EGI’s Federated Cloud already supporting new users

Launched last week at the EGI Community Forum the Federated Cloud is already supporting new researchers, who were up and running within 24 hours of the launch.

After the announcement on Tuesday of the launch of the Federated Cloud one researcher working on the CERN@school programme decided that it could be just the solution he was looking for. “I saw David’s talk at the Community Forum and it sounded great,” says Tom Whyntie “So I looked at the details on the EGI wiki and just followed them, it was exactly what I needed.”

The project Tom is working on is CERN@school, a programme conceived at the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys and funded by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. It brings technology from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) into the classroom to aid with the teaching of particle physics. “We want to engage students with real science, and nowadays that also means computing” explains Tom.

The project uses detectors distributed around schools in the UK and onboard a satellite (http://cernatschool.web.cern.ch/content/lucid), and accessing computing resources in schools can often present challenges. “We’ve got fantastic support from GridPP, the UK particle physics grid, for our data processing and storage – the heavy stuff,” says Tom “but there are other use cases at the other end of the scale that we’re keen to explore, particularly with the Cloud. For example, suppose I want a Linux box with Python, CERN’s ROOT framework and the CERN@school software on it to test something out. Cloud computing was an obvious answer but the commercial providers were not the best fit for us, so I was interested to see what the Federated Cloud could offer.”

In less than 24 hours Tom was able to join the Federated Cloud’s Virtual Organisation, choose a Virtual Image and get it instantiated on the Federated Cloud. “I was able to get exactly what I wanted running in the Federated Cloud,” says Tom “and the support from the team behind the infrastructure was great – which is essential if you’re part of a small research group with limited resources. It really opens up a world of opportunities. Imagine a school student using a Raspberry Pi in a school to then log in to a much more powerful Linux VM provided by the Federated Cloud. It’s exciting!”

David Wallom as Chair of the EGI Federated Cloud, launched the infrastructure on Tuesday, he is very happy with this turn of events. ”It is exciting to see the impact that our official launch has achieved beyond just the pilot user communities,” he explains, “Now others have utilised our cloud resources and can complete work otherwise not possible.”

The Federated Cloud has been designed to be a simple process for researchers to get access to the resources they need. Most importantly there is a lot of support and expertise to ensure that even novice users can use the Federated Cloud. “Tom obviously has some experience with using command lines and virtual machines but it was still very satisfying to see someone get started that quickly,” says David “It demonstrates that there is a vast swathe of researchers around Europe who could be using the Federated Cloud by the end of the week with very little work.”

Could access to a scalable, flexible computing infrastructure benefit your work? Contact EGI on support@egi.eu or read about how to use the Federated Cloud and you can be up and running by this time tomorrow.
 

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