Support

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Access the QRIScloud support portal here.

Contacts

For more information about accessing QRIScloud resources, contact your local QCIF eResearch Analyst who will be happy to discuss your requirements.

FAQs

What is QRIScloud?

QRIScloud is a set of services for research groups and agencies to create, process and use their data.

QRIScloud offers two core services: data storage and cloud computing. The data storage incorporates the Queensland node for the national Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI) program, which is a repository for data collections of national significance. The cloud computing component incorporates the Queensland node for the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR), which provides national computing resources for the research sector.

Who runs QRIScloud?

QRIScloud is operated by the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF). QCIF is a joint venture between Queensland universities to efficiently provide common value-added computing resources to its members and customers. QCIF also works with the Queensland Government and private industry.

Who can use QRIScloud?

QRIScloud is available to academic researchers, government and industry customers.

What is QRIScloud's data storage?

QRIScloud data storage is a place to store your data: anything from a few megabytes to petabytes.

Why should I use QRIScloud data storage?

The QRIScloud data storage is a managed storage service. It provides a more reliable place to store research data than USB drives and portable hard disks. QRIScloud is designed to complement well managed data storage provided by your institution. It provides a platform for storing and sharing data, to encourage research collaboration and to meet data publication needs.

How do I get data storage?

For government and commercial customers please contact the QCIF Industry Innovation Manager, Franz Eilert.

For academic and research customers there is an application process. Please contact one of QCIF's eResearch Analysts to guide you through the application process. Academic and research applications are processed by the RDSI merit allocation process for data collections of national significance and value, or is allocated as data storage for collection development.

How much storage should I apply for?

You can apply for as much storage as you need to store your data collection. It is a relatively simple process to increase the allocation size, if you discover you need more space. Please do not apply for more space then you need. Our stakeholders measure us on actual data stored and unused allocated space looks bad. Don't worry about running out of space: the allocation size is a soft limit. You can go over by a small amount and can always apply for more storage.

The RDSI merit allocation process will take into account a number of factors: the storage capacity of the node; your timeframe and readiness to ingest data; and the merit of the data collection. Applications for well-described, widely relevant data collections that can be quickly ingested and openly shared will be viewed favourably.

What happens after I submit my application?

Your application will be processed and you will be sent an email with the details when it is ready. This email will include usernames and passwords for using WebDAV and scp/rsync/sftp to access the data allocation.

Can I request data storage via the NeCTAR Dashboard?

No. The NeCTAR Dashboard is for requesting and managing NeCTAR virtual machines. The storage that comes with NeCTAR virtual machines (e.g. object storage and volume storage) is different from the QRIScloud data storage. NeCTAR resources are allocated separately from the allocation of QRIScloud data storage.

Can I access the storage as a network drive?

Yes. QRIScloud data storage can be accessed via a WebDAV service. This is the simplest way to access QRIScloud data storage if you are managing a small number of small files. There is built-in support in Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux to attach a WebDAV address as a network drive. Third party WebDAV client programs are also available.

Can I access the storage with scp/rsync/sftp?

Yes. QRIScloud data storage can be accessed via scp, rsync and sftp protocols. These are useful methods for accessing QRIScloud data storage. The rsync protocol is especially useful, because it can be used to keep two directories in sync, or to continue an interrupted transfer.

There are the command line programs in Unix, Linux and Macintosh systems. Third party programs are available for Microsoft Windows.

Can I transfer very large data sets?

Yes. QCIF has experimental deployments of Globus GridFTP and Aspera servers for high-bandwidth transfer of large data sets. These specialised tools work best when there is a dedicated high-bandwidth network link to the QRIScloud data storage, so they cannot be used in all situations. Please contact QCIF if you have very large data sets (e.g. greater than 10TB).

Can I use other software to access the storage?

Yes. If you have the technical expertise, you can install your own data transfer software onto a QRIScloud compute virtual machine instance.

Is there a faster way than uploading it?

Yes. You can bring hard disks to QCIF in Brisbane or Townsville, where we have computers with a high-speed network connection to the QRIScloud data storage.

Can someone help me ingest data?

Yes. Data Ingest Specialists in Brisbane and Townsville can provide you with advice and assistance. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Will my data be backed up?

The primary purpose of QRIScloud storage is to store data to support collaboration. It is not designed to hold the primary or only copy of data, nor is it meant to be used for data processing. It does not take control of the data; you retain control over the data and you are responsible for backing it up. RDSI storage can play a role in your backup strategy, but does not replace your existing backups.

