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2022 Blogs, Blog, Featured

Why Cloud Self Service Portals are Important for Life Sciences Research

The rapid advancement of cloud computing has brought in new possibilities for public institutions and private enterprises. With near-infinite resources and scalability, ease of setup, provisioning with IAAS, PAAS, and SAAS models, and pay-as-you-go features, the cloud has opened up opportunities and frontiers that were simply not possible in the yesteryears.

Scientific research is one such discipline. Sectors that depend on research for their relevance and impact have been able to make rapid advances using cloud computing. Scientific research requires vast compute, storage resources for ingesting and analyzing very large data sets, and specialized tools and services for data analysis and visualization. Healthcare and life sciences are one such sector where research happens on a mega-scale across public and private institutions funded by various governments and private sector entities.

Typical Characteristics of Research Ecosystem
There are some defining characteristics in a research ecosystem, which lends themselves naturally to cloud-based computing environments

  • Research happens with a community of researchers working towards common objectives and goals
  • Budgets get defined based on proposals and typically need to be allocated to research teams and tracked closely for consumption
  • Ability to set up and operate secure and trusted environments for sensitive data and compute engines with specialized pipelines, analysis, and visualization tools
  • Ability to share research outcomes with sponsors and fellow researchers in a simple manner
  • Requirement to put massive amounts of storage, compute and specialized and advanced computing, analysis and visualization at fingertips and make it insanely simple to access for scientific researchers who are not necessarily IT savvy to be able to do create and operate complex IT infrastructure

Cloud Portals for Scientific Research
The above characteristics and requirements have opened up a new class of solutions called Cloud Self Service Portals, which typically provide a curated set of tools and datasets for researchers to access the ability to track their budget consumption, simple one-click provisioning, and managing the life cycle of cloud resources necessary for scientific research and ability to share research outcomes with fellow researchers.

RLCatalyst Research Gateway and Use Cases
Relevance Lab, with its Cloud Self Service Portal, RLCatalyst Research Gateway, has been leading the way in providing highly simplified access to a curated set of cloud services for the Scientific Research community.

Sl No. Catalog Item Description
1. Nextflow and Nextflow Tower Genomic pipeline processing using Nextflow and Nextflow Tower (open source) solution and using High Performance Computing in AWS Cloud (AWS Batch, Parallel Cluster, Illumina Dragen/NVidia Parabriks Pipeline processing) – easy deployment and cost tracking per researcher per pipeline
2. Secure and Scalable RStudio on AWS RStudio solution on AWS Cloud with an ability to connect securely (using SSL) without having to worry about managing custom certificates and their lifecycle
3. EC2 based researcher tools Enable researchers with EC2 Linux and Windows servers to install their specific research tools and software. Ability to add AMI based researcher tools (both private and from AWS Marketplace) with 1-click on MyResearchCloud
4. AWS SageMaker SageMaker AI/ML Workbench drive Data research (like COVID-19 impact analysis) with available public data sets already on AWS cloud and create study-specific data sets
5. Bring your own license with proper Cost and Budget control with Self-service models Enable a small group of Principal Investigator and researchers to manage Research Grant programs with tight budget control, self-service provisioning, and research data sharing

Cloud Service Portals are a class of solutions, which hide the complexity of setting up and operating cloud environments for resource-intensive activities such as scientific research and provide researchers with more time to focus on the science. Relevance Lab, with its solution RLCatalyst Research Gateway, has been a key enabler, having solved several use cases (mentioned above in this blog) related to scientific research for genomics, life sciences, and pharma sectors.

To know more about how RLCatalyst Research Gateway can meet your scientific research requirements, please contact us at

Reference Links
Driving Frictionless Scientific Research with Self-Service Cloud Portal
How to speed up the GEOS-Chem Earth Science Research using AWS Cloud?
Leveraging AWS HPC for Accelerating Scientific Research on Cloud
Health Informatics and Genomics on AWS with RLCatalyst Research Gateway
Enabling Researchers with Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) Leveraging Nextflow and AWS
8-Steps to Set-Up RLCatalyst Research Gateway