Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Amazon hopes to cash in on research market

Thus, in April while seeking to build a research lab from scratch and avoid such yada, Tonellato turned to California database giant Oracle Corp. and Seattle online retailer

Around the same time, Amazon uncovered a new set of customers for its growing Web-services segment: researchers. (The computers that power Amazon's retail operations are so robust that about five years ago, Amazon formed a Web-services subsidiary to rent out database storage and computing power to other users.)

People from Oracle, Amazon and Harvard worked together to get Tonellato's research going. To leave an average project running 24/7, it would cost the scientist $70 per month.

Last week, Amazon unveiled a new offering that would make its "cloud computing" service even more appealing to researchers. Amazon will make large data sets available free -- some of which are so large they would take hours to download.

Amazon is banking on the fact that most researchers won't download the data. Rather, they'll access the information and pay to form computations alongside it using Amazon Web Services.

Data sets so far include U.S. Census data, 3-D chemical structures provided by Indiana University and an annotated form of the human genome from Ensembl. More data, including economic statistics, are on the way, Amazon says.
While this seems like a good deal for researchers from an economic perspective, I am more excited by the prospect of having more scientific data freely available that is stored in a common format. I hope more scientists use this or similar cloud services.

via Seattle PI

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