The OCRE framework makes procurement more straightforward but the University of Bath has faced challenges in adopting public cloud. They’re mostly cultural, according to Dr Steven Chapman, Bath’s advancing research computing manager.
“We’ve been preparing people with a communications plan,” he says. “People find it hard to let go of things and not to worry about moving data off-site, because security is obviously a huge priority."
“They also worry about cost, especially about how to cost the project accurately and where to allocate expenditure. The OCRE framework helps to calm those worries and we’re also encouraging them to think about value as well as cost – to consider what else we will be able to do when we have the infrastructure fully set up.”
OCRE funding for research
The OCRE consortium has allocated 9.5m euros (ocre-project.eu/funding-opportunities) in service credits for projects that offer real-world examples of how commercial cloud services can support improved research outcomes, and a University of Bath physics researcher has won one of these grants, worth €75,000.
His research project relies on HPC to perform density functional theory (DFT) simulations for predictive modelling of new 2D materials and heterostructures. It has probably succeeded in getting OCRE’s additional funding because it involves giving undergraduates experience in using HPC and cloud technologies during their final year research projects, says Steven.
“Cloud is supporting our teaching programmes and we hope many of the undergraduates involved will build their final year projects around it. The extra scalability of public cloud will give the students the ability to get ‘on’ when they need to, and that’s important when they only have a few months to get things finished.”