Federated Cloud user support

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Overview For users For resource providers Infrastructure status Innovation roadmap



Technical consultancy and support is available via the EGI.eu Support Team

The EGI Cloud federation is an hybrid, Infrastructure as a Service cloud composed by public, community and private cloud. The clouds are federated with the use of the 'EGI Core Infrastructure Platform', offering a scalable compute and storage infrastructure for scientific applications, services, workloads. The main capabilities of the system are:

Elastic computing infrastructure.
Execute compute and data intensive workloads (both batch and interactive), host long-running services (e.g. web servers, databases or applications servers), or create disposable testing and development environments in VMs and containers. Scale your application or service within a single provider, or across multiple providers of the federation (within providers of your virtual organisation). Select VM configurations (CPU, memory, disk) and ready-to-deploy application VMs that best fit your needs.
VM image sharing and distribution
Easily share and distribute customised VM images to multiple clouds via the open 'Applications Database' library of Virtual Appliances. Community curated VMs and VM appliances are securely and automatically replicated across the infrastructure. The EGI User Community Support Team provides generic, baseline VM images, user communities can offer more specialised VMs and applications.
Unified view of federation
The EGI Cloud provides: Single sing-on (SSO) for authentication and authorisation across all resource providers; Federated accounting with an integrated view of the the resource and service usage; Distributed information system for delivering a real-time view of the capabilities; and Federated monitoring to compute metrics for availability and reliability of the services.
Beyond VMs
Run docker applications on the EGI resources; Use one of the already integrated PaaS and SaaS solution; Follow our user guides to deploy Hadoop, Docker Swarm, to access Object Storage and many more...

Access modes

EGI Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Cloud Resources can be accessed through 'Virtual Organizations' (VOs). A VO is a grouping of IaaS cloud provider from the EGI federation, who allocate capacity for a specific user group. Users with similar interest/requirements can join or form a VO to gather resources from EGI cloud providers - typically for a given project, experiment or use case. There are generic VOs too, for example the 'fedcloud.egi.eu' VO, which is open for any user who wants to experiment with the EGI Federated Cloud. You have to join a VO before you can interact with EGI IaaS cloud resources, while higher level services (PaaS, SaaS) do not always require VO membership.

VO membership is controlled in EGI by X.509 certificates. To access the EGI IaaS cloud you need to:

  1. Obtain a personal X.509 access certificate from a recognised Certification Authority (unless you have one already).
  2. Join an existing VO, or form a VO if none of the existing ones suit your purpose"
    1. The fedcloud.egi.eu Virtual Organisation serves as a test ground for users to try the EGI cloud and to prototype and validate applications. It can be used for up to 6 month by any new user.
    2. You can search for and join other established VOs. (Filter for 'cloud' in the middleware column)

IaaS cloud resources can expose two types of interfaces towards users (one or the other or both - depending on the cloud provider):

The user can interact with IaaS cloud resources via programming APIs, command line interfaces or Web dashboards. The different access modes are summarized in the following table:

Open Standards interface OpenStack interface
API level access OCCI OpenStack Compute && Openstack Object Storage
Command Line access rOCCI-cli OpenStack CLI with VOMS authentication plugin
Web dashboard access AppDB VMOps Dashboard (in final test) OpenStack Horizon (production instance under deployment)

Typical usage models with examples

The flexibility of the Infrastructure as a Service EGI cloud can benefit various use cases and usage models. Besides serving compute/data intensive analysis workflows, Web services and interactive applications can be also integrated with and hosted on this infrastructure. Contextualisation and other deployment features can help application operators fine tune services in the cloud, meeting software (OS and software packages), hardware (number of cores, amount of RAM, etc.) and other types of needs (e.g. orchestration, scalability).

Since the opening of the EGI Federated Cloud, the following typical usage models have emerged:

A theoretical setup combining multiple usage models:


User guides

User authentication and Virtual Organisations

EGI provides users with a single sign-on mechanism to access the services of the federated cloud. The single sign-on mechanism is based on X.509 certificates and Virtual Organisations (VOs). Before using EGI Federated Cloud IaaS service you will need to:

  1. Obtain a personal X.509 access certificate from a recognised Certification Authority (unless you have one already).
  2. Join an existing VO, or form a VO if none of the existing ones suit your purpose"
    1. The fedcloud.egi.eu Virtual Organisation serves as a test ground for users to try the EGI cloud and to prototype and validate applications. It can be used for up to 6 month by any new user.
    2. You can search for and join other established VOs. (Filter for 'cloud' in the middleware column)


Creating your first VM - Instantiate an exiting image

The basic user workflow for starting a Virtual Machine (VM) looks like this:

  1. Browse in the Application Database Cloud Marketplace the available Virtual Appliances. Virtual Appliances are the templates for the root volume of the running instances (Operating System and applications). EGI offers a set of basic images with minimal configuration that can get you started easily, but you can also find complete application stacks. See for example these images:
  2. Read the description of the appliance for information on how to use it and connect to it once started.
  3. Get the IDs for starting the appliance at one of the sites supporting it in the "Availability and Usage" tab.
  4. Get the command line client to start the VM using the IDs from previous step
  5. Connect to VM and start using it

Check out these tutorial slides for a practical overview of these steps.

