FGV creates integrated service of cloud computing for academic community

29 November 2012

The Operations Board, through the Information Technology Management (TIC), has developed a cloud for the exclusive use of professors and researchers from FGV. Called Cloud Acadêmica (Academic Cloud), the solution was developed at the request of the presidency using the concept of cloud computing to address the need for processing and storage of high performance data - particularly required in the areas of Economics, Business and Applied Mathematics.

Cloud computing enables, in general, the use of computational resources of hardware and software over the Internet, explains the IT manager of the Foundation, Gerson Bastos. By doing so, the professor is able to work from anywhere and access his/her data in a safe and efficient way through a virtual machine, he continues, noting that there are already similar models at various universities, such as Columbia University.

EPGE, EBAPE, EESP and EMAp already use the Academic Cloud. The Schools use a virtual machine designed for a specific search. When the search reaches the end, this machine is disabled and its resources return to the cloud in order to be used in other researches, says IT analyst, Glauco Marques, who also points out other advantages of the initiative. Besides allowing work flexibility for the professors, the Academic Cloud provides FGV significant cost reduction, since it is a single structure with greater processing and shared use. Before, the researcher had to hire the services of an external cloud or buy equipment for individual use, which became idle later on, and could not be reused by others, he recalls.

This infrastructure was a major breakthrough for researchers working with computationally demanding problems, says EMAp professor, Flávio Coelho. Today, professor Renato Souza and I use the Academic Cloud to develop several projects, including 'Supreme Court in Numbers' and 'Legal Metabase' - a partnership with DIREITO RIO to elaborate statistical analysis of millions of legal proceedings - and in the project 'PyPLN', of computational linguistics analysis in large text collections ranging from scientific literature to tweets and blogs, he says. And he concludes. It is a really important tool for research and innovation at FGV.

The present cloud is in the infrastructure room of TIC, at the headquarters of the Fundação, and it is totally separated from the corporate network. In March 2013, there will be an expansion of the cloud in the building on the street 9 de Julho, in São Paulo. Both in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo the Academic Cloud has a connection to the Internet, creating a unified computational framework that will improve both the availability and performance of research, says Gerson Bastos.

In the future TIC will also enable the professor to create a virtual machine with his/her own chosen features through a self service web portal. However, the professor who wishes that can already invest in a capacity increase for the current machine. Our cloud's current service capability can grow up to five times. The processing capacity can grow in an unlimited way, through investments made by the Foundation or the own researcher, he says.

FGV's Academic Cloud has its own domain - cloud.fgv.br.

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