FAQs

For questions specifically about STRIDES training, see our Training FAQS.

General

The NIH Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability (STRIDES) Initiative establishes partnerships with commercial cloud service providers (CSPs) to reduce economic and technological barriers for accessing and computing on large biomedical data sets to accelerate biomedical advances. A central tenet of the STRIDES Initiative is that data made available through these partnerships will incorporate standards endorsed by the biomedical research community to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR).

Currently, NIH and NIH-funded researchers are eligible to participate in the STRIDES Initiative.

To date, the STRIDES program has negotiated pricing agreements with two CSPs—Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP)—through their administrative partners. For specific details on the pricing agreements, please contact the respective CSP/partner.

Using AWS with the STRIDES Initiative

Members can utilize the expansive AWS training offerings, to include subsidized instructor-led training and certification classes, self-paced on-line classes, research-specific webinars, Enterprise Support office hours, and AWS-led tech talks and deep-dive sessions with hands-on lab experience.

With AWS, researchers can quickly analyze massive data pipelines, store petabytes of data, advance research using transformative technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and quantum computing. AWS provides a robust portfolio of scalable and secure compute, storage, and database capabilities to accelerate time to science.

AWS also provides researchers with access to open datasets, funding, training, and specialty programs (well-architected reviews and migration support programs) to accelerate their pace of innovation.

AWS supports ground-breaking research in collaboration with leading higher education institutions, as well as national and international research agencies. These include the European Space Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, and NIH.

Reach out to Four Points to discuss your NIH fundung mechanism and the best available contract options for you to enroll with the STRIDES Initiative. Once an AWS account is created or transferred, review AWS account best practices and security best practices. After that, review the NIH repository for recorded meetings to listen to previous Tech Talk and Meet the TAM [Technical Account Manager] meetings. If you have any questions, reach out to your AWS account team.

Yes, existing AWS accounts can have ownership transferred to operate under the NIH STRIDES Initiative AWS contract. For instance, if the AWS account is owned by your institution, the account and its respective resources can have ownership transferred to the NIH STRIDES Initiative AWS contract.

AWS accounts are managed by Four Points, the reseller for the NIH STRIDES Initiative AWS contract. Four Points managed AWS accounts are linked to a dedicated payer account within their AWS Organization. In some circumstances, AWS accounts cannot be transferred; resources within the source account will need to be migrated.

Please reach out to the Four Points or AWS account team for questions on changing AWS account ownership or migrating resources between AWS accounts.

Utilize the AWS Trusted Advisor tool that is accessible via the AWS console. Trusted Advisor aligns AWS environments with best practices. Findings are flagged with corresponding recommendations to mitigate risks associated with not applying AWS best practices. These findings should be reviewed on a recurring schedule with action items assigned to specific owners with a target completion date. If there are further questions about using Trusted Advisor, please reach out to your AWS account team.

Scheduling an architecture review for the application is a necessary step for the AWS account team to provide recommendations and next steps for optimizing the AWS hosted application.

Gathering documents to facilitate a meeting with the AWS account team yields a more valuable conversation. Documents include architecture diagrams, process flows and/or presentation/written documents describing the application.

Review the Well-Architected Review tool, accessible via the AWS console. The tool has a list of questions associated with five pillars that compose the Well-Architected Framework. After reviewing the tool and identifying who could assist with answering the questions, reach out to your AWS account team to schedule a Well-Architected Review.

A Well-Architected Review will holistically review your application and provide actionable steps to achieve optimization according to AWS best practices.

Begin by reviewing findings and recommendations within the cost pillar of AWS Trusted Advisor. It is AWS best practice to incorporate a recurring review of AWS Trusted Advisor findings within your institute’s operational cadence meetings. If there are further questions, or if you want to achieve additional cost optimization, ask your AWS account team about a Cost Optimization Workshop, which dives deeper into services consumed.

The AWS account team can provide an Operational Readiness Review to dive into operational processes and provide recommendations about being prepared for operational events.

Use Enterprise Support to open support cases via the AWS console, CLI, or via API. Cases can be opened regarding anything from business impacting issues to general questions about how to use AWS services.

Yes, there is no limit to the number of AWS support cases that can be opened. Support cases can be submitted through various severity levels; open an AWS technical support case through the AWS console, pragmatically through CLI and API options. If you are wanting a quicker response time, even for general guidance cases, select the live options via chat or phone.

