Emerging demand for European clouds for e-Science

The European policy strategy for the implementation of the ERA and the pursuit of excellence in science by Horizon 2020 reflect the increasing relevance of scientific and research activities for growth and innovation.

The development of e-infrastructures across Europe is becoming an enabling condition for the "fifth freedom" of knowledge and data mobility in the EU, responding to emerging demand for open, flexible and scalable computing capacity that national resources cannot satisfy. As the demand for e-Science grows beyond the traditional boundaries of national research networks and big science projects, there is a clear potential for cloud computing infrastructures and services to fill the gap between traditional offerings and emerging demand, as documented by this report.

European investments in e-infrastructures and a wide range of pilot projects have already provided early demonstrations of the potential of cloud to transform science, address big data challenges and enable collaboration across a much wider research community, as documented by this report. This broader community numbers in the thousands for each traditional supercomputer user and is important to ensure sustainable e-infrastructure.

There are also clear examples of researchers pursuing new lines of research, creating start-ups and growing businesses that we need to drive the economy. Clouds are well suited to respond to peak usage or oscillatory demand for computing power, as well as to a range of emerging applications combining research and governmental risk management activities for example in the healthcare and environmental protection fields. Therefore the existence of a strong potential demand for e-Science clouds, including not only physical resources, but also data sources, services leading right through to computation, is clearly proven.

However, demand cannot be satisfied only or mainly by public cloud commercial offerings for science, which exhibit several limitations in terms of actual capability, lack of transparency, compliance with regulation, and sometimes even higher pricing than traditional DCI.

Click here to read the report