There are a number of common concerns among people who are about to make the decision whether to move their computing resources and storage to the cloud. Such concerns include

  • Uninterrupted access to services

  • Privacy & Security

  • Portability of tools and data to and from different cloud platforms

  • Absence of software tools

  • Uncertainty in cost prediction

Particularly the first point concerns many users first: What if the Internet drops out? What in case of a data center outage? Well.. it’s true, you rely on the Internet for your services. However while you won’t be able to access your services at that time, it doesn’t mean they stopped working: For example, your analysis software on your compute resources will still be running—you just cannot get access to the current state. If the data center has an outage, that also may affect your running programs. However you can trust the data center is run professionally to reduce such occurrences as much as possible. The risk of an outage cannot be completely eliminated, just as is the case for your research organisations IT infrastructure; and your local computer has probably a higher risk of crashing.

The matter of what happens to your data and who may illegally gain access to your services and data it is also a common concern. Researchers may also be concerned about difficulties in porting their software to the cloud, or they are not sure if their software will run on the cloud. Cloud providers usually charge per-use, so it can be hard to predict the costs—luckily, NeCTAR services are free to researchers across Australia.

In this course we will discuss all common concerns and how NeCTAR addresses them in order to make cloud computing more accessible to researchers. In particular, Module 8 is going to cover security related topics.