Server Hosting - On Premise

The University provides researchers access to enterprise, on premise virtual hosting of servers - Virtual Machines (VMs). VMs behave as separate computer systems providing researchers the same functionality as physical computers without the need to house and maintain a myriad of different types of isolated and siloed physical computers, running software applications and operating systems.

VMs are provisioned in OpenStack or VMware technologies available on enterprise, physical host servers that are located onsite. The VMs are designed with researchers and purpose built to directly meet the specific computational needs of their research project.

OpenStack provides researchers with an open and unrestricted virtual server hosting platform while VMware provides an environment that allows researchers to be supported by technical experts in the management of their VMs.

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  • Who can use on premise VMs?

    Academic Staff

    On Premise Server Hosting is largely utilised by Researchers for approved University of Adelaide research data processing.

    HDR Students

    Higher Degree Research Students can utilise On Premise Server Hosting under the approval and supervision of their supervisor.

    Teaching Purposes (students)

    There may be situations where a student may need to use VMs to process large data sets for their university learning. This would need to be planned and approved by the relevant academic staff and costs incorporated into the teaching program.

    For teaching purposes it is recommended that RONIN be used to quickly spin up a VM environment as this is more cost effective and timely in the scenario where VMs are only required for a short period of time and will be shut down when they are no longer required.

    Costs for RONIN need to be included in school/faculty budgets as usage is charged directly to the relevant school or faculty. Visit the RONIN page for more information.

  • Who is responsible for on premise VMs?

    There are multiple layers of responsibility for the on premise VMs.

    Users of VMs

    When you agree to use on premise VMs, you must ensure your use is for University of Adelaide purposes, unless you have prior approval from the Division of Research and Innovation allocation team. All users of VMs are required to clean and maintain their own data that is analysed or hosted on their VMs. VMs are designed to support long term research projects that require intensive computational activities or when data is to be collected and made available data for collaboration purposes. They do not provide a solution for long term storage of research data.

    Business Owner

    For governance, approvals, investment in or feedback, please contact Information Technology and Digital Services.

    Service Owner

    If you are experiencing  having issues with the technology infrastructure of your VM on premise server hosting, eg if it is not working or you cannot access it, you should contact the Information Technology and Digital Services Service Desk (see below for contact details).

  • Features and benefits

    OpenStack

    The University OpenStack environment provides the Research community with a self-managed, on-demand service to deploy virtual research compute environments. This environment suits the researcher that has strong technology skills and experience in administering and managing operating systems.

    The platform provides researchers with the tools to control their compute, network and storage services without the need of specialist IT administrative resources. Researchers either manage their VMs through a web-based dashboard, command-line tools, or through RESTful web services. Researchers are responsible for managing any operating system updates and patching of their environments.

    The OpenStack environment provides researchers with the ability to:

    • Directly configure and self-manage their server environment without the need of a systems administrator
    • Set up virtual servers using different operating systems (see technical details)
    • Setup virtual servers that suit their computational research requirements
    • Provision storage using NFS shares inside Manila
    • Setup small to medium virtual servers.

    VMware

    The University VMWare environment provides an enterprise level compute environment for applications that require high-availability and security. Services deployed to this environment are generally not compute intensive, such as tools used for data acquisition and publication. Machines deployed to this environment usually run managed RedHat Enterprise Linux or Windows operating systems and are regularly patched by University Infrastructure teams. Users have limited access to self-manage compute resources deployed to this environment.

    This environment is for researchers who do not have experience in administering and managing operating systems and can rely on the support of technology experts to assist as required.

    The VMWare environment provides researchers with the ability to:

    • Host web applications with a database back-end
    • Set up VMs using either Redhat Enterprise Linux and Windows server  operating systems
    • Set up VMs based on their compute needs (small to medium size only)
    • Have support from technical resources for the maintenance and management at the operating system level including user access if required.
  • Technical details

    The physical infrastructure for both VMware and OpenStack environments are located onsite, within the University data centre.

    In OpenStack, researchers can provision a private operating system image if this better suits their needs or leverage the University provided images which include:

    • rhel-server-8.0
    • windows-server-2016
    • rhel-server-7.5-x86_64
    • centos-server-7-1805
    • fedora-cloudbase-28
    • ubuntu-server-18.04-lts
    • centos-atomic-host-7
    • ubuntu-server-17.10
    • ubuntu-server-16.04-lts
    • rhel-server-7.4-x86_64
    • centos-server-7-1801

    For more information and to better understand how researchers can use and configure OpenStack see the OpenStack wiki located at https://wiki.adelaide.edu.au/hpc/OpenStack/UsingOpenStack. Further details are also available at https://www.openstack.org/.

    With VMs provisioned in VMware researchers need to define clearly their needs so that the technology team can design and setup and provision the VM that is ready to be used for them and their nominated users.

  • How much does it cost?

    Currently the provisioning and use of small to medium size VMs for researchers in either OpenStack or VMWare does not incur any costs or ongoing charges.

  • How can I access on premise server hosting?

    To discuss your requirements, to receive advice on suitable options, or to request a VM, contact the Service Desk, providing the following details:

    1. Details of who will own the VM and the research area and/or associated project
    2. Key contact details for the VM
    3. How many users require access
    4. The expected life span of the VM
    5. When the VM needs to be provisioned by
    6. The expected usage profile for the VM i.e. how you intend to use it, how many users and the main reason/purpose including the anticipated processing needs.
    7. Desired memory allocation (RAM)
    8. Desired CPU allocation if known
    9. Data storage requirements. Also indicate the amount of expected data to be stored including rough outline of the data to be processed.
    10. Types of applications to be running in the VM
    11. Indicate if the VM will be self-managed or you would prefer a managed environment
  • Additional support

    Contact Details

    Email: ITDS Service Desk servicedesk@adelaide.edu.au

    Tel: +61 8 8313 3000

    Technical support is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

    Wiki Page

    The OpenStack wiki is located at https://wiki.adelaide.edu.au/hpc/OpenStack/UsingOpenStack.