Advanced topics

API and SDKs access to Federated Cloud resources

Besides the command line client, there are several APIs and SDK ready to be used with the EGI Federated Cloud.Preferred API for EGI federated cloud is OCCI, which can be accesses using using a command-line client (rOCCI), high-level tools or directly implementing the ‘Open Cloud Computing Interface’ (OCCI) into your environment. OpenStack Nova API is also available for OpenStack sites belonging to the Federation.

A crash course on how to use programming interfaces of the EGI Federated Cloud, and how these APIs can be used to integrate high-level systems with it is available here. Please check the EGI Federated Cloud for developers guide for details on how to use them.


Every instantiated VM has some disk space provided with it, if you need more storage or need to share data, you can use a cloud storage solution. There are two kind of services: Block Storage and Object Storage. Check the EGI Federated Cloud Storage How To for more information.

Distributed data management with the EGI OpenData platform

The EGI OpenData platform is a solution allowing integration of various data repositories available in a distributed infrastructure, offering the capability to make data open, and link them to key open data catalogues following respective guidelines. The core enabling technology of OpenData platform is Onedata, a data management solution that allows a seamless and optimised access to data spread over a distributed infrastructure. Instructions on how to setup a OneData deployment in the EGI Federated Cloud are available here.

Docker containers, Docker Swarm

You can run your docker applications on EGI's Cloud. EGI also provides a docker image with the clients so you can test them easily.

High level tools: Orchestrators, Platforms/Software as a Service

Read this guidance about strategies of porting applications to the EGI Federated Cloud. The guide also includes references to high level user environments (orchestrators, Platform/Software as a Service) that can simplify the application integration and operation process for you. These environments offer high level abstractions and services on top of the baseline 'Infrastructure as a Service' cloud.

Running Hadoop applications

Using a WS-PGRADE gateway that is connected to the EGI Federated cloud, it is possible to deploy Hadoop clusters on EGI Federated Cloud resources, to execute Hadoop applications on those clusters and finally to release resources after application execution. The concept is outlined on these PPT slides. A user manual is available here (v1.3).

GPGPUs (pre-production!)

PRE-PRODUCTION GPGPUs-enabled cloud resources are available in selected sites of the EGI Federated Cloud. Check the GPGPU guide on FedCloud for details on how to access them.

Customized Virtual Appliances

You can prepare fully customised Virtual Appliances and deploy them to the sites:

  1. Prepare Virtual Machine Images (VMIs) that encapsulate your application. See the application porting tutorial for tips.
  2. Make the VMI available online, for example in the EGI Appliance Repository
  3. Register the VMIs as Virtual Appliances in the EGI Applications Database (for howto please click here)
  4. Once your VA is published (see howto here),inform the Manager of your VO through Applications Database about it (see howto here). He/she will include your images in the VO-wide image list, so these will be deployed on the Federated Cloud sites of your VO.

Running Galaxy Workflows with EC3

Using the EC3 open-source software platform, users can deploy elastic clusters on demand and dynamically deploy complex scientific virtual computing infrastructures on top of Infrastructure as a Service Clouds. More details on how to use Galaxy workflows on the platform are described in this wiki. Please check the Galaxy workflows in EGI with EC3 guide for further details.

How SMEs Can Use EGI's Cloud for Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE)

Please check how SMEs can use Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) in the EGI Federated Cloud, with the example of OpenFOAM software containers.

Useful resources

User support

Technical support

Users' technical support is provided via the EGI support contact.


Technical problems and questions relating to the use of the EGI Federated Cloud can be reported and dealt with through the EGI Helpdesk ticketing system.

Note: Please choose 'Federated cloud' in the 'Type of problem' field of the ticket submission form!

Feedback and open issues

A list of open-issue and feedbacks reported by the FedCloud users is available at this page.

Technical background

Cloud providers in the EGI Federated Cloud use hardware virtualization technologies to host software on their resources. The cloud management platforms that make this possible can vary from site to site, but they all enable the provisioning of virtualized computing, storage and networking resources, thus they empower scientific groups to setup and operate domain specific services, applications and simulations on these resources. Read more about the technology that drives the Federated Cloud.

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