Enterprise Support offers many privileges, one of which is a TAM who is responsible for being a point of escalation if support cases are not receiving the proper attention. Reach out to the TAMs supporting the STRIDES Initiative at aws-tam-nih@amazon.com.

AWS offers various services to facilitate the transition of an application from on-premise to AWS. There are two important aspects to consider when migrating to AWS: moving data and compute. AWS offers services to assist with moving data to AWS, database migration, and compute migration. If you have more unique requirements to migrate from on-premise to AWS, or have further questions about these services, please reach out to the AWS account team.

Enterprise Support offers many benefits, including Infrastructure Event Management (IEM). During the IEM, the TAM will guide you through an architecture review and arrange a series of planning meetings. An IEM takes 4–6 weeks of planning for the migration, launch, or event. Reach out to the TAMs supporting the NIH STRIDES Initiative at aws-tam-nih@amazon.com for more information.

The NIH Center for IT and AWS Professional Services have partnered to build an NIH-wide accessible AWS environment that has achieved ATO. AWS best practices are built into the NIH-wide AWS environment, minimizing the amount of development needed to operate your application and research projects.

Applications should be built with the Well-Architected pillars in mind. If the application existed previously on-premise, two approaches can be taken:

1) Lift and shift, meaning the application can be built within AWS, as it operates on-premise. After the application operates within AWS, the recommendation is to identify optimization opportunities for the workload.

2) Rebuild the application within AWS so that it is optimized for the cloud. This approach is often referred to as refactoring. Some customers prefer to operate in a hybrid methodology, allowing access to some application components on-premise and others within AWS. Schedule a meeting with the AWS account team based on your desired outcome and approach.

Modernization using AWS managed services can improve resiliency and reduce total cost of ownership. Each modernization scenario is different so there may be pricing incentives depending on your use-case. For instance, there are pricing incentives for modernizing databases through the AWS Database Freedom program. The AWS account team can discuss what AWS services and features are needed to facilitate your modernization efforts.

AWS operates based on the Shared Responsibility Model. AWS is responsible for security of the cloud, meaning the infrastructure that runs all the services offered in the AWS cloud, and the customer is responsible for data in the cloud. There are best practices and security features that can be enabled, depending on the type of storage (i.e., block or object-based storage). AWS provides compliance documentation within AWS Artifact that is accessible via the AWS management console. Additionally, AWS provides documentation such as Best Practices for Securing Sensitive Data in AWS data stores for guiding customers on how to manage their portion of the Shared Responsibility Model.

The AWS Pricing Calculator assists customers with estimating the cost for AWS services and solutions. The pricing provided is the AWS cost without the discounts that can be applied from Four Points Technology and any additional applicable discounts. Please reach out to the AWS account team and Four Points Technology for specific details about pricing.

Review the Tech Talks and training schedule (NIH login only). If the training schedule does not accommodate your needs, review the NIH central repository to review recorded trainings and previous Meet the TAMs meetings.

Additionally, reach out to the TAMs (aws-tam-nih@amazon.com) to sign up for STRIDES AWS Office Hours to speak with a TAM directly.

Lastly, reach out to your AWS account team to schedule a meeting to discuss the service of interest. The AWS account team can provide additional training on services through immersion days, which include presentation(s) on the service or feature with a hands-on lab.

Yes. AWS provides training content and webinars that can get people started with using the platform for their research workloads. The STRIDES website hosts a regularly curated list of related resources and you can search for webinars of interest via the AWS Education: Research Seminars Hub.

More information is available on the STRIDES Initiative Training page. If you would like to discuss your specific training needs and make a request for a particular AWS Classroom Training or topic, please contact Matthew Gieske

After receiving your AWS account, you will have access to discounts through Four Points Technology, AWS Enterprise Support, and other benefits. Read through the FAQs and listen to recorded meetings and past training events to determine where to start. As always, if your question is not answered, please reach out to your AWS account team. Four Points provides onboarding documentation that aid your onboarding experience. Please reach out to fpt_nih_strides@4Points.com for this information.

If the information above has not addressed all your questions, reach out to the AWS account team to schedule a post-onboarding meeting.