CLASS Panel Shares Opportunities and Obstacles to Facilitating Cloud Computing for Research

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By Amber Rasche - Senior Communications Specialist, Internet2

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Remember returning home from class excited to share what you learned that day? 

That’s a fresh feeling among participants from the first cohort of CLASS, Internet2’s Cloud Learning and Skills Sessions, who shared about the unique challenges of facilitating research in the cloud during a panel discussion at the 2021 Virtual Residency Workshop on June 9. 

“CLASS participants had such a rewarding time discussing the many aspects of cloud computing for research—how it works on our campuses, approaches, pain points, and lessons learned—we decided to form a panel and share those experiences more broadly,” said Timothy Middelkoop, Internet2’s Senior Research Engagement Engineer who served as the panel moderator. 

The discussion focused on opportunities, challenges, and obstacles to using cloud computing for research from a variety of perspectives—including facilitators, administrators, and researchers. Panelists dug into several topics: cloud training for facilitators and researchers, the importance of adapting and fundamentally changing workloads for the cloud, vendor relationship management, cost management, and fundamental changes in mindset along the journey to the cloud. 

Panelists included: 

  • Dr. Allissa Dillman, Workforce Development and Community Engagement Lead, Office of Data Science Strategy at the National Institutes of Health
  • Dr. Rob Fatland, Research Computing Director, University of Washington
  • Dr. Alper Kinaci, Lead Computational Research Engineer, Northwestern University
  • Chris Lalande, Research Cloud Technician, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Dr. John Mulligan, Humanities Computing Researcher and Research Facilitator, Rice University
  • Ananya Ravipati, Research Cloud Engineer, Internet2

View the recording of the Facilitating Cloud Computing Panel below (courtesy of the Virtual Residency Program), download the slides, and read more about the panelists.

Video courtesy of the Virtual Residency Program.
Panel Highlight Reel
10:25Shared struggles researchers face when it comes to the cloud—including the required cultural shift surrounding cost planning.
14:30 – Helping researchers step out of their comfort zones and embrace the benefits of cloud computing as a sustainable way to augment, not replicate or replace, traditional HPC.
24:50How research computing and data (RCD) professionals can scale themselves through training and upskilling opportunities, including the value of tailored, community-based approaches over out-of-the-box training sessions.
43:15The decision-making process between using fully-managed services versus custom-built tools in the cloud.
48:14Cloud security and assessing cloud services for compliance requirements, including the shared responsibility model for cloud security.
56:17Methods and considerations for estimating cloud costs, including facilitating conversations with researchers, leveraging calculation and budget alerting tools, and getting away from business-as-usual as a way to reduce costs.

More about CLASS: Upskilling and Accelerating the Adoption of Best Practices

CLASS helps fill the training gaps for cloud and research computing. The program accelerates the adoption of best practices and provides professional development for RCD professionals who support researchers’ use of cloud platforms for their workflows. It also facilitates a community of practice where RCD professionals can support and learn from each other.

Interested in joining the CLASS Advanced Cohort in Fall 2021? There’s still time to sign up, with early applications due August 24. If you have questions, please email class@internet2.edu