One of the most obvious applications of cloud computing has always been what some call 'big science', in which vast piles of data must be processed in order to advance the latest research. By pooling resources and using computing on demand, research groups can more easily scale their infrastructure. Today a consortium of 18 European organizations teamed up to do just that with the launch of a common cloud computing platform called Helix Nebula - the Science Cloud.
Helix Nebula will provide computing power to the likes of CERN, EMBL, EAS, CNES, DLR, and CNR. Commercial partners include a variety of European service providers such as Interoute, Orange Business, Telefonica, and T-Systems, since big pipes are necessary to get the data in question to and from the cloud. Together with a half dozon or more others from across the sector, they will be assembling a federated and secure cloud plagform. Of course the effort is still at the pilot stage. One wonders why we haven't seen the name 'Nebula' turn up more often in the cloud revolution, since an interstellar cloud seems like a useful marketing twist.
Seems like a similar effort in the US is inevitable, but I haven't heard of anything quite as ambitious yet.
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