This guide describes launching a running instance (virtual machine) with SSH login enabled. We also have a tutorial to provide step by step instructions to launch an instance. Please visit the Nectar Tutorial website.

There are three main steps to launching the instance on the Nectar Research Cloud dashboard.

The first two steps may only need to be performed the first time you launch an instance. For subsequent launches, you may be able to reuse the keypair and security groups that you previously set up, and skip to step 3.

  1. Creating an SSH Keypair
  2. Create a Security Group
  3. Launch an Instance

1. Creating an SSH keypair

You will need to create a public/private key pair before you can use SSH to login to the newly-created instance. 

The public key will be stored on the instance and the private key is stored on your desktop/laptop. 

See the SSH key tutorial page for a detailed explanation of keypair authentication for the Nectar research cloud.

2. Create a Security Group

Security groups allow you to create rules to access your instance. You can change security groups and rules for an instance on the dashboard, even while it is running. For information on security groups see this article in Nectar Fundamentals

For a basic steps on setting up Security Groups, view this tutorial here. 

3. Launch an Instance

To configure and launch an instance on the Nectar dashboard, use this tutorial here. 

The launch button begins Cloud provisioning and initialisation of a running instance from the selected image and your configuration options. The instance will normally pass from status "Build" to "Active". Depending on your image size and cloud activity, the length of time required may vary. Your instance will have a public IP address and be reachable according to the Security Groups selected.

Instructions to access the instance are on the 'Accessing Instances’ page in Cloud Basics Tutorial site.

If Launch is Unsuccessful

You may get a message that your quota has been exceeded or you have insufficient resources. Check the project overview piecharts or the "Project Limits" graph to the right on the Launch Instance window to ensure you have available resources. You may have to terminate a running Instance to free resources before you can launch another Instance (see the Instance tab in order to Terminate). If you need more resources, see the allocation tab to apply for an increase (managing allocations).

If the above doesn't apply to you, you can send an email to the eHelp Desk (you can use the "Support Ticket" link at the top of the Nectar Dashboard).

Further Information


The image does not have to be a Nectar Official image, users can create their own images by snapshotting a running instance. By launching a snapshotted image, users can recreate a former instance.

There is a large collection of images that have been created and made public by other users. Use caution with these images, and only use them if they are from a trusted source.

For advanced users, you can also create your own images. Please refer to the openstack documentation for more details.

Read more about the image catalog in Nectar Fundamentals.

Availability Zone

Select the Availability Zone for your instance. The Availability Zone is the location for your instance. By default, the system will select an available location for you. You can also click the 'Advanced' button to select from a complete list of available Availability Zones. 

Read more about availability zones in Nectar Fundamentals.


You can execute a customisation script after you launch your instance. You can do any initialisation and customisation to your instance by using this script, and it is executed only once at the first boot of your instance. You can copy/paste your script by selecting 'Direct Input' or you can upload a script file. The script can be a shell script or Cloud-init script.

Advanced Options

You can choose whether you automatically or manually create the disk partition. In most cases, you shouldn't change the default.

Notes: The above configuration options can be set in the 'Launch Instance' popup window. To launch the popup window, you can go to the Instances tab and click the 'Launch Instance' button.

To get more information about the terms used, please refer to the Glossary.