With the HPC Cloud facility, SURFsara offers self-service, dynamically scalable and fully configurable HPC systems to the Dutch academic community. Users have, for example, a free choice of operating system and software.

The HPC Cloud offers full control over a HPC cluster, with fast CPUs and high memory nodes and it is possible to attach terabytes of local storage to a compute node. Because of this flexibility, users can fully tailor the system for a particular application. Long-running and small compute jobs are equally welcome. Additionally, the system facilitates collaboration: users can share control over their virtual private HPC cluster with other users and share processing time, data and results. A portal with wiki, fora, repositories, issue system, etc. is offered for collaboration projects as well.

HPC Cloud characteristics

Virtual own HPC cluster

With the High Performance Computing (HPC) Cloud system, researchers can build their own (private) HPC cluster. It is a virtualized HPC cluster that users can configure to match their needs, without interfering with the needs of others. It is flexible (self-service) and dynamically scalable. The owner of the cluster can share it with others to enable researching collaboratively.

Dynamically scalable HPC on the cloud

HPC on the cloud brings scalable compute clusters within the reach of scientists for whom other HPC facilities are not an option. Within the HPC Cloud, scientists can use a computing environment that fits their needs. They can deploy the same tools they may already have in their own testing facilities, tools they are familiar with, against which they may already have developed programs, and scale that configuration to produce their end results.


The provided flexibility enables new modes of high performance computing. Usage patterns that were hard to realize previously, because of legacy software, security concerns, or source code unavailability, can now be accommodated with a customized cloud solution, tailored to the specific purposes of the scientific end-user. In short, a virtual private HPC cluster gives academic research communities the flexibility they need.

SURFsara's HPC Cloud service

SURFsara developed the HPC cloud service for the BiG Grid project which ended in December 2012. From 2013 the HPC Cloud services have been taken over and offered by SURFsara, as part of the Dutch national e-infrastructure. With the HPC Cloud, users get access to self-service and dynamically scalable high performance computing facilities.

How to use the HPC Cloud?

Users can start from existing templates (images), or build their own cluster from scratch. It is possible to make a copy from their current IT software environment (for example their laptop or desktop PC) and turn that into a running HPC cluster in our HPC Cloud. In that way, there will hardly be any difference between their development environment and their production environment. There is no need for an (expensive) rewrite of their software, and scientific challenges can be scaled up very easily from desktop scale to HPC cluster scale.

Access the HPC Cloud

More information can be found on the "Obtain an account" page.