Cybera, Alberta’s nonprofit advanced technology agency, has launched a service called Rapid Access Cloud that will give local researchers and entrepreneurs up to one year of free cloud computing through a pilot program designed to advance the use of technology in the province.
Cloud computing is considered transformational because it eliminates the need for computer servers on the premises of a company or research team, according to Cybera. It removes the need for users to purchase and maintain physical hardware, which can help entrepreneurs test prototypes in a real-world computing environment, without having to purchase expensive equipment just for testing, the organization says.
“Most if not all of the major technology companies are using the cloud because it offers huge competitive advantages,” says Robin Winsor, President and CEO of Cybera. “However, researchers and entrepreneurs—people trying out brand new ideas—might find the cost of this technology to be a barrier when they aren’t yet sure what the return on investment will be. This program can provide that environment for discovery and invention.”
“Through a strategic investment in Cybera, the Government of Alberta is helping to build the infrastructure and ways of working that will keep Alberta competitive in a highly technological world,” says Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk. “This Rapid Access Cloud helps Alberta researchers and entrepreneurs shape their own unique and strong programs, and builds up the provincial expertise and capacity for shared IT services in the process.”
The cloud program in Alberta is linked to a national program with a similar goal called the Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR). Both programs allow users to try out and evaluate cloud infrastructure before they invest in using a commercial cloud service.
According to Lukaszuk, this subsidized cloud computing program—which is similar to the Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research—aims to lower the barrier to entry for Canadian entrepreneurs and researchers who are interested in trying out cloud services.
The Rapid Access Cloud program is open to Albertans who would like to use cloud computing for research, experimentation, or testing purposes.