19 February 2019

How to tell if you need to take Research Cloud for a Testdrive?

Imagine a tool that combines most of your research data management systems so you can access them from a single portal. Think of what a Virtual Research Environment (VRE) would look like that lifts the frustration of copying the same set of data around for curation, compute, archiving and sharing and having to log into different systems?

The research IT community struggles to define exactly what a Virtual Research Environment should be about. But RDM Support at Utrecht University is going to build one anyway. It's not that we know better, nor that we are ahead of the rest. We just feel there's a need for a synergetic environment that brings our datamanagement platform, application and compute platforms together. Surely RDM Support is not building this service based on a feeling and we are definitely not going to do it by ourselves. A recent SURF initiative looks like a very promising foundation to build upon.

SURF Research Cloud provides a National Self Service Hub, a platform and a portal, for a broad range of services which enables the collaborative working across institutes in a federatedand secure manner to accelerate research. So why not learn how to build that system, just by doing  it, guided by your feedback?

We are looking for real world solutions to real world problems for our pilot!

What we aim for?

Starting out with a working definition we aim to develop a system that;

  1. integrates resources across all layers of the underlying ICT infrastructure (networking, computing, data, software, user interfaces)
  2. fosters cross-disciplinary data interoperability
  3. provide functions allowing data citation and promoting data sharing and trust
  4. abstract from the underlying e-infrastructures using standardized building blocks and workflows, well documented interfaces, in particular regarding APIs, and interoperable components
  5. provides generic services delivered by ICT infrastructures & domain-specific services co-developed and co-operated by researchers, technology and ICT infrastructure providers, including commercial cloud providers

In concreto we want a first operational VRE to be a webbased (portal like) solution that integrates some (existing) solutions.

overview of existing solutions
An overview of existing solutions that can be integrated in a VRE

SURF Research cloud promises to deliver a lot of the desired components as wel as an api based platform that allows RDM Support  to adjust and build upon. The SURF project has entered its pilot phase now, and we are ready to take it for a spin. But not without you….

Join in for a pilot

So we are looking for real world solutions to real world problems when we take on a pilot project. We ourselves are considering using the platform to build our Rstudio workshops on.

Possible other use cases include:

  • Collaborative research projects where data is shared across institutions.
  • Research projects where data is processed on multiple locations

Safeguards will be taken to protect your data. And although no Service Level agreements are in place yet, during and after the pilot we will deliver support on a best effort basis and together we will make the transition towards a fully supported IT service. Contact RDM Support if you want to join!

A demo says more then a thousand words

If you are anything like us. You will have some trouble translating the concepts we described here into a picture. What is it they already have now? How can you start to use tomorrow? Contact us and we will provide a short demo. If you think you have a real life use case for us to develop together, you are very welcome to talk to us about your ideas.

For more information, contact RDM Support.