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Research Computing Services

Research Computing Infrastructure as a Service (RCS IaaS)

Overview

The Research Computing Infrastructure as a Service (RCIS) provides instant high performance compute, storage, network resources and other functionality.  It helps avoid the expense and complexity of buying and managing your own physical servers and other data centre infrastructure. It enables IT practitioners and research groups to build their own scalable platforms that fit their exact needs and requirements.  Departmental IT or Research Groups are able to submit an application here to rent a portion of the available cloud resources, on which to build their own research computing platforms without needing to first provision physical hardware in their home department. The Research Cloud is currently comprised of Intel Haswell Xeon class virtual machine hypervisors, connected via a 50Gb Ethernet interconnect and a 10Gb connection onto the Cambridge University Data Network. Storage can be allocated from a large Ceph cluster and mounted directly on virtual machines as block devices. 

Audience

This service is targeted at IT practitioners across the University and research groups with IT-proficient members.

Typical Use 

Test and development - Teams can quickly set up and dismantle test and development environments.  RCS IaaS makes scaling dev-test environments up and down quick and economical.

Website hosting and web apps - RCS IaaS provides all the infrastructure to build and support websites and web apps, including storage, web, database and application servers, and networking resources.

High-performance computing and big data analysis - The compute, network and storage resources are tuned to provide high-performance infrastructure for data processing and analysis. 

Service Features

Test Environment 

We provide a "sandbox" test environment that can be requested free of charge for a period of two weeks. This environment provides all features of the final service and can be used to try the service before paying for resources. 

Private Tenancy

Each department or research group will get a dedicated tenancy (private virtual server room) where IT staff can create and manage their own compute, network and storage resources. 

Quota 

All resources are subject to quota limits. Additional resources can be purchased through this website.

Availability

The system is designed for continuous running 24x7. The system is currently deployed at a single site (the West Cambridge Data Centre).

Backups

The users of the service are responsible for backing up their data. Please read this chapter on how that can be achieved using tools provided with the service.

User Support

There is a dedicated user support team who can help and advise on how to use the service. User Support hours are standard office hours on working days:  Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00. 

How to Get the Service

Please visit our Resource Application site.

Please note that the minimum commitment when purchasing resources is 1 year. Resources can be also purchased with 3 and 5 year commitment. 

The full price list can be found here

Service Roadmap

Training

We are working on a training materials and planning do deliver first training sessions in April. 

Filesystem as a service

Our future work will include expansion of storage ofering within the service to add filesystem as a service feature. 

Secondary site

We are planning to provide cloud resources located at a secondary site to enable infrastructure as a service at multiple physical sites. 

Further Information

To find out more about the service please read the User Guide.

Alternatively, you can contact our dedicated support team at support@hpc.cam.ac.uk.