What STAR Provides

Rapid access to research technologies – The current amount of time and effort required for processing IRB, IRIS and Maestro workflows is extensive. Even after completion, little time is left available to purchase, install, configure, test, debug and release servers, storage, software and related items. In contrast, STAR provides quicker access to ready-made research technologies and enables consistent deployments.

Financially feasible, short-term technology resources – STAR does not require capital expenditures for equipment and/or software that may only have a typical useful lifespan of approximately five years. Since most modern research grant-based projects do not continue beyond three years, leveraging cloud solutions—as opposed to sunk-cost, on-premises technologies—is more cost effective for most research project lifecycles.

Adjustable scale and costs, based on need – Many research disciplines that work with images or large data sets may require high volumes of storage (100TB+) for data analysis, but do not need this all at once and only in burstable time periods that may not extend for the life of the grant (i.e., 18 days, 6 weeks, 3 months). STAR can adapt for not only the type(s) of storage to be used but also the associated costs for different storage tiers.

Consistent regulated-data requirements – Of the last 7 data-use agreements reviewed, 5 of 7 required NIST 800 53rev4 and NIST 800 171 and in each case where HIPAA data was present, HIPAA controls were required in addition to NIST controls. STAR complies with regulated-data requirements without the need to repeatedly rebuild disparate systems.

New Options for Researchers

STAR modernizes TAMU's approach and posture toward advanced cloud computing:

  • Secure (NIST+)
  • Compliant
  • Reusable
  • Rapidly Available—within hours and days, not weeks and months
  • Scale Up and/or Scale Down
  • Cost Effective for Short-Term Investments
  • Self-Service Workflow
  • Access to a Wide Range of Data Repositories

Using the Cloud Instead of On-Premises Solutions

STAR offers many advantages through cloud computing:

  • The cloud is easier to secure through custom, prebuilt compute and storage objects
  • Prebuilt templates are essentially reusable code, thereby enabling rapid access, compliance and security
  • Never run out of storage when you need it; cloud providers have immense resources available beyond on-premises environments—you can use a little or use a lot
  • Pay for what you use, when you use it; no need to purchase hardware as a capital expense and maintain it for years and years

When Cloud/STAR is Not a Good Fit

In some cases, using STAR's cloud services may not always be the ideal solution:

  • Storage, compute and software needs infrequently change such that managing a platform on-premises will last for the lifespan of the equipment; essentially 3+ years of use or longer
  • One-time capital purchases and costs cannot be operationalized over a period of time; however, in some cases it is possible to buy "cloud credits" for future use
  • Publicly classified research data does not require higher levels of security compliance

Join the STAR Pilot

Ready to use STAR for your next research project? Contact us to get started.

We are seeking:

  • Early adopters willing to experiment with cloud services and give feedback about configurations
  • Projects for using the $180,000 Cloud Research Exploration Fund, provided by the TAMU Vice President for Research, to cover costs for early adopters; awards will be distributed through seed grant increments of $3,000, $5,000 or $10,000
  • Recommendations for PI representatives to serve on a new research computing committee that will offer input on the strategic use of STAR