NeCTAR offers eResearch infrastructure in four key areas:

  • Research Cloud
  • Virtual Laboratories
  • eResearch Tools
  • A secure and robust hosting service – the National Servers Program

The research cloud is a computing resource for all Australian researchers. If offers virtual machines where researchers can develop and deploy applications and collaborate in a uniform environment with controlled sharing of data.

Get service

To apply for research cloud access now, e.g. to set up and run a virtual machine, researchers should log in and complete an allocation request via the NeCTAR Dashboard.

NeCTAR provide user guides and support for users here.

Users who require a customised set up, or who fail to get access to the research cloud through the dashboard, are welcome to apply to QCIF directly for an allocation. We are happy to discuss your requirements.

QRIScloud – Virtual machines / research cloud explained

The NeCTAR component of QRIScloud will eventually become a national centre for new information-centric research capabilities. It will significantly simplify the combining of data, computing, and analysis applications, and enable the development of research workflows based on access to multiple resources. The research cloud will provide an open, robust and scalable platform for researchers to deploy, share and manage their research applications.  Building from current data-intensive computing for genomics, and for the ecology research and characterisation communities, QRIScloud will support NeCTAR Virtual Laboratories and Research Tools in these areas.  It will extend the application of its expertise to other fields to develop and support cross-institution and cross-disciplinary collaboration, providing access to applications and facilities for data-intensive “connected researchers” in a broad range of disciplines.
Getting a VM– the process (non-standard)

  • Researcher logs in to the NeCTAR dashboard and fills in an allocation request. QCIF’s team of eResearch Analysts can help you complete your application. Your application will be emailed to NeCTAR for initial assessment.
  • See the NeCTAR pages for what happens next.

Not sure if the cloud is for you? Talk to QCIF’s team of eResearch Analysts about how the cloud can help you with your research.

QCIF will manage the node to ensure it is sustainable well beyond the life of the initial NeCTAR project.


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Access the QRIScloud support portal here.


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


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.


I have a question that is not answered here.

