CloudBank expands to accelerate and expand access to public cloud resources

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Eligibility for CloudBank, the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program that provides access and managed services to public cloud resources for research and education, has expanded significantly, allowing users to easier access to its resources.

In a recently published article Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), the NSF announced the extension of the CloudBank program to any active beneficiary funded by the Directorate of Computing and Engineering (CISE). NSF has also streamlined the process for cloud requests. Here are the key elements of the updated program:

  • Eligibility for any active Principal Investigator (PI) funded by CISE;
  • Direct requests for resources made directly to CloudBank (similar to other NSF programs, such as XSEDE, where IPs request resources directly through these programs). No NSF proposal is required;
  • Cloud rewards do not count towards future funding requests additional to an existing reward;
  • Easier proposal process – only requires a short completed form, accessible on Cloudbank website (IPs can expect a decision within two weeks);
  • Continuous acceptance of applications, with no deadline for submission;
  • PIs can specify a multi-year program. Resources are allocated on an annual basis, with the potential for renewal;
  • Resources are managed through the CloudBank Portal, a gateway to account creation, usage monitoring, educational resources, and expertise. The CloudBank portal allows winners to use their cloud resources on any of the partner vendors (AWS, GCP, Azure, and IBM), even if the request was not explicitly directed to that vendor.

A webinar is scheduled for May 25 to provide an overview of CloudBank and how to request resources through this DCL (nsf22087). Registration is available here.

CloudBank serves as an integrated service provider to the research community with a comprehensive set of functions for users and business operations. These services span the spectrum from novice to advanced cloud users, including front-line user support, cloud solution consulting, training, and proposal preparation support that includes cloud resources.

CloudBank offers innovative financial engineering options that provide researchers with more flexible cloud terms tailored to their needs and contribute to the sustainability of CloudBank’s operations.

CloudBank’s founding partners include UC San Diego, University of Washington (UW), UC Berkeley, and Strategic Blue, a private sector partner specializing in multi-cloud contracts and financial operations.

“CloudBank was launched as a pilot in 2020, and over the past two years we have worked closely with the NSF community to develop CloudBank services and support, and work to reduce barriers to adoption. cloud,” said CloudBank PI Mike Norman, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics at UC San Diego and former Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center. “This DCL brings structurally significant changes that will greatly facilitate access to the public cloud.”

CloudBank works closely with NSF to ensure that the benefits of the public cloud reach everyone who could benefit from it.

“From NSF’s perspective, we want to ensure that all researchers and institutions have the ability to access the potential of the public cloud,” said Deep Medhi, NSF program manager for CloudBank. “With this DCL, we have removed one of the biggest barriers to cloud access by removing the requirement for a formal NSF proposal. Now any active CISE winner can apply for cloud resources and expect receive a response in weeks, not months.”

Over the past two years, CloudBank has awarded prizes in a wide range of research and education areas, including mass transit, agricultural automation, cybersecurity, deep learning for the analysis of medical images, etc. cloud computing is not a given. At CloudBank, we particularly focus on the early stages of scaling up and helping researchers become familiar with public cloud resources. »

UW is leading outreach and training efforts for CloudBank in partnership with UC Berkeley, which provides its scalable, cloud-based Data8 software on behalf of data science courses.

CloudBank is backed by NSF (award no. 1925001).

About SDSC

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) is a leader and pioneer in high-performance, data-intensive computing, providing cyberinfrastructure resources, services, and expertise to the national research community, universities, and to industry. Located on the UC San Diego campus, SDSC supports hundreds of multidisciplinary programs spanning a wide variety of fields, from astrophysics and earth sciences to disease research and drug discovery.

About the University of Washington eScience Institute

Established in 2008, the University of Washington’s eScience Institute was one of the first campus units nationally and internationally focused on advancing data-intensive scientific discovery through the close coupling of research and education on methodology and applications.

About the UC Berkeley Division of Computing, Data Science and Society

Berkeley’s Computing, Data Science and Society Division connects computing, statistics, ethics, humanities, and social and natural sciences to accelerate cutting-edge education and research across science and technology frontiers . Berkeley’s data science education program pioneered the use of the cloud at scale, providing thousands of students with easy access to computing resources and serving as a model for universities around the world.

About Strategic Blue

Strategic Blue offers bespoke cloud financial management services as a reseller of Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Platform and other leading cloud providers, and helps organizations better understand and control their cloud costs to enable the best use of their budgets. For more information, please visit www.strategic-blue.com.



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