AWS Launches Research Cloud Starting in Europe

By John Russell

December 13, 2016

Amazon Web Services yesterday launched a new initiative – AWS Research Cloud – aimed at “accelerating science and innovation” according to the cloud services giant. The program is being rolled out first in Europe. Core to the offering is waived charges for data egress services for qualified researchers. AWS also seems to be taking the opportunity to promote relevant services available on Amazon Marketplace such as Alces Flight.

The new program will make it “easier for scientists to use its cloud storage, computing, and database services by waiving data egress fees for qualified researchers and academic customers; these are fees associated with data transfer out of AWS to the Internet. The maximum discount is 15% of total monthly spending on AWS services, which is several times the usage we typically see among our research customers. However, there is no cost to upload data into AWS, or move data between Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2),” according to Amazon.

As described by AWS, the new program is “for researchers working in government and education institutions (as well as their commercial counterparts) in any of the 190 countries around the world where AWS offerings are available.” It’s a little hard to tell exactly who’s excluded. The choice of Europe (including the U.K.) for the launch is interesting.

“We’re launching the program first in Europe, with instrumental Europeans institutions, like Jisc and GÈANT, because of its centrality in the world of science as well as to highlight the “research-obsessed” products and services created by many of our partners in that geography. Not only is Europe a hub for many of the world’s research collaborations, it’s also a source of computational tooling and techniques adopted globally. Many of these software tools can be found in the AWS Marketplace (which we extended to European vendors in July of this year), making a group of European science tech firms new global exporters. One example is Alces Flight, which has 1,150 science applications ready-to-run in an HPC cluster environment in minutes.

“…the program will grow over time as more and more partner offerings become available and we come up with new services (like the recently previewed AWS Batch, or new EC2 instances) that we’ll want to share with this community. Qualified members joining the program today will receive a copy of the AWS Cloud Researcher’s Handbook:

  • Research-driven discussions on accelerating time-to-science in the cloud;
  • A fast track to invoice-backed billing (no longer needing to use credit cards);
  • Automatic registration for the AWS Global Data Egress Waiver, which removes the worry of estimating network traffic charges;
  • Our best practices for securing your environment to ensure your research data is safe;
  • Tools for budget management that will help you control your spending and limit costs (preventing any over-runs);
  • A catalog of offerings from our partners, chosen for their outstanding products and work with scientists (like Alces Flight’s HPC clusters, CFD Direct, or BeeGFS from the Fraunhofer Institute).”

There’s no cost to join the AWS Research Cloud Program. Link to blog: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/publicsector/the-new-aws-research-cloud-program-accelerating-science-and-innovation/

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