1. Who are the target users for CloudBank?
CloudBank was created by NSF to support computer science researchers and educators using public clouds. NSF controls which programs/projects will receive allocations via CloudBank.
2. What resources, services does CloudBank provide?
CloudBank will provide information, education, training, and allocations for public clouds -- initially, AWS, Google, and Azure. Information, education, and training resources are available to anyone in the research community. Allocation of cloud resources is provided to projects that belong to NSF programs that specify the use of CloudBank in the NSF solicitations. Projects that receive their cloud allocations via CloudBank will also receive additional services, as described below.
3. How do I gain access to CloudBank?
You can obtain allocations via CloudBank if your NSF project belongs to an NSF program solicitation that uses CloudBank, and you requested and were granted cloud resources as part of your project. Please see the NSF Proposal FAQ for more information. Anyone in the research community is able to access the education and training resources made available by CloudBank.
4. When will CloudBank be available?
The project started in August 1, 2019. Cloud allocations and an initial set of education and training materials will be available in one year (around August 2020). Meanwhile, we plan to recruit early, “pilot” users over the coming months to help us in requirements definition, portal design, and testing. Cloud allocations via CloudBank will become available as part of new NSF solicitations. Please email us for more information.
5. Can I get access to other exploratory funds?
While Cloudbank does not currently have resources, AWS and Google have exploratory funding opportunities. (We will update with additional opportunities)
6. How can I stay up-to-date with CloudBank progress and activities?
Subscribe to the CloudBank email list on our news page.
7. Who are the partners in the CloudBank project?
CloudBank is established via an NSF Cooperative Agreement with the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the Information Technology Services Division at UC San Diego, the University of Washington eScience Institute, and UC Berkeley Division of Data Science and Information.
8. Which cloud providers will be available?
Initially, CloudBank will provide access to Amazon AWS, Google GCP, and Microsoft Azure. Others may become available over time.
9. Will cloud resources acquired through CloudBank bear indirect costs?
No. Cloud allocations made and received via CloudBank do not bear indirect cost overheads. While some universities charge indirect cost overheads for cloud resources line items in project budgets, projects that are awarded cloud resources via CloudBank are covered under the terms of the NSF cooperative agreement, which does not permit indirect costs. Furthermore, UCSD was one of the first campuses in the nation, along with University of Washington, to implement a policy of not assessing indirect costs on public cloud resources.
10. What information, education, and training resources and services will CloudBank provide?
CloudBank will provide self guided documentation, webinars, and courses covering topics such as: choosing appropriate computational resources, realistic cost estimators, how to apply for CloudBank resources in a proposal, fundamentals of cloud computing, advanced aspects of various cloud vendors’ stacks, and teaching in the cloud (modeled from Berkeley’s Data 8 course). A resource catalog will be provided enabling researchers to assess the comparative merits of various cloud platforms and to minimize the costs associated with cloud usage.
11. What cloud allocation resources and services will CloudBank provide?
Allocations on public clouds will only be provided to projects that belong to NSF programs that have specified the use of CloudBank, and where NSF has allocated funds to the respective projects for use of cloud resources.
12. How will I access these services?
The CloudBank user portal is the single point of access for users, giving them an on-ramp to cloud providers and access to materials and tools to support their research and education outcomes. It will provide access to help desk support, training and documentation, a catalog that summarizes important cloud provider features, allocation processing and management, and cost and accounting.