Red Cloud

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This wiki provides documentation for Red Cloud, an on-demand research cloud computing service maintained and supported by the CAC. At present, Red Cloud is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based on Eucalyptus.

Instructions on these pages apply to users who have a Red Cloud subscription they are managing, though some instructions may also apply to users of subscriptions managed by someone else. Individuals who manage a Red Cloud subscription can create, administer, and delete virtual servers and storage in Red Cloud.

New Users

New users would be best served by reading this complete page first. New users are also strongly encouraged to explore the Getting Started page.

Note for new Linux users: As the root user, you will have complete control over access to the system, such as setting up users and their permissions, defining the firewall, and more. This means that the primary user of a Linux system must be familiar with Linux system administration. Aside from the basics of using the command line, this includes familiarity with: creating and modifying users, installing software, configuring software for remote logins, and managing/transferring data. For users that want to use Red Cloud, but do not have much system administration experience, we've written a Linux Tutorial that should work for RedHat/CentOS and Ubuntu Linux systems. Consulting is also available to answer general questions about systems administration, or for help on specific software and research problems.

First Time Login

When you are added to a CAC project, you will receive an e-mail confirming your Red Cloud access. You must change the automatically generated password immediately for security reasons and to access computing resources. If you are a PI or a PI's proxy for a new project, verify that you have added a subscription to your project; see the Manage Projects Form URL on the How to Start a Project page. After waiting up to 4 hours for account information to propagate, you will then be ready to download the Eucalyptus credentials and start managing Red Cloud resources.

How to Access Red Cloud Resources

Red Cloud services that you will want to manage are instances, images, and volumes. These services can be managed using the following tools:

Note: Regardless which method you choose (Web Interface or Command Line Interface), you must follow the First Time Login instructions above.

To access running instances, most users will use ssh to access their Linux Instances, and Remote Desktop (RDP) to access their Microsoft Windows Instances.

Accounting: Don't Use Up Your Subscription by Accident!

To understand how billing works, it is necessary to understand a bit about how Red Cloud works. Red Cloud allows the user to start, stop, and terminate system virtual machines. Since starting a virtual machine allocates memory and CPU resources on a physical machine to that virtual machine, users are billed based on the length of time a virtual machine is running, even if it is idle and doing NO work for the user.

Of course, the number of CPU cores and amount of memory also factor into the billing rate, so it is usually best to do development on a smaller virtual machine instance. It would be useful to consider the instance sizes available. For example, if you have an exploratory account, you have 50 core hours to start. If you leave a 1-core node running, you will use up the allocated 50 hours in just over 2 days. Another possibility is that you are on a CAC project with a Red Cloud subscription (8,585 core hours). If you start up an instance with 4 cores (sometimes called CPUs in Eucalyptus), and you leave the instance running for a week, or 168 hours, you will use up (168 hours)*(4 cores) or 672 core hours, or 8% of the subscription.

This is true for Windows Instances as well; also note, Cornell users do not need to pay for a Windows license.

It is worth pointing out that Red Cloud allows the node size (instance type) to be changed if the virtual machine is stopped (i.e. shut down), which allows the user to easily grow the system size when needed.

We recommend you check your balance frequently using pages provided for Cornell or external users.

All Users

Please refer to the Eucalyptus page for more in-depth guidance on how to use Red Cloud, and read either Linux Instances or Windows Instances based on what systems will be used.

The current Red Cloud System Status can be checked anytime.

Common Tasks

Here are some links to help you with particular aspects of using Red Cloud:

  • Linux Tutorial - This may help you get up and running with some basic systems administration tasks. It is not intended to be comprehensive.
  • Information on choosing Instance type (the size of the virtual machine). Resizing volumes is a separate issue, and is somewhat more involved.
  • An example of Installing R, a commonly used software package.
  • EZ-backup - a CIT solution for backups. Data stored on Red Cloud is not backed up by default; users are responsible for their own backups.

OpenStack Migration

We are currently in the process of migrating Red Cloud from a Eucalyptus back-end to OpenStack instead. Eventually, all cloud instances will be migrated to OpenStack, and we are working on making this process as seamless as possible. If you have not been contacted regarding this migration, you can continue services normally until then. More details coming soon.


  1. Red Cloud FAQ
  2. What's New in Red Cloud with Eucalyptus 4.4?
  3. The web console says my instance is running, but why is it not responding to ping or ssh connections?