As part of ELIXIR’s Strategic Implementation Study on container services, a workshop was held to discuss the current challenges and possible solutions to improving the movement of life science data and how it is accessed and managed. Containers help solve the problem of running software in different computing environments by bundling up applications with everything needed to run them, such as libraries and configuration files.
Small volumes of data can be successfully analysed on a scientist’s own machine. When datasets grow larger, downloading the data becomes difficult and the user’s machine may not have the necessary compute power for analysis. A centralised storage and compute platform such as a cloud can solve these problems, but this requires methods for securely moving, managing and accessing the data.
These challenges were discussed in the workshop by over 80 attendees representing academic scientists and commercial cloud providers. Attendees heard talks from Amazon, Galaxy, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, CERN, the community for Cloud Storage Sync and Share Services (CS3) and Australian Biocommons. Throughout the morning there was an emphasis on practical examples of how users interact with systems and environments. The diversity of the attendees led to productive discussions and fresh perspectives on possible directions of future work. Copies of slides and a video recording of the event are available below.
ELIXIR’s Strategic Implementation Study on container services is a collaboration involving 12 ELIXIR Nodes, running from June 2021 for two years. To find out more, contact Jonathan Tedds (jonathan.tedds [at] elixir-europe.org).