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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 138012, 19 pages
Research Article

Cloud Infrastructures for In Silico Drug Discovery: Economic and Practical Aspects

1Institute of Applied Mathematics and Information Technologies, National Research Council of Italy, via de Marini 6, 16149 Genoa, Italy
2Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Italian Grid Infrastructure, via Ranzani 13/2, 40127 Bologna, Italy
3Institute of Biomedical Technologies, National Research Council of Italy, via F.lli Cervi 93, 20090 Segrate (Mi), Italy

Received 28 March 2013; Revised 26 June 2013; Accepted 27 June 2013

Academic Editor: Rita Casadio

Copyright © 2013 Daniele D'Agostino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cloud computing opens new perspectives for small-medium biotechnology laboratories that need to perform bioinformatics analysis in a flexible and effective way. This seems particularly true for hybrid clouds that couple the scalability offered by general-purpose public clouds with the greater control and ad hoc customizations supplied by the private ones. A hybrid cloud broker, acting as an intermediary between users and public providers, can support customers in the selection of the most suitable offers, optionally adding the provisioning of dedicated services with higher levels of quality. This paper analyses some economic and practical aspects of exploiting cloud computing in a real research scenario for the in silico drug discovery in terms of requirements, costs, and computational load based on the number of expected users. In particular, our work is aimed at supporting both the researchers and the cloud broker delivering an IaaS cloud infrastructure for biotechnology laboratories exposing different levels of nonfunctional requirements.