NIH Cloud Lab

NIH Cloud Lab is a resource developed by NIH’s CIT Cloud Services Team to support STRIDES’ mission of enabling and modernizing biomedical research through the cloud. Through this resource, NIH-funded researchers can become more efficient and comfortable in leveraging the cloud for their research purposes.

Cloud Lab aims to facilitate the following:

  • Reduce barriers to entry: Provide NIH and NIH-funded groups an easy route to access the cloud so they can quickly evaluate its utility for their project without having to make major time or financial commitments.

  • Foster technical development: Allow experienced teams access to the cloud environment(s) so they can prototype new architectures, and/or evaluate new software/hardware combinations in a cloud environment.

  • Support training: Provide access to the cloud in a way that simplifies access to tools and environments that can be used for training purposes.

How Will Cloud Lab Help Me?

Cloud Lab’s sandbox-like environment provides a space to develop in an isolated and secure way. This can be incredibly useful for those with varying levels of cloud experience, allowing researchers to:

Explore Cloud Consoles
Researchers can gain an understanding of the look and feel of cloud environments before they jump into a full STRIDES account for research.

Supplement Cloud Training
Researchers can use the sandbox to strengthen their understanding of cloud training or follow along with training content in an independent environment.

Experiment with Simple Cloud Solutions
Researchers interested in solutions for specific scientific tasks can use the sandbox to build proof of concept or other simple solutions to understand level of effort and other details for production.

Benchmark Costs
Testing out different tools and configurations (instance type, sizes, etc.) to optimize research analyses within cost-controlled environments.

Cloud Lab Tutorials

A collection of bioinformatic and other scientific and data science tutorials is available on GitHub at the links below. These will be continuously updated with additional tutorials.

Cloud Lab Trainings

The STRIDES Team has developed content to guide users who may be unsure where to begin. Users will be provided access to a GitHub repository consisting of specialized Cloud Lab trainings to complement trainings provided through STRIDES. The GitHub repository will be updated based on feedback from the scientific community to support technical development across all research domains relevant to the cloud.

Regardless of researchers’ knowledge level, Cloud Lab trainings will aim to:

  • Provide direction: Cloud Lab trainings will provide a structured learning path so that users know where to start exploring.

  • Build cloud foundations: With trainings, users can better retain knowledge of cloud infrastructure and capabilities.

  • Make connections to research field: Through this hands-on experience, researchers can begin to make connections to how cloud can benefit their research efforts.

Call to Community

This minimum viable product (MVP) release will provide the STRIDES team a pathway to develop future iterations of this resource. With collaboration from the biomedical research community, Cloud Services will continually invest in developing and improving Cloud Lab environments. This will involve requests for interviews and possible surveys so the team can gather data to identify opportunities to better support the needs of the NIH research community.