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Cloud computing

Our cloud computing environments are Infrastructure-as-a-Service clouds, meaning that users are given access to computing resources that allow you to launch and configure virtual machines (VMs) at any time. Cloud computing resources:

  • Are a flexible solution for more customized project needs.
  • Let you set up a virtual server that can be used for whatever you want, whenever you want.
  • Do require more technical skill to setup and maintain.

Cloud computing storage

Cloud computing storage is available for researchers using Alliance cloud computing instances. This type of storage makes your data accessible to the cloud virtual machine resources you've set up for your research.

  • Can store up to 30TB per research group in a default allocation.
  • Data is automatically backed up nightly.
  • Service is located in secure data centres at UVic.
  • Used for research data used with a cloud computing project.
  • Requires a system administrator to set-up and maintain.
  • Multiple types of storage to choose from.


Cloud computing resources are available to all Canadian researchers with an Alliance account and an approved cloud project. You need a faculty or principal investigator role to apply for a cloud project.

We put together resource page that covers Alliance account creation, explains user roles, and cloud project applications. Your cloud project will be set up on a cloud like Arbutus, a dedicated research cloud hosted at UVic.


Cloud computing resources are free for all Canadian researchers with a cloud project. You'll be assigned your default allocation of resources when your cloud project is approved. These resources include:

  • (virtual) CPUs/GPUs,IP addresses, and RAM to create different virtual machines (VMs).
  • 10TB storage quota.

You can create as many VMs as your resource allocation allows. If your project needs additional resources, you can submit an application to the resource allocation competition (RAC). We put together some resources to help you with your RAC application.


Setting up cloud computing requires a system administrator with Linux and Windows knowledge to set-up and maintain. Configuration for use has several prerequisites:

The Alliance support wiki covers a variety of cloud computing support topics.


Technical support for cloud computing is provided through the Alliance. Your support ticket might be resolved by research computing staff from other Canadian universities.

For more tech support topics, see the Alliance tech support wiki page.

Commercial cloud

If you're looking for alternatives to the Alliance cloud computing resources, there are some commercial cloud computing options available as well.

We strongly recommend planning a consultation with us before choosing a commercial cloud platform. There may be more sustainable options available for you to use for free.

Limitations of commercial cloud

  • Our UVic team can't provide any technical support.
  • Costs are difficult to predict and change frequently, so you may run out of free credits quickly.
  • Terms of use may change with little warning.
  • Can't guarantee data storage in Canada.

Here are some of the commercial cloud platforms offering free or subsidized resources for academic researchers in Canada: