Welcome to the Nectar Research Cloud knowledge base. Browse or search our user documentation, and if you can't find what you're looking for contact our support team by either raising a ticket, or by sending an email to support@nectar.org.au .


What is the Nectar Research Cloud

The Nectar Research Cloud provides supported computing infrastructure, giving researchers access to computing resources without the need to purchase or host their own hardware.
All Australian researchers have access to the Nectar Research Cloud via the AAF.

To access the Cloud, all users must first login through the Nectar Research Cloud dashboard: https://dashboard.rc.nectar.org.au/


To begin learning how to use Nectar Cloud, follow our Cloud Starter tutorial series here.

Instances

An “instance” running inside the Research Cloud is just like real-life machine but in a remote location. The Research Cloud is used to start, copy and delete instances. They have an operating system (you select it from a list), network access (a real IP address & you specify any access), and hard disk storage. With no hardware to maintain, you can copy (Snapshot) and customise new machines rapidly.

Tools

The Nectar Cloud Dashboard

The Dashboard provides a web interface to get all the basic Research Cloud-related jobs done.

Use the dashboard:

  • for basic Cloud operations: (launching, duplicating & terminating ) instances;
  • to get Credentials you can use with other API clients;
  • to make an allocation request for a larger ongoing share of Research Cloud Resources.

Images

Instances originate from Images and can be a plain "off-the-shelf" Operating System or can include software packages and config changes to suit a particular purpose (e.g.: serving web pages). There are publicly available images in the cloud ready for you to use.

To suit your specific purposes, an instance may need some customisation, configuration changes or software installation. It’s a good idea to make a copy of the instance if you wish to re-use its current state as a starting point for new instances. If you are experimenting and making changes, a copy allows you to return to the copied state and dispose of the experiment without having to undo/redo configuration changes.

Copies of instances are called Snapshots. Learn more about them, and how to create one on our tutorial site.

Key Pairs

Key pairs enable you to communicate with your instance via SSH. When launching an instance, you specify an existing key pair. The public key is injected into the running instance's authorized_keys file.

You can manage your key pairs through the Dashboard or via the nova CLI client.


To learn more about Key Pair creation and use, follow our tutorial. 

Security groups

Incoming network access to your Cloud machines is usually required. Security Groups are how to add network access. If you can't reach your instance by SSH to login, or by browser if it runs a web server, additional Security Group settings could be needed.

Learn more about Security groups here. Work with security groups in practice, by following our tutorial here.

Storage in the cloud

The NeCTAR Research Cloud provides instances for research use. While resources such as processing cores, RAM and the amount of storage you get are dedicated to a particular instance, other resources such as the network and the underlying storage system are shared among instances. Furthermore, not all storage is created equal; the Research Cloud offers:

Learn more about the different types of storage here