Page tree

Versions Compared


  • This line was added.
  • This line was removed.
  • Formatting was changed.
Comment: minor misspelling

Terms and Acronyms

The goal of this tutorial is for the reader to gain experience with running the HCP pipelines in the "Amazon Cloud". In order for this to make sense, it is important that you start out with a basic understanding of the following terms.

AWS - Amazon Web Services

A collection of remote computing services that make up a cloud computing platform. The two of the central services are Amazon EC2 (the service that provides compute power, “machines” that are remotely available) and Amazon S3 (the service that provides storage space for your data).

EC2 – Elastic Compute Cloud

Amazon service that allows users to rent virtual machines (VMs) on which to run their applications. Users can create, launch, and terminate VMs as needed, paying an hourly fee only for VMs that are currently active (this the “elastic” nature).

S3 – Simple Storage Service

Amazon online data storage service. Not a traditional file system. Stores large “objects” instead of files. These objects are accessible virtually anywhere on the web. Multiple running EC2 instances can access an S3 object simultaneously. Intended for large, shared pools of data. Conceptually similar to a shared, web-accessible drive.

S3 Bucket

Data in S3 is stored in buckets. Forour purposes, a bucket is simply a named container for the files that we store and share via Amazon S3. HCP's data is made available publicly in a bucket named hcp-openaccess.

AMI – Amazon Machine Image – The Software

A read-only image of a file system that includes an Operating System (OS) and additional software installed. Conceptually, this is comparable to a CD/DVD that contains an OS and other software that is installed on a “machine” for you. The creator of the AMI chooses which OS to include and then installs and configures other software. For example, an AMI creator might choose to start with CentOS Linux or Ubuntu Linux and then pre-install a set of tools that are useful for a particular purpose.


The AMI is the software distribution that will be installed and run on your virtual machine instance (see below.)

Amazon EC2 Instance TypesThe available hardware

An EC2 Instance Type is a particular combination of CPU, memory (RAM), storage, and networking capacity optimized for a particular purpose. There are instance types defined for use as:


An Instance Type is a virtual hardware configuration.

Amazon EBS – Elastic Block Storage

Online data storage service that provides a more traditional file system. An EBS volume is attached to a running EC2 instance. From the EC2 instance's point of view, an EBS volume is a “local drive”.

EBS volumes can be configured such that the data continues to exist after the EC2 instance is shut down. By default, however, they are configured such that the volume is deleted upon instance shut down.

Amazon EFS - Elastic File System

A rented FILE SYSTEM that can be mounted on multiple EC2 instances.  Can even be mounted on your "local" computers, but requires special AWS Direct Connect connection to Amazon bypassing standard internet connection

VNC viewer

Virtual network computing (VNC) is a type of remote-control software that makes it possible to control another computer over a network connection. ... It also interprets commands coming from the viewer and carries them out on the remote computer. VNC is platform independent and is compatible with any operating system.


Neuroimaging Informatics Tools and Resources Clearinghouse