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For the first time, an Australian national research cloud is here
Computing and computer power has long been an important part of an Australian researcher’s way of working. While there are many significant eResearch infrastructure initiatives in place in Australia, cloud computing at a national-scale, accessible to all researchers, had yet to be addressed.
NeCTAR is partnering with Australian institutions and research organisations to create, for the first time, a national research cloud for Australian researchers. The University of Melbourne has built the first node of the research cloud, operational now, and further nodes will be commissioned by other research institutions throughout 2012.
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How does the cloud support researchers?
The national research cloud empowers researchers with new self-service abilities to publish research data, share knowledge and rapidly deploy and access software applications without the burden of operating their own computer servers. Researchers can easily put their great ideas, tools, research applications and data online, instantly. The cloud supports the increasingly collaborative nature of Australian research. It is an Australian secure platform to respond rapidly to new developments, access computer power from a single server to thousands of servers and share computational results with national and international collaboration partners.
Who are the cloud partners?
NeCTAR is partnering with other research infrastructure initiatives such as the Research Data Storage Initiative and the Australian National Data Service to provide cloud users with access to significant Australian research data holdings. The Australian Access Federation provides the authentication for the research cloud.
Is it cost effective?
The NeCTAR Research Cloud provides a cost-effective computational infrastructure complementing existing and new supercomputing facilities. NeCTAR's eResearch Tools and Virtual Laboratories will deploy their applications in the national research cloud, providing access to national research communities and fostering innovation in research software services. Just as the emergence of commercial cloud services (such as Amazon) enabled new enterprises to develop and provide innovative new cloud-based applications, NeCTAR's cloud will allow innovative new services for researchers to be rapidly deployed at low cost. Successful initiatives can readily scale to meet growing demand from the research community.