The main goal is to provide scientists and engineers as well as users and developers with numerous virtual bioinformatics machines that are ready to use on the IFB cloud, providing them with the computing power and the required flexibility to efficiently answer their needs.
To facilitate the use of relevant bioinformatics tools, we have encompassed them in pre-configured virtual machines (appliances), ready to run on the IFB cloud. A cloud appliance is a template or a virtual machine built with a bundle of scientific or utility software components that are already configured. To address the most common needs, we made a selection of several scientific software systems and installed them in cloud appliances related to different domains of the life sciences, e.g., an appliance for proteomic analysis, another for the analysis of RNA-seq data, etc.
IFB lists these tools provided by virtual machines (VM) in an appliance catalogue available online and stores the appliance images themselves in a repository accessible from the different IFB sites. The catalogue helps the cloud users to filter the VM list according to their needs in terms of tools or scientific topics. This catalogue already contains 20 appliances related to different topics such as sequence analysis with the RSAT portal, proteomics with the OMSSA and X!Tandem tools, genomic analysis with the Galaxy portal and several tools, bioimaging with ImageJ, statistics with the R software suite, etc. Other appliances also providing utility software like basic operating systems and database management systems.
To enhance the catalogue of IFB services with relevant tools and VMs, the e-infrastructure team is working with the IFB’s scientific work packages and the national research infrastructures to identify the new appliances to be developed to satisfy the needs of scientists and engineers working in the life sciences.