Introduction to Atmosphere Cloud Computing

Atmosphere is one of the most versatile components of the CyVerse CI. Anything that you would normally be able to do with your local laptop/desktop, you can do on a virtual machine in the Atmosphere cloud. The advantage of using Atmosphere is that you can get access to greater resources (currently up to 16 CPU, 128GB RAM machines). Additionally, those resources are co-localized with the CyVerse Data Store so that moving to and from your instance is very easy to do.

How to launch and connect to an Atmosphere instance

Creating an Atmosphere instance is like buying a new computer, you will have to select what you want and then customize it to suit your needs. Also like a new computer, your Atmosphere instance will generally come only with the listed software installed. You will have to connect that instance to your CyVerse Data Store to import files. This guide will not cover all the use cases and features of Atmosphere (e.g. managing your allocation, requesting more resources, Imaging, and creating and mounting volumes). See the Atmosphere manual.

Tip: To use Atmosphere, you must have an email address from an academic/governmental institution and request access to Atmosphere through the user portal. To request access, login to and check to see if Atmosphere is listed under ‘My Services.’ If it is not, scroll down and click the “Request Access” button next to Atmosphere to complete a request form.

Launching an Atmosphere instance

  1. Login to Atmosphere
  2. Click Launch New Instance either on the navigation panel (left) or on the home screen.
  3. In the search window, search and select the image you wish to use ( Note: Some images support a GUI Desktop and some are only accessible through the shell – check the description and/or tags)
  4. Click Launch; during the launch wizard you may name your instance, select the cloud to launch on, the size of the instance, and a project to associate this instance with. If you do not have an existing project, you must create one during this launch. Follow the launch wizard through to the end and click ‘Launch Instance’. Your instance should be ready in 10-20 minutes.

Connecting to Atmosphere instance via SSH

Tip: Your Instance status must be ‘active’ in order for you to connect. Windows users can download PuTTY to connect via the terminal.

  1. Locate your Instance IP address in the Atmosphere control panel
  2. Open a terminal (Mac/Linux) and connect $ ssh
  3. You will be asked to save and RSA key to the list of known hosts, enter ‘yes’
  4. When prompted, enter your CyVerse password.

Connecting to Atmosphere instance via VNC

Some Atmosphere images also are configures with a desktop interface. This can be accessed using a VNC Viewer. Download VNC Viewer from Real VNC to connect to your instance.

Tip: When you download VNC viewer, the program will ask for an IP address. This IP address is available from the Atmosphere website; log into Atmosphere and locate the IP address of the instance you wish to connect to.

VNC Connection Window

  1. Locate your Instance IP address (next to your instance name)
  2. Enter your IP address + “:1” in the ‘VNC Server’ field (e.g. 161.803.39.887:1) and click connect.
  3. When connecting for the first time to an instance, you will be prompted to save a signature. Select yes and continue; you will then be connected to your Atmosphere desktop.

Exercise - Sharing your Atmosphere desktop with another CyVerse user.

One of the advantages of computing within CyVerse is shared credentials and user profiles on common computing resources. This makes it easy to transfer data, and to enable collaborator access securely. In this exercise, you will share your Atmosphere desktop with another CyVerse user.

  1. Get the username of another CyVerse user and give them your IP address (from the Atmosphere website).
  2. Connect to your Atmosphere instance via VNC.
  3. In your Atmosphere instance, click the VNC icon in the upper right-hand corner of the Desktop; this will open a VNC Server window.
  4. Click the More button on the VNC Server window and select Options...; A VNC Server Options window will open.
  5. Select Users & Permissions from the VNC Server Options window, then click on Add.; Enter the CyVerse username of the collaborator you wish to share with; the click OK
  6. Make any adjustments to the user permissions, click Apply, the click OK. Close the VNC Server window.
  7. Your collaborator can now enter the IP address (+“:1”) to their VNC viewer as the server to connect to. They can connect using their CyVerse username and their user credentials.