BRC launches Cloud Computing Support for research and instruction

September 11, 2015

To help accommodate the growing demand for cloud computing resources from UC Berkeley faculty and other campus researchers, Berkeley Research Computing (BRC) has launched a Cloud Computing Support program, consisting of consulting services, documentation, and tools to help facilitate cloud computing access. BRC has provided informal consulting support for cloud-based research since summer 2014.

Cloud computing is the use of computational resources, storage, and applications acquired from commercial cloud platforms such as Amazon Web ServicesMicrosoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, and national computational centers such as XSEDE and NERSC. Cloud resources are attractive to campus researchers because they can flexibly be configured to increase or decrease each server’s computational and storage capacity; can be easily duplicated to scale the number of servers applied to a research task; and can run a wide variety of base operating systems and software packages.

However, there are also significant impediments to using these resources. First, researchers must determine whether the cloud is suitable for their specific research requirements, and investigate and select a cloud provider from among a number of potential candidates. And even then, they will often face subsequent challenges, including funding and the complexity of provisioning and managing cloud resources.

To address these and other challenges, support for the cloud is provided by consultants who serve as a first point of contact with faculty, researchers, and staff to:

  • match research and instructional requirements with appropriate cloud resources;
  • facilitate access to cloud resources; and,
  • automate cloud provisioning.

BRC’s cloud services consultants are part of a growing team of IT staff, research staff, and graduate students with expertise in cloud computing and other computational methods, as well as expertise and backgrounds in domain areas.  They work closely with a wider network of consultants including other programs in the Research IT group, the LBNL High Performance Computing Services group, and other campus partners such as the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS), D-Lab, the Statistical Computing Facility (SCF), and the University Library.

If you would like to find out more about Cloud Computing Support or schedule time with a consultant, please visit the Cloud Computing Support page for more info.

The Berkeley Research Computing program is supported by a partnership among the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor for Research, and the campus CIO.