Cloud computing can usefully be understood as “using someone else’s computer via a remote connection.” What matters is where that computer is and how it is being used. Possible service offerings include file storage tools and data processing pipelines, to assembling a virtual computer from the parts of a much larger machine at the cloud hosting site.
Cloud services can typically be accessed from anywhere an Internet connection is available (although some services might be restricted to only connections made from within certain locations) so from the perspective of access the cloud is “(almost) everywhere”. From the perspective of where the machines providing the resources are located the cloud is in very particular locations. All of the machines associated with the Compute Canada Cloud are located in Canada at research institutions, which can be an important feature for anyone concerned about privacy and control of their data.
There are currently three principal cloud services available:
The first step is to sign-up for a Compute Canada account. Once this account is obtained OwnCloud can be had by turning on access to WestGrid (login to ccdb.computecanada.ca, choose “Apply for a consortium account” from the “My Account” menu, and then choose WestGrid) and then waiting 24 hours for the application to be processed. Globus access can be had automatically by visiting globus.computecanada.ca and logging in with Compute Canada selected as the institution. Access to the OpenStack cloud resources is had by following the instructions at the bottom of https://www.computecanada.ca/research-portal/national-services/compute-c....
WestGrid has recorded two introductory cloud seminars. The first looks at the OpenStack cloud tool and is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38AjZdtG0Sc. The second covers OwnCloud and Globus and is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghgnrUksxlc. In addition to these two webinars in-person training workshops are offered a few times a year. At the University of Alberta these workshops are regularly held in the Spring in conjunction with Research Data Management Week. Requests can also be made through the various consortia support channels for cloud training.
Support for the OpenStack cloud tool and its underlying hardware is available through https://www.computecanada.ca/research-portal/national-services/compute-c... and by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Globus support is available by emailing email@example.com. Support for OwnCloud is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.