A project is under way to provide the UK medical microbiology community with access to free cloud-based computing, storage and analytics capabilities – a project charities hope will lead to breakthroughs in medical technology.
The cloud infrastructure for microbial bioinformatics (Climb) project is being jointly overseen by the Universities of Bath, Birmingham, Cardiff, Swansea and Warwick, and is thought to be the largest of its kind in the world.
Funded by the UK’s Medical Research Council, the project will see four of the five universities involved pooling their compute resources. They will give researchers easy access to huge data storage repositories, backed by high-memory servers linked to key biological databases.
Professor Mark Pallen of Microbial Genomics at the University of Warwick is the principal investigator on the project. He said: “CLIMB represents a user-friendly, one-stop shop for sharing software and data between medical microbiologists in the academic and clinical arenas.
“Using the cloud means that rather than dozens, or even hundreds, of research groups across the country having to set up and maintain their own servers, users can access shared pre-configured computational resources on demand.”
Key to the set-up is the concept of virtualisation, which allows users to work in a simulated computer environment populated by virtual machines (VMs), which sit on top of the physical hardware, but look to the user just like conventional servers. Four of the universities involved each has the same equipment installed, which will work as an integrated system. It offers researchers huge data storage capabilities, very high-memory research servers for maximum performance and integration with relevant biological databases.
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