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Six false claims regarding CSC's academic cloud

Six false claims regarding CSC's academic cloud

CSC

One sometimes encounters a variety of assumptions regarding CSC's academic cloud. Below are six such claims which we typically hear. Senior Systems Specialist Kalle Happonen will debunk these claims here.

1. CSC cloud services are more expensive than the cloud services offered by the international giants

International cloud giants undeniably offer several advantages. Many modern services require a global data center network, and some services benefit from the additional functionality offered by the cloud giants. However, operating on a smaller scale has its own advantages. CSC's rates are very competitive. And even better, researchers from higher education institutions and research facilities can use these services gratis for research!

2. CSC's services are only useful for scientific computing

CSC's cloud service offering can take on most challenges. While our Pouta cloud services are suitable for computing, our clouds include a wide variety of different types of resources. We want to  offer researchers IT cloud infrastructure for everything that doesn't fit on their laptop, whether that is running web servers, sharing research data or developing applications.

CSC's cloud also has something to offer to more than just researchers. cPouta capacity has been used for several courses, reducing the need for campus IT resources. Furthermore, a lot of our own services run on the Pouta and the VMware platforms.

3. Heavy parallel computing is not possible in the cloud

This is partly true. We recommend using the Taito supercluster and Sisu supercomputer for more demanding computational research problems.

Pouta is ideal for problems where Taito or Sisu can't be used. In some cases, the user needs applications which are not available for Taito, another operating system, system administrator privileges, or, for example, the right to open an application for use by other researchers. Pouta is ideal for such situations. The individual computing servers in Pouta are so big that parallel computing is possible for relatively big problems.

4. Signing up for Pouta cloud services usually involves a whole lot of red tape

This claim brings us back to the early days of cPouta. Unfortunately, early Pouta users were indeed required to slog their way through a deep, bureaucratic mire. Today, the whole process has been streamlined, even though the process could admittedly use some further development. Researchers are usually accepted as Pouta users within a few hours by using the CSC Customer Portal.

5. CSC's cloud services are relatively new and unknown to the public

CSC has offered academic cloud services on a trial basis since 2010. Our production services were launched in 2013. CSC was one of the first academic cloud service providers in Europe. Hundreds of research groups have already used Pouta services and the number keeps rising.

6. The use of cloud services is not secure and I have no way to manage my own data when the customer relationship ends

The use of cloud services always requires care and common sense. The most common data security challenges that services face actually come from data protection standards and their interpretation. Use of the cloud service, in and of itself, is no less secure than running the same service on one's own servers. User-friendliness, on the other hand, can actually improve the data security of a service, such as by simplifying firewall management and making it easier to develop redundant services.

Data ownership always remains with the customer. When the customer relationship ends, the customer transfers or deletes their data, which is no longer kept by CSC in any form. In addition to this, CSC doesn't charge for data transfers, so we can't artificially restrict the customer's ability to manage their own data. The increased data security of the ePouta service is intended for the processing of sensitive data.

The questions posed above were answered by Senior Systems Specialist Kalle Happonen.

Photo: THINKSTOCK

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