What is Nectar?
The ARDC Nectar Research Cloud is Australia’s national research cloud, providing cloud computing services and tools to Australian researchers.
Nectar launched in 2012 as the first national research cloud designed for Australian researchers, and is used by scientists and researchers throughout Australia, from their offices and homes
Nectar provides Australia’s research community with fast, interactive, self-service access to large-scale computing infrastructure, software and data, and is a powerful platform for collaboration.
Its versatile cloud infrastructure can be used in many different ways to support research, such as a virtual desktop for a single researcher, or a powerful computational server that can be shared by researchers in Australia and internationally.
Nectar is hosted at our partner institutions: The University of Melbourne, Monash University, The Tasmanian Partnership for Advanced Computing (TPAC), Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF), Intersect, Swinburne University and the University of Auckland.
Researchers can access cloud computing resources to meet their varied needs without the need to invest in hardware. Nectar is specifically designed for research computing and has defined and established national research computing standards that enable collaboration on a national and international scale.
How does Nectar help researchers tackle compute and data challenges?
- Connect to a suite of advanced research computing resources directly from your desktop at home or in the office, without the expense, time and effort of procuring your own hardware
- Use a flexible, scalable and innovative world-class service that allows you to customise your computing infrastructure to meet the requirements of your research project
- Share and collaborate nationally and internationally with shared access cross-institutions and via AAF authentication
- Access and rapidly deploy and share research software tools and data
- Scale up compute and storage resources as you need them
- Benefit from centralised support and expert knowledge and continual development of a cloud designed for Australian researchers.
Over one million virtual machines have been spun up in the Nectar cloud by more than 18,000 researchers from all of the main research institutions in Australia and across all categories of research. In the 2019-2020 financial year, we supported 1788 research projects on Nectar.
Discover digital services powered by the ARDC Nectar Research Cloud
The Nectar Research Cloud can also be used to develop and host services, such as databases, data repositories, web services and tools, and large-scale research platforms or virtual research environments.
Currently the Nectar Research Cloud hosts more than 200 digital services that are used by more than 50,000 researchers in Australia and internationally. These services support collaborative research at all scales, from supporting small research groups to multi-institutional international collaborative research projects, and national research services provided by NCRIS capabilities such as AURIN and TERN, as well as ARDC Platforms projects such as Galaxy Australia, EcoCommons and the Secure eResearch Platform (SeRP).
Members of the core services and user support teams
What do researchers say about using the ARDC Nectar Research Cloud?
Nectar is used by researchers from all fields of research. Find out how Nectar is being used, and what researchers are saying about it.
“I research the evolution of stars, so I can run 20 or 30 star models all at once on Nectar, which means I have the power of many laptops or PCs. Parallel work makes a big difference in terms of efficiency, and it’s very user friendly. I can access it all from my laptop, anywhere.”
- Dr Simon Campbell, ARC Future Fellow at Monash University, who is unravelling the origin of the elements in the universe, one ARDC Nectar Research Cloud processor at a time.
"When I started using Nectar I really liked that I could run a whole operating system on the cloud, like another computer, it was all familiar.
“As I've used Nectar over 3 and a half years, I switched my user habits away from using a virtual operating system to using a command line interface, which is writing my own scripts and sending my own jobs, which is the best scenario for using high performance computing.
“This is where Nectar has been invaluable, as it provided a gentle introduction to switch to the world of command line interface."
- Dr Dragan Rangelov, cognitive scientist at the Queensland Brain Institute, is investigating how our brains process complex decisions, with the computing power of the ARDC Nectar Research Cloud.
“The allocation on Nectar was a huge help for our lab. Next-generation sequencing yields huge files, even when compressed. You have to use Linux machines and command line interface to process the data. And that's what Nectar provided—Linux machines with huge computing power and storage capacity.
“The servers are accessible from anywhere, so it is great for collaboration. And our PhD students, including one in Mexico and one in Singapore, are able to work from their homes. The big machine runs the jobs, but the interface is actually on your laptop, so we can communicate through our laptops, which is really convenient. I think that Nectar is brilliant.”
- Dr Alexandra Pavlova, molecular ecologist at Monash University, is number crunching with Nectar to save the Macquarie Perch.