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AWS cuts cloud data transfer fees for academic and research user groups

Cloud services giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) rolls out discounts in bid to lower the cost barrier to making scientific discoveries

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has agreed to waive some charges the academic and research community must pay to transfer data out of its cloud.

As such, the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) company is offering to wipe up to 15% off users' monthly bill on AWS services, and dropping the upload charges when researchers and scientists choose to shift data between its storage, compute and database services.

In a blog post outlining the move, AWS said it wanted to lower the cost barrier to making scientific discoveries.

“The pace of research is no longer limited by the availability of computing resources. Researchers are beginning to rely on cloud computing to drive breakthrough science at breakneck speeds, and AWS wants to fuel the pace of new discoveries by making it possible for all scientists to have their own supercomputers in the cloud,” the company said in the blog post.

“By reducing data egress fees, AWS will to help scientists launch their first computing machine in minutes, analyse data pipelines, and store petabytes of data in the cloud, ultimately accelerating time-to-science.”

To qualify for the deal, users must work in an academic organisation, operate research-related workloads, and route at least 80% of their data out of the AWS cloud via an approved education network, such as the Janet or Géant pipelines.

Dan Perry, director of product and marketing at Jisc, welcomed the move – adding that it should allow the academic IT budgets to go further.

“There’s a real opportunity here for cloud computing to become as ubiquitous to research as it is in the commercial market – and with it bring a massive boon to the sector, supporting more efficient, collaborative and innovative research outputs,” said Perry.

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Cloud offers unique capabilities

Tony Hey, chief data scientist at the Oxford-based Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC), said he hoped the move might spur on other public cloud firms to follow suit.

“I often hear from researchers that the perception, that they will receive large bills for data downloads, has discouraged them from considering commercial cloud providers for their compute and data requirements,” said Hey.

“The cloud has a huge amount to offer in terms of agility and efficiency gains, and also unique capabilities in areas such as machine learning. This is a very welcome development from AWS, and I hope that other cloud providers will move swiftly to follow suit.”

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Well sure, they want to lower the cost barrier to making scientific discoveries...because they stand to gain more revenue than they will lose by cutting costs 15% from the business that pulls in.
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