Structure and terminology

The essence of Research Cloud is that users can run compute Resources (like Virtual Machines) on a cloud system. The compute resources are turn-key configured according to catalog items that are offered in Research Cloud's catalog. A catalog item that is selected and started, results in a Workspace - an actual Resource that can be logged into and that can be used. Technically, the Research Cloud catalog consists of three main components:

  • Components

  • Catalog items

  • Cloud providers


A component is one script (typically an Ansible Playbook) that realizes a particular feature in a workspace. This feature might be OS-related, like an alternative login method. Or a component might, for instance, install a particular software package.

Catalog item

A catalog item is a sequence of components that are run in a given order when a workspace is created.

Cloud providers

Cloud providers embody the right to deploy resources/workspaces on a particular cloud through particular (but undisclosed) credentials. Public cloud providers can be added to all catalog items, the access for a user depends on the products in the budget in their wallets. SURF can add access to a private cloud providers.