CaStLeS (Compute and Storage for Life Sciences) resources (both compute and storage) are a constituent part of BEAR Cloud, BlueBEAR and the wider BEAR infrastructure. They are reserved exclusively for the use of research groups carrying out research in the life sciences and governed by academics through the CaStLeS Executive and Strategic Oversight Group.

What to include in your application to use CaStLeS resources

To apply for resources, a project PI should log a request to Register a New BEAR or CaStLeS Project. This form should be completed, outlining the projects needs and the academic case. Once completed, the application will be forwarded automatically to the CaStLeS Exec for approval.

As a guide, typically, an application will include the following

Details of the Research Group – College, School/institute/collaborators

  1. A short summary of the academic case – the nature of the research, the funder, goals and expectations, timespan of the project
  2. Compute resource required
    a) An explanation of the compute/data intensive nature of the work
    b) Virtual Machines: Refer to the Standard VM page for details of the current cloud offerings.
    c) BlueBEAR CaStLeS QOS: CaStLeS have purchased significant dedicated resources in BlueBEAR for powerful batch computing. Refer to the CaStLeS QOS page for details.
  3. Storage resource required – how many TBs and whether data must be replicated between data centres (to maximize availability) or single sited (cheaper but with more susceptible to interruptions). If you are dealing with sensitive data that has specific requirements e.g. for encryption, make this clear. Unless you specify, the default assumption is that data holdings are NOT sensitive
  4. Applications required
  5. Identify the individuals who are to have access to the resource (UoB usernames are required for validation)
  6. Timescales - CaStLeS resources are in place so, once approved, can be set up with only a short lead-time. However, note that research groups are expected to include the costs in funding bids and contribute accordingly.

Before the resources are provisioned, the CaStLeS Exec must approve the resource request and Advanced Research Computing will complete a technical review to pick up any technical obstacles or queries. Once in service, utilization will be monitored and adjustments made to ensure the facility is operating efficiently.

Brief Summary of CaStLeS Resources within BEAR

The CaStLeS resources available as part of BlueBEAR.

This compute environment accesses 3PB of shared storage, 1PB of which is synchronously copied to a second data centre for maximum availability and all of which is redundantly backed up.

Referencing the Use of CaStLeS Resources in your Publications

We have written a paper about the CaStLeS resources and this can be referenced in your publications.

CaStLeS (Compute and Storage for the Life Sciences): a collection of compute and storage resources for supporting research at the University of Birmingham

Including CaStLeS in grant applications

In order to help future enhancements the CaStLeS Executive ask that researchers using CaStLeS (or proposing to use it) include it in grant applications.


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