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jneffjneff BostonMember, Broadie admin
edited April 2017 in Archive


What is “Firecloud”?
FireCloud is one of three National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Genomics Cloud Pilots for analyzing genomic data on the cloud along with co-located TCGA data.

It is maintained and developed by the Broad Institute in collaboration with the University of California Berkeley and University of California Santa Cruz.

FireCloud aims to be both a data repository and computational platform. As a data repository, FireCloud will hold all TCGA data, both controlled and open access, including raw data files and derived data. As a computational platform, FireCloud will contain and support the Broad Institute’s best practice tools and pipelines, as well as tools uploaded by users.

FireCloud’s design is modeled in part after Firehose, the Broad Institute’s platform that supports large-scale analysis and production. Like Firehose, FireCloud supports computational sandboxes containing data models that help analysts organize information, along with analysis methods for operating on those models. Key differences include (1) FireCloud’s capacity for scalable, ‘elastic’ cloud computing on the Google Cloud Platform and (2) the packaging of all tools into docker images.

How would we describe FireCloud in one sentence to a new user?
FireCloud is a cancer genome analysis platform built on a cloud computing environment, fully loaded with tools, workflows and co-located TCGA data.

Who can access Firecloud today?
FireCloud is now open to the public.

All FireCloud users will be able to view open access TCGA Data and Best Practice workspaces.

In order to create your own workspace, you must be granted access to at least one FireCloud Billing Project. FireCloud Billing Projects must be created by FireCloud administrators for FireCloud users. Google Projects created outside of FireCloud can not be used within the system.

FireCloud administrators can create a new FireCloud Billing Project upon request. FireCloud administrators can also grant you access to an existing FireCloud Billing Project that was previously created for another user. Please see FireCloud Billing Projects and Google Billing Accounts for more information.

What is the target user base for FireCloud?

  • Analysts
  • Tool Developers
  • Production Managers

Will the Broad Institute phase out Firehose (the internal precursor to FireCloud) over time?
Yes. We have not set a specific date to close Firehose, although our goal is to transition the Firehose user base to FireCloud by Spring of 2016.

What features are available in FireCloud?
For information on FireCloud’s features, you can browse through FireCloud Basics in the User Guide.

What is FireCloud’s workspace data model?
To help you organize your data and results, FireCloud’s workspace data model provides predefined entity types, entity relationships, and entity attributes.

FireCloud Entity Types:

  • participant
  • participant set
  • sample
  • sample set
  • pair
  • pair set

FireCloud’s workspace data model also provides structure for analysis runs by requiring an entity type (e.g., pair set) on which to run an analysis.

Results from data runs can be populated directly to the workspace data model for use in downstream analyses.

For more information, refer to the Data Model section of FireCloud Basics in the User Guide.

Can Firecloud be used for non-cancer projects?
Yes, FireCloud’s current data model entities, such as participant, sample, and pair, help to categorize cancer data, but are generally adaptable for non-cancer projects.

FireCloud is also built to be extensible to multiple data models, and may support data model customization in the near future.

FireCloud attributes attached to entities in the data model are extensible. Workflows reference these attributes as input parameters. Attribute values may include demographic information, clinical lab values, sample and tissue classifications, as well as references to data files residing in cloud storage.

For more information, refer to the Data Model section of FireCloud Basics in the User Guide.

Can I request platform enhancements? How are enhancements prioritized?
You can request enhancements directly through the FireCloud Forum.

We will periodically review the FireCloud Forum to gain insight about desired enhancements, and prioritize based on the frequency of requests for a particular feature.

We will also prioritize enhancements that improve system stability, ease-of-use, speed, scalability, cost-efficiency, and security.

Does FireCloud cost money?
FireCloud charges all usage costs to FireCloud Billing Projects. Go here for more information. Currently, in order to create or clone your own workspace, and run analyses using pre-loaded TCGA data, you must create or gain access to a FireCloud Billing Project.

Coming soon: All registered FireCloud users will be eligible for cloud credits to cover usage costs up to $10,000.

Post edited by KateN on
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