I attended an Amazon Web Services workshop organised by UCL and AWS’s joint venture Centre for Digital Innovation, in London few weeks ago. We spent a day exploring the ins-and-outs of this cloud management system: creating a connected space (EC3 instance) where collaborators can share data (bucket) for example. I knew that many companies, and Bioformatics Lecturers, use this modular, kind-of-pay-as-you-go admin system. This had peeked my interest, so I brought my laptop to IDEALondon to see what AWS could offer.

The workshop was intended for UCL researchers and innovators to explore the mission of the Centre for Digital Innovation, and to experience hands-on the technical aspects of AWS. I met other researchers, start-up directors and IT administrators; all of us knew that our current tools did not exactly meet our needs. Over few hours, thanks to Bruno Silva and James Grant, I used both the click-and-point interface and the terminal to create a system from scratch (ie similar to creating a Docker container or a RaspberryPi), how to access data and who should be in control. The tutorial is here. I want to put this in practice to help sharing data across time zones without costing too much.

Overall it was a great day to learn more about better solutions for data sharing. I look forward to see impacts on productivity in young start-ups and academic research teams once they embrace these architectures, instead of current cluncky, non-version controlled, non-scalable systems. I do think that the next challenges for all will be to train people and maintain knowledge of efficient use cloud management systems.