New infrastructure and services for the ARDC’s Nectar Research Cloud

Dr Paul Coddington1

1Australian Research Data Commons, Adelaide, Australia

The Nectar Research Cloud has been in operation for 8 years, and has supported more than 4000 projects and 18000 users, and hosts many services used by thousands more researchers. In 2018 it transitioned to being supported by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC). This presentation will provide an overview of ARDC’s plans for the expansion of Nectar Research Cloud infrastructure and services in 2020/21 and beyond, in collaboration with the Research Cloud Node partners.

A major refresh of the Research Cloud infrastructure is underway that is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. Additional infrastructure investment in 2021 will prioritise the requirements of the ARDC Platforms projects and the provision of high-end infrastructure such as GPUs and large memory servers. We will also be exploring the integration of additional capacity from commercial clouds.

The ARDC is leading a national collaborative effort to develop the Australian Research Container Orchestration Service (ARCOS), to provide expertise, best practices and standards for interoperable deployment of cloud applications on multiple cloud platforms through the use of containers and container orchestration using Kubernetes.

Another new service being developed is an interactive data analytics platform that will make it easier to use the Research Cloud to run standard data analytics tools such as R Studio and Jupyter notebooks, and provide a simpler virtual desktop interface. This platform will be based on the requirements and implementations of several existing Virtual Laboratories, and be designed so that it can be customised to develop similar domain-specific Platforms.


Paul Coddington is the Associate Director, Research Cloud and Storage at the Australian Research Data Commons. He has been responsible for the Nectar Research Cloud since 2017 and has 30 years of experience in the eResearch sector.

Pegging CloudStor’s inter-operability on Reva

Mr Brad Marshall1, Mr Gavin Kennedy1

1AARNet, Canberra, Australia

Since CloudStor was scaled up to provide a universal data storage and sharing platform across the entire Australian public research sector a frequent question has been “Can we add our storage to it?”. With the re-architecture of the CloudStor, the answer will be “definitely”.

CloudStor is built using two key technologies: the CERN EOS geographically distributed file system and the ownCloud EFSS (Enterprise File Sync and Share) software. Recently CERN have improved the EOS-EFSS interaction through Reva, a project dedicated to create a platform that makes cloud storage and application services inter-operable.

For CloudStor this will be a vast improvement on our scalability. The current version relies upon a cache model incurs performance issues as the scale increases. Working with CERN and ownCloud we are switching to a cache-free model in which file transactions happen against the file system in real time. CERN have proven this approach by storing and sharing data generated off the LHC at scales we can only dream about.

Importantly Reva also delivers an opportunity to make CloudStor inter-operable with institutional file systems, making CloudStor a single pane of glass for accessing your data and data shared with you, across multiple data stores. With strong authorisation controls this also provides access to CloudStor sharing mechanisms and group drive functions.

We will discuss the practical advantages of moving to Reva, the development work that AARNet is collaborating on with CERN and ownCloud, and the pilot activities for cross file system interoperability that are currently underway.


Bio to come

ARCOS: Findings from a roadmap to establish a national capability for containers

Dr Steven Manos1

1University of Melbourne  eResearch Centre, Melbourne, Australia

Containers have been described as a computer within a computer, which allows researchers to run software without installation, saving time and effort. Kubernetes is the emerging open source project that has become the most commonly-used approach for multi-cloud application deployment using containers.

The Australian Research Container Orchestration Service (ARCOS) seeks to emulate the transformational impact of the ARDC (OpenStack) Core Services competency by establishing a national collaborative Kubernetes Core Service to support the use of containers and container orchestration in the research sector. The ARDC’s Storage and Compute theme are working with the research community to develop the requirements for ARCOS and a plan for implementing the service.

The primary objectives ARCOS are:

-To engage with Australian research infrastructure providers, developers and researchers to collate and understand their use of Kubernetes

-Collect information on how Kubernetes is being used internationally as an input into ARCOS

-Coordinate efforts and foster collaboration across research communities

-Bring together service providers from the academic and research community to establish and exchange best practice on the application of Kubernetes within the Australian research sector

-Make recommendations on national services and community activities

-Provide input into the implementation of a national Kubernetes Service for researchers.

During this presentation we will outline the vision of ARCOS, provide an update of the current progress of the initiative, solicit feedback from the audience and encourage those interested in this groundbreaking initiative to participate in its development.


Steven has 15 years of experience working at the intersection of research practice and digital technologies. He brings a mix of skills in facilitation, strategy and tech, and has a big focus on partnerships and community building. His ambition is to deliver a more united national workforce of research support specialists providing valuable expertise and new services to the research community.

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