Research Cloud

The Melbourne Research Cloud (MRC) provides Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud computing to the University of Melbourne researchers, providing access to a robust set of on-demand virtualized computing resources (such as servers and storage). The service makes it easy for researchers to quickly access scalable computational power as their research grows, without the overhead of spending precious time and money setting up their own compute environment.

The supporting infrastructure provided to researchers by this service is hosted, managed and operated at The University of Melbourne by Research Computing Services (RCS).

The MRC delivers a means to store, manage and process digital data using networks of online storage servers. Easy access is provided to computers from a single server to thousands of servers allowing researchers to gain rapid access to scalable computational power. The MRC provides:

  • Ability to instantly build servers as needed to gain computational power without having to purchase, maintain or dispose of hardware
  • 24/7 accessibility within and outside of the University of Melbourne, or anywhere in the world
  • Flexibility to create or manage dynamic and scalable environments
  • Rapid deployment of software applications
  • Control over how others can collaborate, share and access data
  • The ability to publish research to the research community and grow a portfolio of work

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Access to All Researchers and Support Staff

  • Instantly build servers as you need them (on-demand) and gain computer power without having to plan, purchase, maintain or dispose of your own hardware
  • Ideal for testing configurations without financial commitment
  • Accessible 24/7 within and outside The University of Melbourne, or anywhere in the world
  • Easy access and rapid deployment of software applications.

Dynamic and Scalable

  • Flexibility to create and manage your own dynamic and scalable environment (similar to the Amazon EC2 compute cloud and S3 storage cloud)
  • Applications and the service can scale to meet demand for suitable applications.

Share and Collaborate

  • Publish your research on the research cloud so other researchers can use your work in their research and you can grow your portfolio of work
  • Access other researchers’ work so you can save valuable time on your own work
  • Clone your computation environment for backup or sharing

Secure and control your valuable research

  • Control who and where others can collaborate, share and access data

Reduced costs and administrative burden

  • Computer power without the overheads cost and procurement of applications and infrastructure
  • Free trial available
  • New and innovative ways of working that can be tested at minimal cost.

Need Help?

Self-paced training and documentation is available.

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We also offer regular on-campus training to help you get started with the Melbourne Research Cloud.


University of Melbourne Researchers (Academics and Graduate Researchers) and their collaborators.

Availability and service support

The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, excludes scheduled maintenance windows and announced closures.

Service support is available from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday to Friday AEST, excludes scheduled maintenance windows, announced closures and University holidays. Requests logged after hours will be attended to the next business day.

Case Studies

Curious about how the research cloud can be used to support your research? Here are a few examples from our existing users at the University.

Source: Brendan Lee

Render Artwork

Brendan Lee is a Masters candidate in the Victorian College of the Arts, preparing animation works in 3D graphics package, Carrara. High resolution rendering was taking too long on his laptop computer, and so RCS helped Brendan move his workload to a virtual machine on the Melbourne Research Cloud. This freed up his laptop for other tasks, and increased throughput without having to purchase a new computer.

Observe Social Media Censorship

William Lukamto is a PhD candidate in the School of Social and Political Sciences studying censorship in social media. William deployed an application on the Melbourne Research Cloud that continuously collects and stores data from the web for later analysis. Running this application in the cloud meant it was quick to deploy and could run continuously without interruption.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Melbourne Brain Centre

Analyze Brain Function

Dr. Scott Kolbe is a NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellow in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, studying brain function and structure using neuroimaging. Dr. Kolbe's group conducts much of their interactive analysis in the MRC using a customised remote desktop environment. This allows easy access to data stores, and simplifies on-boarding for new students and collaborators. RCS's High Performance Computing (HPC) system, Spartan, is used for batch processing of large MRI datasets that would otherwise impractical on a single computer.