Getting Started

This section is going to show you how to use your AAF (Australian Access Federation) credentials to authenticate to the Nectar Dashboard and use SSH to login to Virtual Machine.

Dashboard Authentication

Nectar Dashboard uses AAF to authenticate users. Please follow the below instructions to login to the Nectar Dashboard.

  • Click here to go to the Nectar Dashboard and you will see the following screen:


  • Click 'Log In' button, then select your AAF organisation from the menu:


  • You will be redirected to a login page provided by your selected institution/organization:


  • Type in username/password supplied by your institution/organization and click 'Continue' button, if successful, you should see the Nectar Dashboard

Note, if your institution or organization is not the list, you can contact the help desk in your institution or organization to see whether there is AAF support. Or you can contact Nectar HelpDesk to arrange an alternative way to login.

Virtual Machine Authentication

To create a key pair in Nectar Research Cloud:

  • Login to the Nectar Dashboard

  • Select a project from the project drop down list and click 'Access & Security', your screen should look similar to the following screenshots, which have a list of existing keys:

key1 key2

  • You can click the 'Create Key Pair' button to create a new key pair:


  • After entering the key pair name and clicking 'Create Key Pair', the system will ask you to save the private key. You should download the private key and save it in a secure place.

  • You can also click the 'Import Key Pair' button to import an existing public key, see the below screenshot:


  • You can copy and paste the public key into the 'Public Key' text area and give a key pair name. Then you click 'Import Key Pair' button to upload the public key.

This key pair can be used later when you launch a new Virtual Machine for authentication. Please see relevant articles about how to use the key in launching a new Virtual Machine.

Linux and MacOSX Authentication

In Linux, you can use the following command to login to the Virtual Machine:

ssh -i private_key_file_name ip_address

The 'private_key_file_name' is the private key you download from the Nectar Dashboard (you may also need to specify the path to the key, if it is not in the '~/.ssh/' directory). The ip_address for the instance is found on the 'Instances' tab of the Nectar Dashboard.

Windows Authentication

For Windows users, you can use putty for key based authentication to access Virtual Machines. (There are other alternatives, but these are not covered by these instructions. Putty has the advantage of being available for all current versions of Windows, and it is typically installed or available as part of your home institution's standard Windows desktop environment.)

Step 1 - converting the key file using Puttygen

Windows uses different file format for the private key that you download from the Nectar Dashboard. You can use puttygen for the key conversion.

After you download the files from the above links, double click the puttygen.exe file to launch puttygen.  You should then see the following screenshot:


Next you click 'Import Key' item from the 'Conversions' menu:

  • In the dialog, select the file contain the private key you saved from the Nectar Dashboard.
  • Click 'Ok'.


Finally, you click the 'Save Private Key' button:

  • In the dialog, click 'yes' for not saving key with a password
  • Provide the file name for saving the converted private key.
  • Click Save.

This completes the procedure for converting the private key to Windows format.  You should save the converted key file in a safe place.

Step 2 - logging in using Putty.

The instructions for logging in using the SSH key via putty are as follows:

  • Double click 'putty.exe' to launch putty:


  • Click 'Auth' under 'Connection' and then click 'Browse' button to load the file containing the private key that you generated (or converted) previously:


  • Click 'Section' and enter the Virtual Machine's IP Address in the 'Host Name' text field

  • Click the 'Open' button to login