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HUB-CLOUDS | HubBucket Inc Cloud Computing Division

HubBucket Inc | Cloud Computing Division
HubBucket Inc | Cloud Computing Division

HubBucket Clouds ("HubClouds") is a Cloud Computing ("Cloud") Technology Division of HubBucket Inc ("HubBucket"). The HubBucket Clouds ("HubClouds") division works with various Cloud services, from various Cloud Service Providers - CSPs, e.g., Microsoft Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Clouds, etc.

In some respects, Cloud Computing has been around for so long that it seems old hat these days. Gone are the early days at computing conferences where almost every vendor had an obligatory slide introducing acronyms such as Infrastructure as a Service - IaaS, Platform as a Service - PaaS, and Software as a Service - SaaS. Now it seems that everything has moved to the Cloud.

For Scientific Computing, the move to Cloud Computing ("Cloud") has been happening at a much slower pace. Latency in transferring big data from on-premise experimental labs to the Cloud; latency in multi-node communications affecting large scale simulation performance; and the high recurring costs of intensive Cloud Computing use all have been barriers to the significant adoption of Cloud Computing for Science. However, there are many signs that change is finally underway in Scientific Computing and, although Cloud Computing will never completely replace on-premise Scientific Computing, it is becoming an important complement in pushing forward today’s research frontiers. In this article, we’ll provide some information about Cloud Computing at the Lab as we talk about some of the services that we provide to help Scientists make use of the cloud to do science.

Why Use Cloud computing?

Simply defined, Cloud Computing delivers a wide variety of computing resources – data storage, computation, and networking to name just a few – to users in an on-demand, as-needed, and where-needed basis. Using a web-based User Interface - UI or Infrastructure-as-Code - IaaC deployment scripts, users simply provision from the Cloud Service Provider - CSP the “amount of computing and/or storage” they want without needing to invest in their own computing infrastructure, and the costs are based only on the resources used and how long they are used for.

As compared to traditional on-premise computing or self-managed systems, Cloud Computing can be more expensive when comparing overall costs of the two options. For many researchers, the choice is between the one-time cost of purchasing hardware which works better for some types of funding vs the recurring cost of using the Cloud. So for example, researchers could do a one-time purchase of compute server hardware to add to the Lab’s Lawrencium Condo cluster that would provide computing for the service life of the hardware which is at least 5 yrs and be done with it. However, cloud computing can provide advantages over other systems with immediate and easy access to resources, cutting edge hardware and software features, potential infinite scalability in compute and storage, built-in security models, and it eliminates the need to purchase and manage your own server hardware equipment. These advantages can be a good justification for the additional cost of using Cloud Computing.

Commercial Cloud Available Now for Researchers and Staff:

Science Information Technology - IT ("Science IT") maintains contracts for various Cloud Service Providers - CSP's, e.g., Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM Cloud, etc., to make Cloud Computing available to all staff and researchers. This allows users to quickly get access to their desired provider of Cloud services without having to put in their own requisition or make a separate procurement or even use their own credit card. Costs incurred by each user is billed back to their project ID code (PID) monthly, one month in arrears.

Included in the Master Payer Contracts with a Cloud Service Provider - CSP,are significant cost saving discounts as compared to existing published list pricing and also global data egress waivers that eliminate normal egress charges that are incurred by moving data out of the cloud. Generally speaking, as compared to the list pricing for services as published by AWS, GCP, etc., under the Master Payer Contract AWS costs are approximately 8-10% less than list pricing and GCP costs are 25% less than list pricing and both are better than Academic Institution discounts.

Cloud Consulting for Science

Although getting started with a simple cloud instance is straightforward, cloud providers offer myriad services and tools which can be overwhelming to the uninitiated. Knowing, for example, which Jupyter notebook-like tool to use – whether it be CoLab, or Vertex AI Notebooks or SageMaker Notebook – can take some investigation and some trial and error. For other researchers looking to scale up or put into production, there are hurdles to moving their workflow from their laptop to a cloud infrastructure. Data movement, use of specialized tools, and integration with on-prem resources all have to be worked out.

With these concerns in mind, the Science IT consulting team offers consulting to scientists looking to utilize the cloud for their research. Here are some examples of our recent consulting engagements.