A move by Microsoft to expand cloud computing resources into the European grid may be one of the largest programs anticipated to strengthen the European research community. The announcement of the expansion came during Dan Reed’s keynote address at the Open Grid Forum. According to the announcement, researchers will be able to access resources in the cloud and get technical support when needed.
Cloud computing is a process in which companies convert the software from a computer to a server. This allows anyone with access to the cloud to be able to use the applications, tools, and software programs rather than having to install each one on multiple computers. Using cloud computing will allow researchers across the globe the opportunity to pool resources, including research notes, files, and other data, should they choose to do so.
This online collaboration will allow researchers to share information faster and reduce the expense of doing so. With cloud computing, it will be possible for researchers in France to collaborate with researchers in Scotland in order to complete a project.
To expand its cloud computing services into the European Grid, Microsoft will be working with three partners: the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control in France, the University of Nottingham Horizon Institute in the U.K., and the Virutal Multidisciplinary EnviroNments Using Cloud Infrastructures in Europe (VENUS-C).
Microsoft helped co-fund VENUS-C consortium under the 7th Framework Programme with the European Commission as a way to expand cloud computing into the European grid. Researchers can begin applying for funding to export research once the consortium makes an open call for applications.
If the cloud computing system works well for researchers using the European grid, the consortium will look for other ways to deploy the system. Microsoft will currently contribute Windows Azure data and help oversee the deployment of the cloud.