Infrastructure for Data Science Classrooms Using IBM Cloud for Education

2 min read

A consistent compute environment with a highly accessible database and storage environment is key to cloud adoption for a data and AI curriculum involving many open-source libraries and tools.

The high availability persistent storage and databases help create a collaborative environment that can handle large data volume use cases. 

What is IBM Cloud Education Application Labs?

IBM Cloud for Education Application Labs provides a consistent virtual machine (VM) with various hardware (e.g., CPU, memory, GPU) configuration capabilities that enable optimal resource usage. Users can select from many prebuilt VM images that include custom software stacks for Jupyter notebooks, SPSS and machine learning libraries and frameworks like TensorFlow, Keras and PyTorch:

IBM Cloud for Education Labs

Users can also build their own custom VM images for classroom or research purposes. The Application Lab VM provides a consistent environment for students to focus on the data science concepts rather than managing infrastructure and compatibility issues for software and hardware. The availability of GPUs and custom network infrastructure can further augment the Application Lab's basic compute environment.  

IBM Cloud for Education Lab VMs are deployed in an IBM Cloud data center, which provides high throughput and a secure connection to storage and databases. In large data science experiments, the machine states and data can use high availability persistent storage solutions. A centralized cloud-based data lake enables instructors to manage large data sets for their students in a class. IBM Cloud allows different databases (e.g., relational, non-relational, time series, graph, etc.) and storage (e.g., object, file and block) to create the data lake to handle different data sets.

Students can leverage IBM Cloud AI services in their workflow. For use cases beyond a single class, IBM Cloud for Education Application Lab can be integrated with IBM Cloud Pak® for Data, which is an open, extensible data platform that provides a data fabric to make all data available for AI and analytics on any cloud.

Users can leverage remote desktop (RDP) or VNC to use various GUI-based visualization applications without the setup hassle of SSH forwarding.

Overall, IBM Cloud for Education Application Lab is a perfect fit for data science courses needing a virtual lab infrastructure. Application Lab includes a rich set of features to enhance both the instructor's and student's experience: flexible access, consistent compute environments of different sizes and hardware, image catalogs, high throughput connections to storage and databases solutions. Explore the references below to learn more.

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Free trial: Take the scientific approach. When you get started with IBM Cloud for Education, there’s a free trial plan so you can experiment with the IBM Cloud for Education Applications Lab. Try it now.

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