Why Cloud?

The Cloud provides a secure and
scalable way to share access to
data and tools; facilitate collaboration
and increase computational
reproducibility; and enhance data security.

Terra Why Cloud v2

Biomedical datasets are becoming massive

2.5 PB


The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) program has molecularly characterized over 20,000 primary cancer and matched normal samples spanning 33 cancer types, representing 2.5 Petabytes of data.

900 TB


The Centers for Common Disease Genomics (CCDG) program has sequenced whole genomes or exomes from over 65,000 participants, representing 900 Terabytes of data, with many more planned.

3.7 PB

All of Us

The All of Us Research Program is sequencing over 250,000 whole genomes representing 3.7 Petabytes, out of a planned cohort of over 1 Million participants.

The Cloud lets us share data without distributing copies

WhyCloud 1

Data too big to download

Given datasets on the scale of Terabytes or more, the traditional model of downloading copies to local computing infrastructure cannot scale, and imposes unfair barriers to participation against all but the largest and most highly-funded research centers.

WhyCloud 2

A new, scalable model for data sharing

The cloud model brings the researchers to the data, enabling much more efficient, scalable and equitable access to data, tools and computing resources. It also empowers researchers to federate multiple datasets and apply integrative analyses.

Benefits for collaboration and computational reproducibility

Dependency hell:

Terra DependencyHell

Thanks to containers, you can bundle all of the software needed for your analysis in a self contained portable environment that can be run anywhere, so anyone else can run your code without spending hours trying to install packages and resolve conflicts.

Pricey hardware
requirements: GONE

Terra Pricey hardware

Everyone has access to a wide range of the same off the shelf hardware — including more special-purpose hardware like GPUs — so you can reproduce someone else’s work without having to buy bespoke hardware.

Collaborating across
organizations: SO EASY

Terra Collab across Orgs
You can give your collaborators at a different institution access to your project code and data — and even your execution environment — without needing to get them accounts at your institution.

Security is a first class feature

There are many misconceptions about the security of data on the cloud. In Terra, security is a first-class feature, drawing on the best practices in information security, accredited through top US federal certification programs and compliant with European GDPR laws. For more details, see the Security resource page.