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 OpenStack.
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 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 OpenStack credentials and start managing Red Cloud resources.
How to Access Red Cloud Resources
Note: Regardless which method you choose (Web Interface or Command Line Interface), you must follow the First Time Login instructions above.
To access your running 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 operates. Red Cloud enables the user to control the state of system virtual machines, such as start, pause, suspend, shelve, and delete (see Instance States for a full list). Since starting a virtual machine allocates memory and CPU resources on a physical machine to that virtual machine, subscriptions 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. This is fair because your running instance will prevent others from using the hardware, even if the hardware is idle.
Thus, the best way to avoid using up your subscription needlessly is to make sure you shelve your Red Cloud instance any time you are not using it. It is very simple to do this via the menu in the OpenStack Web Interface. You can always start the instance again later, and the disk contents will be unchanged. It is just like shutting down your laptop.
Whenever you have one or more instances that are up and running, the amount that is deducted from your Red Cloud subscription is: the length of time that your instances are running, multiplied by the number of cores that you are occupying with those instances. This implies that you should also take advantage of the various instance sizes available. For example, it is usually best to choose a small instance type to do your development work.
It is worth pointing out that Red Cloud allows the instance type to be changed if the virtual machine is stopped (i.e. shut down). This allows you to "scale up" an instance at any time by stopping it, choosing a larger size for it, and starting it back up. You can shrink an instance in the same way.
Here are a couple of motivating examples for you. Let's say you have an exploratory account, with just 165 core hours to start. If you leave a 1-core node running around the clock, you will use up the entire account in a little less than a week. Similarly, let's say 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 OpenStack), 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.
The current Red Cloud System Status can be checked anytime.
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.