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Cloud Overview

What is CREATE Cloud?

CREATE Cloud is a private cloud infrastructure built using OpenStack. Many readers will now be familar with platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. OpenStack provides us with a similar experience while using hardware owned and operated by King's. For those less familiar with cloud computing, the approach provides users with graphical and programatic interfaces for setting up their compute instances (virtual machines), storage and networking on a per project basis.

Who is CREATE Cloud for?

CREATE Cloud is a resource for all research at King's. However, OpenStack is a powerful tool that does require a sufficient level of technical experience to ensure it is weilded safely and in-line with the Code of Connection. To broaden the platform's reach and impact e-Research is working towards:

  • Self-service automation for deployment of secure managed setups (e.g. "get me a server" button).
  • Delivery of user training sessions for CREATE Cloud setup of common application stacks.
  • Growth of the Research Software Engineering function to develop projects hosted on CREATE Cloud in collaboration with research groups.

What is CREATE Cloud good for?

  • Hosting persistent applications e.g. web applications, APIs, databases.
  • Hosting development environments where you require administrative privileges e.g. root access on a Linux virtual machine.
  • Hosting research projects which process sensitive data (see CREATE Trusted Research Environment).

What is CREATE Cloud not so good for?

Basic web sites

CREATE Cloud can host all manner of web stacks. However, there's a high level of systems administration and risk involved that is almost certainly best avoided if your needs are quite basic. To cater for more common needs we provide CREATE Web, which currently supports static sites (HTML/CSS/JS), WordPress and simple PHP deployments.

Large scale compute

While it is possible to use CREATE Cloud for computationally intensive workloads in principle, the vast majority of our computational resources (CPU cores and GPUs) are deployed in the CREATE HPC cluster. Given this we generally recommend running such workloads on the HPC cluster and integrating those jobs with any persistent applications (e.g. web applications, APIs, databases) hosted on CREATE Cloud. This is easily done due the high-speed network and storage shared between the systems.

We do recognise that our preferred offloading to HPC may not always be possible due to software constraints or short time frames associated with developing proof of concept applications. As such we do have two A100 GPUs provisioned in CREATE Cloud that are available to book for short term (e.g. 2 month) experiments. If you are interested in this provision please email If GPUs are required on a permanent basis then a dedicated server would need to be purchased which would then be deployed as an OpenStack hypervisor.

What does it cost?

There are both free and paid tiers available. See CREATE Cloud pricing for more details.