Important milestone reached for SNIC Science Cloud!

Our work on the SNIC Science Cloud is progressing at a steady rate, and we are very happy to announce that we have achieved an important milestone: over 50 active projects with more than 200 users from different disciplines. As the figure shows, the number of projects has been growing steadily, with an average of 3 per month.  Early in the project, we were driven by pre-defined pilot use-cases, but as can be seen, users are since some time ago finding us rather than the opposite. The question now is what will happen later in 2016 and 2017, will the linear trend continue or will we see a more rapid increase in project requests?

Number of active projects on the SSC IaaS resources as registered in SUPR, the SNIC project management portal. The projects vary in size, and in total include over 200 users.

The IaaS is still based on best possible efforts and in kind contributions from three SNIC centers (UPPMAX, C3SE and HPC2N). We are currently working hard on implementing more extensive accounting, gathering data on resource usage patterns, and we will follow up with a more in-depth analysis later this year. This is an important activity in our efforts to better understand the operational costs and constraints of a cloud for science, and will form a basis for e.g. informed capacity planning. We plan to make all data publicly available in the hope that it will help other academic institutions in their e-infrastructure strategy work.

We have organized three workshops and there will be more to come in the fall. The aim of the workshops is to help the user community make productive use of clouds in their research.  The first workshop was held at the Department of Information Technology, Uppsala University (September 2015), the second was at SciLifeLab, Stockholm (March 2016) and recently the third workshop was held at Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm (May 2016). The first two workshops were about introduction to Cloud computing and how to get started with OpenStack based IaaS. The third workshop address advanced concepts of virtualization, contextualization based on CloudInit and Ansible and orchestration using Heat.

Our senior cloud architect and UPPMAX application expert on cloud computing, Salman Toor, lecturing about cloud computing at KTH. In this advanced-level workshop, contextualization, orchestration and automation was on the agenda.
Our senior cloud architect and UPPMAX application expert on cloud computing, Salman Toor, lecturing about cloud computing at KTH. In this advanced-level workshop, contextualization, orchestration and automation was on the agenda.

SSC aims at being a very open project, sharing as much of our developed content and practices as open source. In line with this,  all the tutorial material is available for download, reuse, and importantly, contributions, from our GitHub repository:

Pull requests are much appreciated.

Have a nice summer!

SSC Team

Plans for first half of 2016

Part of the SNIC CLoud Team 2016
Part of the SNIC Cloud Team 2016. From left: Lars Viklund (HPC2N), Daniel Nilsson (C3SE), Andreas Hellander (UU), Salman Toor (UU, UPPMAX), Pontus Freyhult (UPPMAX) and Mathias Lindberg (C3SE). Missing from picture: Ingemar Fällman (HPC2N) and Henric Zazzi (PDC).

Last week we held out first all-hands meeting for 2016. Many of us were able to meet at HPC2N in Umeå for almost two days of brainstorming and technical work. Since we now have a functioning (but not yet production grade) IaaS cloud up and running, serving approximately 40 projects and 110 users, the focus of this meeting was on monitoring (increase stability), metering and accounting. We are, like all SNIC-supported projects, relying on the SUPR system for managing projects and users, but we haven’t yet developed a custom entry point for the cloud resources (we have been using “UPPMAX Small” templates, for those of you who know what that is). During the meeting, we completed a draft of the SUPR/SAMS workflows for cloud projects, in collaboration with representatives of the SAMS team. This is now to be handed off to those teams for feedback, and hopefully quick implementation.

Some other highlights from our all-hands meeting:

  • We decided to host 3 training workshops this semester targeted at beginning users for the cloud resources, tentatively at KI (end of February), Chalmers (late March) and Umeå University  (May). We will then follow this up with a more advanced workshop, showing some more advanced concepts and tools  in Uppsala early in the next semester.
  • We are in good shape to start accepting more users, now that we have two regions online. If you are interested, go ahead and make a project request.
  • We spent a lot of time discussing the incentive for users to make sensible use of the IaaS resources when developing applications. We will implement some form of pay-as-you-go model to promote dynamic use of resources. More information will follow.
  • We are planning to harden the systems, so as a user you will successively see a more and more stable system over the next couple of months. One step in that direction will be taken during the next large service window in the UPPMAX region Feb 15-Feb 29.
  • A third region at C3SE is well on its way.