Please contact QCIF

All Collections

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Project Title Allocated storage (TB) Storage used (TB) FoR
Stemformatics Normalised Datasets and UCSC Tracks 1.5 0.93 6
Paper Miner: Geo-Temporal indexes for Australian Newspapers Online. 4 0.86 21
All future climate layers for Australia – 5km, 1km and 250m resolution 45 29.18 6
The Global Reef Record 40 28.63 6
Queensland Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) Airborne, Mobile and Terrestrial Laser Scanning imagery and Ortho-rectified Photography 80 71.33 12
Keppel Islands reefs mapping data 2008 – 2010 0.02 0.02 5
eResearch Australasia conference recordings, 2010-2012 0.2 0.15 8
Lambert Ancient and Modern DNA Sequence Collections and Analyses 50 35.82 21
QUT Science and Engineering Centre Structure Instrumentation Project 1 1.50 12
QUT Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation Collaboration Space 20 0.17 9
Plant Genomics Sequence Data. Transcriptome, amplicon and genomics data generated for various plant species using next generation sequencing. 25 36.77 6
TERN AusCover satellite remote sensing data products 20 6.55 5
Normative MRI based phenotypic models of morphological structure. 6 6.00 1
Landsat data and processing pipeline 6 0.00 5
EPR and its Application to Structural Chemistry and Biology 0.5 0.00 3
TerraNova - Climate Change Adaptation Information Hub 100 0.80 4
ShoreView continuous geo-referenced imagery and data 1 0.00 5
Coral community data of the Wide Bay - Burnett coastal fringing reefs main study 0.01 0.01 6
Quadrant data store 0.02 0.53 15
Historical coastlines (community perspectives) : manuscript and images archive 0.0002 0.00 21
Coral community data of coastal fringing reefs : pilot study 0.0003 0.00 6
Next Generation Sequence Data for Non-model organisms 0.8 0.07 6
Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory 100 0.00 4
Plants of Central Queensland Images Archive 0.0002 0.04 6
UQx Online 2.5 0.00 13
ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP) 150 94.12 2
Blast Formatted NGS Data for tagdb 10 8.75 6
Genomics Virtual Lab Galaxy Service 100 0.45 6
Anthropology Museum Digital Storage 1 0.59 16
ARCS - Data Fabric Archive 42 16.28 8
UCSC ENCODE Genome data set 80 17.81 6
Breast Cancer database 40 15.30 11
MangroveWatch Coastal Habitat Assessment & Monitoring Portal (CHAMP). A database of geotagged aerial and parallel shoreline video imagery and shoreline habitat condition assessment. 20 10.03 5
Chickpea Gbrowse data 0.5 0.01 6
Plant NGS Data - MISEQ 0.6 0.00 6
Wallace Initiative v1.0: Current and projected species and biodiversity distribution maps for ~50,000 global terrestrial species (Avian, Reptiles, Amphibians, Mammals and Plants) for 6 emission scenarios, 7 global circulation models and 3 time slices (2020, 2050 and 2080) - 50km resolution 15 0.71 5
Wallace Initiative v2.0: Current and project species and biodiversity distribution maps for ~85,000 global species (marine & terrestrial) for 9 emission scenarios, 18 global circulation models and 8 decadal time slices - 10km resolution Note: Wallace Initiative v2.0 does not exist yet – as space for storage of the information is needed before it is possible to generate this information. 35 3.23 5
Genetic regulation of red blood cell formation in mice 0.1 12.54 6
QCIF Data Collections Specialist test space 1 1.36 8
OwnCloud Evaluation 4 0.06 8
Solomon Islands History 0.065 0.11 21
Climate Change impact assessments 100 18.54 5
Weather models 25 11.06 5
CTBCC geospatial data 50 39.15 5
Marxan software archive 0.5 0.00 5
Storm Surge Risk Scenarios for the East Coast of Queensland 10.5 2.63 5
Molecular Dynamics Simulations 5 9.78 11
Leukoseq: A targeted genome sequencing cohort analysis of paediatric leukodystrophy 60 54.86 6
CMLR Data Centre 1 0.02 5
EDGAR - Current and Future Distribution Models for Australian Bird Species + CliMAS - Climate Maps for Australian Species 12 0.00 5
Acoustic Workbench 50 29.56 5
Next-generation sequencing of COLO-829 tumour/normal melanoma cell line pair. 5 0.00 6
Novel Strategies for the Prediction and Control of Advanced Breast Cancer via nanoscaled Epigenetic-Based Biosensors 20 1.38 11
Marine Genomics: sea sponge and other invertebrate genomic resources for the Great Barrier Reef 10 8.75 6
Bush.fm - Environmental acoustic data set from the Australian Supersite Network 10 0.03 5
Selected Queensland Historical Aerial Photos. Sediment Budget Modelling Primary Data. Bank Erosion Research Geotechnical Field Data. Satellite imagery. 50 14.77 4
High resolution ocean modelling for South-east Queensland 2 10.63 4
Semaphore N20 Data 0.01 0.00 5
Acoustic surveys for Assa darlingtoni and Philoria spp. (Anura: Myobatrachidae) in eastern Australia. 25 3.41 5
ECAPS 3 0.49 13
Crop Trait Mining Informatics Platform 10 0.00 7
1 second SRTM Derived Digital Elevation Models (DEM) 0.5 0.47 5
3D wave-seabed-structure interaction (3D WSSI) 2 0.00 9
Oral cancer massively parallel sequencing data 10 0.00 11
EBI Mirror 75 0.51 6
USC testing 0.1 8


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                 QRIScloud services       Collections list      Case studies     Support       

QRIScloud is a large-scale cloud computing and data storage service designed to stimulate and accelerate research use of computing across all disciplines.  It is an integral part of a national network of research computing infrastructure designed to provide researchers with access to high-speed, high-capacity computing services.  

Using QRIScloud researchers can economically compute using large virtual clusters, host web services, store research datasets up to ‘Big Data’ sizes, share existing data collections across research communities and enhance collaboration with other researchers nationally and internationally. Institutions can focus on their key research innovations knowing that compute power is readily available and that data generated by their researchers are stored in a safe and easily accessible location.

About QRIScloud

QRIScloud is the Queensland node of both the Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI) project (Data Collections) and the national research cloud provided by the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR) (Virtual Machines) project. It is managed by QCIF and operated through the University of Queensland and James Cook University.

QCIF manages the node to ensure that data storage is sustainable well beyond the life of the RDSI project, federal funding for which ceases in 2014, and the initial NeCTAR project.