Research Cloud Networking

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Background

Since launching in 2012 the Nectar Research Cloud has supported a simple form of networking for user's instances, with no direct control or advanced capabilities (such as private networks and floating IPs) available to users. In 2015 the first steps were taken towards a richer set of networking features for the Research Cloud - the software-defined control plane that orchestrates instance networking was migrated to OpenStack's contemporary network project (Neutron). The major next steps of that evolution include bringing features such as:

  • private networks (projects will be able to define and create private networks, create ports on these networks, and connect instances to these ports)
  • floating IPs (projects will be able to create register public IP address to the project and "float" those IP addresses between instances or other virtual networking devices as they become available)
  • load-balancers (projects will be able to create load-balancers attached to multiple instances and assign a public floating IP to the load-balancer

The above items are listed in order of their expected rollout, but due to the complexities involved (including the constraints and requirements of the individual Node operators) we cannot currently confirm timing for the expected availability of each feature at each Node. When more information is available it will be posted in the support forums and linked from this page. Also note that due to the use of consumable resources such as public IP addresses, some of these features will only be available to projects via the Research Cloud allocations mechanism.

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Classic Provider

By default each instance/server on the Nectar Research Cloud gets assigned a single network interface with a public IPv4 address configured by DHCP - this is known as Classic Provider networking within the RC. Currently, each Node of the RC provides and manages the address space associated with instances launched and running in their zones. This default public network is a Provider Network in OpenStack networking terminology - meaning the cloud operators have preconfigured the associated subnet and transport. Currently the Research Cloud uses Linux bridge based provider networks to connect all instances.

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Private Networks

Many users of the NeCTAR research cloud now have the ability to create private networks within their respective projects (subject to quota allowance). Private networks are completely isolated and are unique to the project in which they are created. Each private network can span supporting sites across the NeCTAR research cloud, meaning that compute instances from multiple availability zones can be connected together over a private link; mitigating the need for network traffic to travel over the public internet. For information, read the guide to Private Networks.

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Floating IPs

Floating IP addresses are IP addresses dedicated to a project (subject to quota allowance) and can be attached to an instance that is part of a private network in order to create a public presence for that instance. Because Floating IP addresses are dedicated to a project, it makes it possible to maintain a public IP address for an instance after termination. Floating IP's are available to many Nectar users. Read the guide to Private Networks for more information.

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Research Cloud Address Ranges

If you are interfacing external services with your Research Cloud infrastructure and/or services then you may need to know the public IP address ranges which instances on the Research Cloud may use, e.g., so you can write firewall rules to whitelist particular zone/s. This information is most readily available and up to date by querying the Neutron API. E.g.:

$ neutron subnet-list

You can also find this information in written form over on the IP ranges FAQ entry.

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