Martin Dahlö, Frédéric Haziza, Aleksi Kallio, Eija Korpelainen, Erik Bongcam-Rudloff and Ola Spjuth
Virtualization is becoming increasingly important in bioscience, enabling assembly and provisioning of complete computer setups, including operating system, data, software, and services packaged as virtual machine images (VMIs). We present an open catalog of VMIs for the life sciences, where scientists can share information about images and optionally upload them to a server equipped with a large file system and fast Internet connection. Other scientists can then search for and download images that can be run on the local computer or in a cloud computing environment, providing easy access to bioinformatics environments. We also describe applications where VMIs aid life science research, including distributing tools and data, supporting reproducible analysis, and facilitating education. BioImg.org is freely available at: https://bioimg.org.