Case Study: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the UK’s largest funder of independent environmental science, training and innovation, delivered through universities and research centres.
Environmental scientists face a dilemma. Modelling the environment is complex. It involves large datasets, complex models and requires significant amounts of computing power. Typically, this power is not readily available to many scientists thus frustrating their research efforts.
However, with the advent of cloud services, large amounts of computing power are now cheaply available. The challenge is that environmental scientists do not want to have to learn how to orchestrate cloud services to conduct their research.
To overcome this issue NERC commissioned SCISYS to deliver the Environmental Resources Workbench (ERW).
SCISYS delivered the project using the full GDS lifecycle to elaborate the target requirements and incrementally develop the ERW. This involved developing a series of cloud orchestration services to allow environmental scientists to launch tools with no cloud experience. The service allows the user to specify the input data, model and output parameters. The platform then automatically stands up the necessary infrastructure and services from pre-defined templates, runs the model, saves the results to the defined location and collapses the infrastructure so that the resources are instantly available for other users.
The principle benefit is that environmental scientists now have access to an enhanced compute capacity without the need to learn a range of new cloud skills. This means they can conduct their research more effectively. In addition, the platform also provides other benefits such as the ability to share data/models through the ERW community portal.