VirDir replacement for the new HPC Cloud


You may have used the VirDir network disk in the old HPC Cloud for different reasons:

Because the new HPC Cloud will not have a VirDir, you probably need a replacement with at least the same functionality and performance of the old VirDir.

This section describes how to get the same functionality on the new HPC Cloud.

Sharing files with multiple virtual machines

You can share files with multiple virtual machines by setting up a File Server.


The VirDir was offered to users for various reasons. The most important reason for having a VirDir was because the HPC Cloud team found that sharing files through NFS, on a virtual disk image, which itself resides on an NFS volume, had too many layers, and as a consequence, did not have enough performance. With the current setup, users can install their own file server, while the underlying architecture is no longer a bottleneck.

For sharing files with other Linux systems, you should use an NFS or NFS4 file server; the section NFS describes how.

For sharing files between Windows systems, you can use the Windows file sharing.

For sharing files between Linux systems and Windows systems, you should set up an SMB server.

Automatic backup of files

The current HPC Cloud no longer offers an automatic backup service. For long-term storage of important files, we recommend using the SURFsara central archive.

Storing many files reliably

The current HPC Cloud offers two storage types: Ceph and SSD. Data stored on Ceph is replicated, to protect against data loss in case of hardware failure. We recommend that you keep your operating images small, and store your bulk data on Ceph datablocks.

Ceph datablocks are used as local disks on virtual machines. Unlike the VirDir, they can be partitioned and formatted in any file system type, so they can be used on Linux or Windows systems, with full control of permissions and ownership of files.

Direct access to your files using SFTP

The current HPC Cloud no longer offers direct access to your files. To access your files through SFTP, scp or rsync, set up a File Server.

Uploading and downloading of virtual machine disk images

The current HPC Cloud management interface now offers uploading virtual disk images either by uploading disk images directly, or specifying a URL from which to obtain a disk image.

To upload an image:

  1. Go to the Virtual Resources page
  2. Select Images
  3. Click on the green plus (+) button
  4. Fill out the name and type of your disk image
  5. At image location provide either:
    • a path; this is a url to an image; after selecting Create, the image will be downloaded from a remote website.
    • upload; this allows you to select a file from your local system to be uploaded

To download an image:

Currently, downloading virtual disk images is not possible from the User Interface.