Changes to Access to the Nectar Research Cloud for Western Australian Researchers

Changes to Access to the Nectar Research Cloud for Western Australian Researchers
September 1, 2017 Karen Mecoles


The Nectar Research Cloud is a federation of Nodes distributed around the country, which host the cloud compute and storage infrastructure. In June 2017, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre decided to discontinue providing resources to the Nectar Federation (effective 6 July 2017). Nectar and the remaining 7 Nodes (eRSA, Intersect, Monash University, the NCI, QCIF, TPAC and the University of Melbourne) will continue to operate the Nectar Research Cloud through the 2017-18 funding period. There is strong support for the continuing operation of an Australian research cloud in the recent national research infrastructure roadmap.

Pawsey are providing a new national cloud infrastructure service called Nimbus that is integrated with the Pawsey HPC and storage infrastructure. The new cloud component of the national Pawsey service will be independent of the Nectar Research Cloud, but will use the same underlying cloud software (OpenStack), and will align with the recommendations of the infrastructure roadmap for an integrated data-intensive infrastructure system. Nimbus will be available to all Australian researchers using standard merit schemes.

Nectar is considering how to address applications for Nectar cloud resources from Western Australian researcher users and service providers. While Nectar and the node operators seek to support national research communities and national research priorities, the implications of the absence of a WA-based resource provider and co-investment from WA research institutions needs to be carefully considered. Further updates on resource allocations will be provided on the Nectar web site and through communication to Research Cloud users.

As interim advice, WA researchers who require cloud services are being asked to consider the following options:

  1. Apply for resources at their local institution.
  2. Apply for a merit based allocation at one of Australia’s national high-performance computing centres (Pawsey or the NCI), including the Nimbus cloud at Pawsey.
  3. If the project is a collaboration with researchers from institutions outside of WA, ask one of these researchers to submit a Nectar project resource allocation request for the collaboration.
  4. Discuss a formal arrangement for support with a Nectar Research Cloud Node (see list above).
    1. Some existing Research Cloud Nodes may offer support for WA participants in strategic research collaborations of interest to the Node, e.g. the TPAC Research Cloud node has offered to provide support for marine science researchers in WA.
    2. WA institutions may also seek to negotiate continuing support from existing Research Cloud Nodes or users may seek access on a fee-for-service basis.
      Researchers can contact Nectar for guidance on options for their particular requirements.
  5. Consider using a commercial cloud provider.

Researchers who wish to learn more about Nimbus should visit

Questions regarding the NeCTAR Research Cloud should be addressed to the eHelp support portal
or email