Infrastructure Science IT

S3IT currently provides the following computational facilities to researchers at the University of Zurich.

  • ScienceCloud implements an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) approach to cloud computing. It can be used for the creation of ephemeral private computing systems and experimentation with new computing paradigms.
  • ScienceCluster is a centrally managed multi-purpose cluster that provides access to multiple CPU and GPU partitions running on ScienceCloud.
  • ScienceApps is a browser based portal to access ScienceCluster via a suite of interactive development environments.
  • Supercomputer (Alps/Eiger) is a system for running large-scale high-performance parallel computations whose requirements exceed the ScienceCluster capacity.

Don't know which service is right for you?

The infrastructure service selection guidelines below can help you decide which service best matches your research needs. Please note that these guidelines offer only very rough guidance. For further consultation on which infrastructure is most suitable, feel free to contact us to schedule a meeting.

Getting access - terms and conditions

  • Access to the S3IT infrastructure is open for all researchers at the University of Zurich.
  • Usage of the S3IT infrastructure is subject to a contribution to the costs. As these systems are largely subsidized by the UZH, these contributions are very affordable.
  • Notifications and requests from the S3IT system administrators are sent by email. You are required to read and - if needed - react on these emails in the given timeline.
  • The Regulations on the Use of IT-Resources at the University of Zurich are binding for all users. Acceptance of these regulations is implicit in the use of the systems. In addition, to use the Supercomputer Alps/Eiger, the usage policies of CSCS apply.
  • See S3IT Terms and Conditions (restricted to UZH staff) of the S3IT Infrastructure Services for more details and a set of frequently asked questions.

We offer to schedule a meeting to assess your computational needs, give you an introduction to the systems, advise on the recommended way to use the UZH computing infrastructure, and explain the terms and conditions.

Got questions or want to schedule a meeting?

Feel free to contact us via email:


Infrastructure Service Selection Guidelines

Should I use the ScienceCloud or the ScienceCluster?

Cloud Cluster Decision Tree

This decision tree may help you choose the appropriate solution for your needs. Please note that this tree is very general and offers only rough guidance.

What storage options are available?

Active Storage Options

  • Cinder Block Storage
    • Works exclusively with the ScienceCloud and works "out of the box" with a ScienceCloud tenant
    • Must be attached to a ScienceCloud server instance to be used
    • Cinder "volumes" act like virtual USB drives that "plug in" to virtual machine instances; volumes can only be attached to a single instance at a time
    • Full access to files is allowed (upload, download, and editing)
  • Swift Object Storage
    • Offers accessibility from ScienceCloud virtual machines or from personal computers (both of which must be equipped with the appropriate software)
    • The download/upload of files is possible, while editing files is not possible
    • Swift Storage provides file space in what is termed "containers"
  • Cluster Scalable Storage
    • Works exclusively with the ScienceCluster
    • Allows for an expansion of the default storage space provided with standard Cluster access
    • If you need this option, contact us and inquire about "Scalable Storage" for the Cluster
  • ZI Share + Backup
    • Provides a remote file directory that's mirrored / backed-up to multiple locations
    • The extra layer of security incurs an extra cost, as does restoring data from a back up
  • ZI NAS
    • "NAS" stands for "network attached storage"
    • Works like a remote file directory that can be mounted to one (or more) personal computers or virtual machines at a time
    • Requires additional configuration to work with ScienceCloud virtual machines

What are the options for archiving data?

Archival Storage Options

Please see the descriptions of each service in the question titled "What storage options are available?".