Swinburne Research Cloud - Quickstart Guide

Welcome! Here we will show you how to quickly get up and running with a basic virtual machine, also referred to as an 'instance', on the Swinburne Research Cloud.

For new users, we recommend following the steps in this guide carefully, using a trial project.

TLDR - What is it the Swinburne Research Cloud?

It is a FREE alternative to commercial clouds, such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, for Australian researchers in astronomy and astrophysics.


The Swinburne Research Cloud is one of the physical nodes of the national Nectar Research Cloud, which is implemented and managed using OpenStack, an open source cloud computing framework.

It is an example of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), providing researchers with on-demand, raw IT infrastructure such as CPUs, networking and storage, in a flexible and scalable manner. In simpler terms: it gives you access to virtual hardware that you can administer in whatever way you choose.

Typical uses include:

  • Deploying compute resources for running simulation and data analysis software.
  • Hosting of websites, databases, web applications and other online resources.
  • Establishing customised access to online data sets and data analysis tools.
  • Hosting of online research tools and domain-specific virtual laboratories.

Trial Project

When first joining, all researchers initially get a trial project with 2 virtual CPUs allocated for 3 months. This means you can run 1 medium or 2 small virtual machines for three months. Or 1 small VM for a total of 6 months.


To get more resources, you need to join a full project or apply for one. Australian Astronomers can request access to resources available only to them on the Swinburne zone. But we recommend going through the steps of launching a simple virtual machine in your trial project before applying.


Other resources

For more information about Nectar go to the Nectar Knowledge Base or visit the Nectar Research Cloud Tutorials. For details about OpenStack go to the OpenStack Docs.

Dedicated astronomy access on the Swinburne cell within the NeCTAR Cloud network is funded by the Astronomy National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) via Astronomy Australia Limited (AAL) with support from Swinburne IT services and the Swinburne node of Astronomy Data and Computing Services (ADACS).