Frequently Asked Questions

 What is the CSU?

  • The Cloud Service Unit (CSU) is a service offered by the Inter University Computation Center (IUCC). The idea of the CSU is to appropriate existing cloud services to the needs of the Israeli academy. The services are purchased from the leading public cloud providers on the Israeli market. A member of the Israeli academy can use the CSU to choose which of the cloud providers s/he wants to work with, and employ CSU’s billing system to purchase the required services from that provider. The researcher can then use the cloud’s abilities.

How much will it cost me? (storage, upload, etc …)

  • There is no definite answer to that. Our job is to understand your needs and prepare an offer that optimally meets them at the lowest cost possible. Cloud vendors provide online calculators to enable us to estimate the cost. There are many ways to make it even less expensive, by utilizing every vendor’s usage policies.
  • Beyond the cloud resources, you can purchase 10 hours of Emind’s architecture workshop (offered at a special price to our customers), in which they help you create the architecture for your project. The workshop is personal: we meet at the time and place that you choose, and you can divide the ten hours in a way that suits you.

How do I ask for budget for the CSU from the Israeli Science Foundation?

  • The Executive Director of the ISF made it clear that there is no impediment to use the budget for cloud services “as long as this expenditure item was included in the original proposal and expenses approved by the technical committee as essential for research (as is the case with other budget items)”. It is understood, however, that research is dynamic and there are unforeseen expenses, so it is also possible to redirect budget that was already approved for the purchase of cloud resources. Researchers who wish to do that should email Amira Feher and specify the need and the amount required for this purpose.

Where can I find more information about the services available to me if I choose to use your system?

  • The CSU is working with several public cloud vendors. ALL the services offered by these cloud vendors are available to you. You can check the website of the vendors we are working with (currently GCP and AWS) to browse their portfolio. You can also use their online calculators to get an idea of the costs.

Since I don’t know how to work on the cloud, will someone help me to do so?

  • That is part of the CSU team’s job description. Our team dedicated to help the academy and is intimately familiar with the special needs of academic researchers. You will get help from a team that has already helped hundreds of projects migrate to the cloud.

What are the advantages of working with CSU in comparison with just buying the services directly from the colud vendors?

  • We offer pre-paid plans which is well aligned with research budget management.
  • A team dedicated to providing customer support and monitoring of your project.
  • Professional help in initial implementation of your research in the cloud to create the most cost efficient architecture.

How can I transfer my data FAST and SECURELY?

  • Moving data to the cloud is actually very secure and quite easy. If the need arises the CSU team will be more than glad to help.

Where can I connect from?

  • From anywhere you wish. You are free to choose the security settings for your infrastructure.

Do I have root permissions on my cloud resources?

  • If you choose to have.

Are there GPUs?

  • Yes. Every cloud vendor has specific machines with GPU capabilities.

Will it be available 24/7?

  • By nature the cloud is available 24/7. We are currently working on to ensure that the entire process (registration etc.) will be as well.

Can I adapt my software to run on cloud? Will someone help me to do so? Is it already available in the cloud? At what price?

  • It is possible that your software is already on the cloud, and if not it can probably be adapted. Part of CSU team’s mission is to help you make the adjustments. The price is dependent solely on the size of the resources. We are not charging the researcher for our work, but the researcher has the freedom to choose to pay to a 3rd party (emind, matrix, Bynet, etc…) to make the required adjustments.

Can the cloud be used for massive HPC? HPC at all?

  • Certainly. In fact, the main reason for the formation of CSU was to accommodate researchers that need HPC.

Can I have periods of not working and then starting from the same point in time of my research? at what cost?

  • You can stop and start your research at any given time, you only pay for the resources use time (storage while it is defined, computing power while the machines are on). We will be able to build blueprints / AMI machines so that you can start working on your setup at any given time (with no data stored from previous times). These will be available to other users too.

OK, I’ve decided to start using public cloud through CSU for my research, what is the process?

  • To get started, contact us at support@csu.iucc.ac.il, and we’ll help you from there.
  • Or, if you already know what resources you want to purchase and how much you want to spend, proceed to setup your account.

the list of Frequently Asked Question is available to download here