Hosting TRE/SDEs locally vs cloud#

Chair: Adam Marsh (Optimum Patient Care)


  • What is the split (if any) between TRE/SDEs being hosted locally vs cloud?

  • What are the merits of either option?

  • [assuming there are participants who have hosted locally] Are there any challenges or tips for building and hosting locally?


Conversation centred around cost implications of local vs cloud TREs.

Possible approaches included thinking about pan-cloud providers like Snowflake, as well as hybrid approaches to on-prem and cloud components, were discussed.

Next steps included using UK TRE community to standardise investments in the space to reduce costs for TRE provision.

Raw notes#

  • We all have the same cost management problems. All having to use limited budgets for balancing storage and compute and operations costs. But why does this infrastructure not exist nationally with national investment to maintain a single architecture for use? We should lobby up as a community to influence policy and makers.

  • Separating SDE and TREs allows storage costs to be managed separately from the dynamics of compute costs. Having the flexibility to allow TREs for projects to pay for the compute is advantageous.

  • Suggestions to look at using Snowflake or Data fabric to facilitate this

  • Bringing compute to data (by allowing the project TREs to see the data in the SDE) allows the balance of forecasting to sit with the funded party (the research project via its funding)

  • Forecasting costs as well as Operating costs are key. All plant will need refreshing every few years and this is a HUGE investment case. Scaling exponentially. Better handled by a national infrastrcuture provider.

  • Decide on costs before choice of provider. Lock in to a single cloud is inevitable. Pan-Cloud providers (like Snowflake) offer a solution.

  • Hybrid working with onprem and cloud may be a good balance, and is influenced by the exact use cases of the organisation (and its clients)

  • Additional factor worth considering is flexibility to keep up with developments across the industry (i.e. what is the new shiny thing and being able to faciliate/provide access)

Next steps#

  • Advocate for UK-TRE (or equivalent) should be lobbying ‘up’ to get standardised investment with the aim of reducing costs across the sector (not splitting funding across numerous initatives)