Research PortalRapid Access Service

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Any Compute Canada user can access modest quantities of compute, storage and cloud resources as soon as they have a Compute Canada account. This Rapid Access Service (RAS)  allows users to experiment and to start working right away. Many research groups can meet their needs through using the Rapid Access Service only. Users requiring larger resource quantities can apply to one of our annual Resource Allocation Competitions (RAC).

Please consult the Compute Canada Technical Glossary if you have questions about any of the terminology used in the page below. General questions can be emailed at any time to rac@computecanada.ca.  
    

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Batch Computational Resources

Compute Canada operates large shared computing facilities on which we schedule computational “jobs” via a priority-setting mechanism known as “fair share”. Each year we allocate roughly 80% of the available compute cycles via formal Resource Allocation Competitions and leave roughly 20% for the Rapid Access Service.

Unlike a resource allocation granted through the RAC process, the Rapid Access Service is not a guaranteed allocation of certain computational resources. It is a shared pool of unallocated resources. These resources are available for “opportunistic use” to anyone with an active Compute Canada account.  The best way to use these resources is by using the system regularly.

Rapid Access Service on National Systems
National Compute System Location Type of System Availability
Cedar Simon Fraser University Heterogeneous, general-purpose cluster:
• Serial and small parallel jobs
• GPU and big memory nodes
• Small cloud partition
Spring 2017
Graham University of Waterloo Heterogeneous, general-purpose cluster:
• Serial and small parallel jobs
• GPU and big memory nodes
• Small cloud partition
Spring 2017
Niagara University of Toronto Homogeneous, large parallel cluster

• Large parallel jobs

• No GPU

• No cloud partition

Winter 2018
Arbutus University of Victoria Heterogeneous IaaS Cloud

· Persistent virtual machines (web servers, portals, database servers)

· Compute/batch virtual machines for computationally intensive workloads

Now
Rapid Access Service on Legacy Systems

The number of core-years available for opportunistic use on legacy systems is set by local system policies. More information on those systems can be found here: 

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Storage Resources

Users can access a variety of storage types, with no requirement to apply to a Resource Allocation Competition:

  • /SCRATCH:  This filesystem, available on compute nodes, is composed of high-performance storage used during computational jobs. Data should be copied to scratch, then removed from scratch once job execution is complete. Scratch storage is usually subject to periodic “cleaning” (or purging) according to local system policies.
  • /HOME:  The home directory is persistent, smaller than scratch and, in most systems, backed up regularly. It is visible to all nodes in a given cluster and commonly used for storage of user’s personal files, executable programs, job execution scripts, and input data.
  • /PROJECT: The project filesystem is of medium performance disk. This filesystem is larger in available storage than a home directory and, in most systems, backed up regularly. This filesystem is generally used to store frequently-used project data.
  • /NEARLINE: The nearline filesystem is made up of medium to low performance storage in very high capacity. This filesystem should be used for storage of data that is infrequently accessed that needs to be kept for long periods of time. This is not true archival storage in that the datasets are still considered “active”.

The National Data Cyberinfrastructure (NDC) is being deployed at 4 sites, associated with 4 new compute facilities. Through the Rapid Access Service, you have access to the following storage resources, without a Resource Allocation Competition allocation, in Cedar, Graham, and Niagara (quotas are per system):

Storage Type Who can request Space Quota # of Files Quota
NA Space Available, by Default Maximum available via RAS, by request
/HOME NA 50GB per user NA 500K per user
/SCRATCH Any CC user 20TB per user 100TB per user 1M per user
/PROJECT PI only 1TB per Group 10TB per group (Cedar & Graham);

1TB per group (Niagara)

5M per group
/NEARLINE PI only NA 5TB per group none

These resources will remain available to you as long as you have an active Compute Canada account.

To request an increased storage space, please contact support@computecanada.ca .

The table above is intended for groups that do not have a Resource Allocation Competition storage allocation. If you need more storage than is available via the Rapid Access Service in the table above, you should apply for storage via our Resource Allocation Competitions. Note: /HOME and /SCRATCH are not generally allocated through RAC.

Storage on Legacy Systems

Compute Canada runs a number of legacy storage systems across the country. The amount of storage available without a Resource Allocation Competition allocation on each system is set by local system policies. These are documented on the regional websites linked from the Compute Canada wiki.

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Cloud Resources

There are two types of cloud resources available via the Rapid Access Service:

  • Compute: These are instances that have a limited life-time and typically have constant high-CPU requirements. They are sometimes referred to as ‘batch’ instances. Users may need a large number of compute instances for production activities.
  • Persistent: These are instances that are meant to run indefinitely and would include web servers, database servers, etc. In general, these use less CPU power than compute instances (ie. the nodes are “oversubscribed”).

If you need more resources than what is listed below, you must apply through our Resource Allocation Competitions.

Compute Cloud

Principal Investigators can request a Compute Cloud RAS allocation by sending an email to support@computecanada.ca.  

Compute Cloud – Max Allowed
VCPUs Instances Volumes Volume snapshots RAM (MB) Floating IP Total size of Volumes and Snapshots (GB) Default renewal Maximum duration
80 20 2 2 307200 2 1000 April 1 month
Persistent Cloud
  • Principal Investigators can request a Persistent Cloud RAS allocation by sending an email to support@computecanada.ca.  
  • These instances are intended for groups that do not have a RAC award on the cloud.
  • Although the default duration of these instances is 1 year, every year, at the end of the expiry period, PIs can request to renew their quota for another period. There is no maximum number of periods for renewal of RAS persistent cloud quotas, but this does not mean that these resources are guaranteed: resources are subject to the state of Compute Canada’s cyberinfrastructure at the time and its ability to meet the demand.
Persistent Cloud – Max Allowed
VCPUs Instances Volumes Volume snapshots RAM (MB) Floating IP Cloud storage (GB) Default renewal
10 5 5 5 45000 2 1000 *April

*Note about the duration and renewal of RAS cloud instances

The duration of the RAS compute cloud and persistent cloud instances are aligned with the start and end dates of the RAC allocations. This means that:

  1. RAS cloud requests made between May and December will expire in April of the following year and therefore will have a duration of 1 year or less for the first year of the request. If renewed, the duration for subsequent years will be of 1 year. For example, if you submitted your request in August 1, 2017, your RAS cloud instance will expire in April 2018 (8 months by the end of April 2018), at which time you can request a renewal for an additional year. If renewed, your instance will be extended until April 2019.
  2. RAS cloud requests made between January and April will expire in April of the following year and will therefore have a duration of more than 1 year for the first year of the request. If renewed, the duration for subsequent years will be of 1 year. For example, if you submitted your request in February 1, 2017, your RAS cloud instance will expire in April 2018 (14 months by the end of April 2018), at which time you can request a renewal for an additional year. If renewed, your instance will be extended until April 2019.

To renew your RAS cloud quota, please send an email to support@computecanada.ca

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