QRIScloud storage does have redundancy and hardware fault tolerance, but this should not the same as backup. Your backup strategy needs to take into account other factors besides just hardware failure; such as, recovery point objectives (what data is recovered if the data changes over time) and mean time to recovery (how long it takes to recover the data). QRIScloud is developing additional capabilities that can be used in your backup strategy, such as multi-node replication. Please contact QCIF if you want to discuss your needs.

How do I share my data with other people?

Each allocation comes with two accounts. For colleagues you fully trust, you can give them access to the read-write account. This gives them the same access that you have to read, create, update and delete data. For people that only need to download the data, you can give them access to the read-only account.

If you need to use specialised software to share data, you can install it on QRIScloud compute services and use it to share data from QRIScloud data storage. QCIF is investigating other data sharing options. Please contact QCIF to discuss your needs.

Will I be assigned a DOI or some other form of permanent identifier for my data?

No. Usually your institution's library manages Document Object Identifiers (DOI) and other identifiers for publications and data.
Please contact your library for institution specific questions, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at QCIF for general questions.

Can I make my QRIScloud data open access?

Yes, but please be mindful of security concerns when allowing access from everywhere.

What is QRIScloud's compute?

QRIScloud's compute service provides an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) computing platform for general and specialised computing needs. It allows you to run one or more virtual machine instances.

What is a virtual machine instance?

A virtual machine (VM) instance is a computer that you can use without having to buy and install physical hardware. It has the same features as a real machine: CPU processors (cores), memory, network interfaces and storage devices. Virtual machines are very flexible, because they can be created on demand and with different specifications according to your needs. The term "instance" refers to a launched virtual machine, which has its own set of virtual drives, memory, IP address, etc.

What software can run on the VM instances?

Any software and operating system that runs on an x86 64-bit architecture machine should work on the VM instances. You must have any licences required to run the software. Pre-built images for several Linux distributions are available. While it is technically possible to run Microsoft Windows on a NeCTAR virtual machine, you currently need to obtain an appropriate license from Microsoft that allows you to run Windows on VM instances.

Who installs and manages the VM instances?

You have control over everything that runs inside the virtual machine. This also means you are responsible for setting it up and maintaining it, including applying security patches and keeping it secure.

Can you help me with installing software on my VM instance?

No. The running of the operating system and software inside the virtual machine instance is under your control. Please contact your own IT support for assistance. QCIF can help you with the NeCTAR infrastructure that supports the virtual machines, but not with anything inside the virtual machine instance.

How do I create and manage VM instances?

Virtual machine instances can be managed through the NeCTAR Dashboard

For advanced users, there is a programatic API to manage VM instances.

How do I allow my IT staff to work on my VM instances?

If they only need access to the operating system running inside the VM instance, give them access to an account as you normally would.

To give someone access to the NeCTAR Dashboard, you can add them as a member of your project. Click on the "Members" link under the "Manage Project" section at the bottom of the sidebar. If you do not have that section, you are not the owner of the NeCTAR project and cannot add members; please contact your NeCTAR project manager. Please do not give other people the administrative credentials you have been given.

How can I save my VM instance?

You can save your virtual machine instance as a snapshot. A snapshot is essentially a copy of the boot drive of the VM instance. You can then use the snapshot to create one or more new VM instances. Snapshots can be created using the NeCTAR Dashboard.

Where is my VM instance running?

QRIScloud compute VM instances are run by QCIF in the Queensland NeCTAR node. NeCTAR is a national program and there will be several compute nodes around the country. Currently, there are NeCTAR nodes at The University of Queensland, Melbourne University and Monash University.

Although you can run VM instances in any node, to be able to directly access QRIScloud data storage (via NFS) the VM instance must be running in the Queensland node. The Node is specified when the VM instance is created. In the "Launch Instance" dialog, click on the "Availability Zone" tab and choose a Node from the pop-up menu.

How can I move my VM instance to the Queensland node?

In theory, you can snapshot your VM instance and start a new instance from that snapshot in the Queensland (Qld) availability zone. In practice, you might have to make additional changes to the software running inside the VM instance, because the hardware and IP addresses will be different. It is safer to launch the VM instance on the Queensland node, if you know you will be needing direct access to QRIScloud data storage.

Is my VM instance connected to the Internet?

Yes. Your VM instance is directly connected to the Internet. You can run server and client programs on the VM instance.

How secure is the VM instance?

It is your responsibility to operate the VM instance in a secure manner. Minimally, you should apply security patches and run your own firewall.

Can I send email from VM instances?

Yes, but it will have to be relayed through the UQ mail server (smtp.uq.edu.au). Virtual machine instances on the Queensland node are currently subject to The University of Queensland’s Information Technology Services’ (ITS) policy on running email servers. These policies are designed to avoid the UQ IP address range being blacklisted for spam. Connections to other mail servers are not permitted.

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