STRIDES Initiative

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. In general, the cloud is:

  • Scalable—There is no explicit capacity limit. You can scale up and down as needed.
  • Accessible—You can access cloud resources on demand from multiple computers and mobile devices.
  • Cost-effective—There are no upfront costs. Commercial providers use a pay-as-you-go model and give you access to as many resources as you need, and you only pay for the resources you use.
  • Flexible—Computation and storage resources can be set up when needed will, used for any chosen period of time, and then turned off.
  • Secure—Security configurations are available to help protect data and ensure proper access and auditing.

Commercial providers offer cloud-based services, accessible via the web, on a “pay-as-you-go” basis. 

Cloud benefits biomedical research by offering:

  • Data storage and management: Secure and scalable storage for genomics data, medical images, and electronic health records, etc.
  • High-performance computing: Powerful resources for genomic sequencing, molecular modeling, and drug discovery simulations, etc.
  • Collaboration and data sharing: Seamless sharing of research findings, clinical data, genomics information and other biomedical data across research organizations.
  • Machine learning and AI: Application of AI algorithms to analyze medical images, predict disease outcomes, and identify patterns in large datasets.
  • Data integration and analytics: Integration of diverse datasets to gain insights into population health, identify genetic markers, and study disease patterns.
  • Security and compliance: Stringent measures to safeguard sensitive patient data, ensuring compliance with privacy regulations like HIPAA.

The STRIDES Program

The NIH Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability (STRIDES) Initiative is a partnership with commercial cloud service providers (CSPs) to allow NIH-supported researchers to affordably access cloud services and environments.  The initiative aims to modernize biomedical research by reducing economic and process barriers to using commercial cloud services. These partnerships enable access to rich datasets and advanced computational infrastructure, tools, and services in ways that do not require large scale on-premises computational facilities.

The STRIDES Initiative established partnerships with Google Cloud in July 2018, Amazon Web Services (AWS) in September 2018, and Microsoft Azure in July 2021. Each CSP has established a billing partner to support NIH’s and NIH-funded investigators’ use of the respective cloud web services at a discounted rate.  NIH-supported researchers with an active NIH award may take advantage of the STRIDES Initiative for their projects. Eligible researchers include NIH intramural researchers and awardees of NIH contracts, other transaction agreements, grants, cooperative agreements, and other agreements. The detailed instructions on how to enroll STRIDES can be found in STRIDES website.

STRIDES Benefits

The STRIDES Initiative offers support services to assist researchers in effectively using the available cloud resources. 

These include:

Discounted RateSTRIDES users can access cloud services at a reduced rate, subject to CSP and service terms.
Enterprise SupportFree enterprise support is provided to STRIDES users through the NIH-CSP agreement.
ConsultationThe NIH STRIDES team offers consultation on general cloud computing, specific STRIDES questions, and more.
CoordinationThe NIH STRIDES team facilitates coordination between researchers, CSPs, and billing partners.
STRIDES Account SetupAssistance is provided by the NIH STRIDES team for the initial setup of STRIDES accounts.
Cloud TrainingSTRIDES offers online and in-person training opportunities covering general cloud skills, CSP-specific skills, and biomedical data analysis skills.
Testing and Learning Cloud EnvironmentSTRIDES provides a cloud platform, Cloud Lab, for training, exploring, practicing, testing new technologies, deploying prototypes, and estimating cloud costs.
ReportingMonthly spending reports, account monitoring, and overage alerts are available through STRIDES.

To learn more about the STRIDES Initiative and benefits offered, visit the STRIDES website.

Success Stories

Learn about STRIDES Success Stories

This page last reviewed on March 5, 2024