SNIC Science Cloud (SSC): A National-scale Cloud Infrastructure for Swedish Academia

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Published: 2017-08-09

Formatted citation

Toor S, Lindberg M, Fallman I, Vallin A, Mohill O, Freyhult P, Nilsson L, Agback M, Viklund L, Zazzi H, Spjuth O, Capuccini M, Moller J, Murtagh D, Hellander A. SNIC Science Cloud (SSC): A National-scale Cloud Infrastructure for Swedish Academia.
Accepted to the 13th IEEE e-Science conference 2017. (2017).

Abstract

The cloud computing paradigm have fundamentally changed the way computational resources are being offered. Although the number of large-scale providers in academia is still relatively small, there is a rapidly increasing interest and adoption of cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service in the scientific community. The added flexibility in how applications can be implemented compared to traditional batch computing systems is one of the key success factors for the paradigm, and scientific cloud computing promises to increase adoption of simulation and data analysis in scientific communities not traditionally users of large scale e-Infrastructure, the so called 'long tail of science'. In 2014, the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC) initiated a project to investigate the cost and constraints of offering cloud infrastructure for Swedish academia. The aim was to build a platform where academics could evaluate cloud computing for their use-cases. SNIC Science Cloud (SSC) has since then evolved into a national-scale cloud infrastructure based on three geographically distributed regions. In this article we present the SSC vision, architectural details and user stories. We summarize the experiences gained from running a national-scale cloud facility into 'ten simple rules' for starting up a science cloud project based on OpenStack. We also highlight some key areas that require careful attention in order to offer cloud infrastructure for ubiquitous academic needs and in particular scientific workloads.