming Cloud Forum sessions.

For the first time, recordings of these sessions are being made available to the public, to help spread this knowledge and so that more users, and potential users, can see firsthand the benefits of acquiring GÉANT Cloud offerings via their NRENs.

The first in the series was from the University of Bath in the UK. The presentations featured the challenges, benefits and HPC in the cloud.

Reaching the Cloud for High Performance Computing

Dr. Stefano Angioni, a Senior Cloud Architect explained the University’s journey to relying on cloud infrastructure to enhance their portfolio of HPC services, and how it helped overcome the challenges of totally on-premise systems, such as obsolescence, maintenance costs, long waits for core hours that can slow down research, scalability. The cloud-based elements of the portfolio were supplied within the OCRE framework. Dr. Angioni discussed the decision making process, the pilot and the benchmarking phases that proved not only viability, but the inherent advantages of migrating to the cloud-based IT infrastructure.

Exploring new high-potential 2D materials

Professor Daniel Wolverson, from the University of Bath’s Physics Department Centre for Nanoscience & Nanotechnology presented a summary of how his research group uses OCRE-funded cloud supercomputing to predict new 2D materials and identify properties of recently discovered 2D semiconductor materials. This research has many promising applications in electronics, healthcare, and new energy. The research requires advanced scientific facilities and techniques to expose 2D materials to powerful X-rays produced at a synchroton beam facility, a process that generates vast amounts of data. Sophisticated cloud computational modelling, funded by OCRE, is enabling the group to analyse the data effectively.

Stay tuned here for more valuable recordings from upcoming Cloud Forum sessions.

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