Why of cloud computing


Teaching: 5 min
Exercises: 0 min
  • What is cloud computing?

  • What are the tradeoffs of cloud computing?

  • Understand benefits of working on a remote computer system

Working with High Performance Computing Clusters including Cloud-based systems

There are a number of reasons why accessing HPC is valuable to scientists working with large datasets. Many analyses (especially in ‘omics) are too large to run on our laptops or desktops. These analyses require larger machines, often several machines linked together, and remote access to these machines is the only practical solution.

When should I use HPC?

You’ll know you need to use HPC when:

Your institution or network may provide access to HPC. For example, HPC facilities available to UK users ARCHER2, Cirrus and Bede.

When should I use cloud-based HPC?

Your institution or network may have limits on use that mean you cannot run analyses as big as you would like or as quickly. Or you may need to share software and data containers across institutional or network boundaries. In these cases you might choose to use a commerical provider such as Amazon Web Sevices, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud. Most providers offer a free level of service and “research credits” for academic use. Many institutions also have institutional level service agreements with such providers and support access and/or lower costs.

Learn more about cloud computing in bioinformatics
Fusaro, V. A., Patil, P., Gafni, E., Wall, D. P., & Tonellato, P. J. (2011). Biomedical cloud computing with Amazon Web Services. PLoS Computational Biology, 7(8), e1002147. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002147

Navale, V., & Bourne, P. E. (2018). Cloud computing applications for biomedical science: A perspective. PLoS Computational Biology, 14(6), e1006144. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006144

Key Points

  • Cloud computing increases processing speed and efficiency