Experiment in orbit

What is SpaceLab?

SpaceLab puts your research software right next to your data in a secure hosted cloud without any hardware, up-front cost, or lengthy delays. SpaceLab links Intersect Space storage and Time compute to provide a powerful and stable platform to run tailored applications in an environment that’s just right for your unique research.

Who is it for?

Individual researchers or groups (for example faculties, facilities or institutions) needing to build and manage their own hosted virtual laboratory, using their own research software but without the complexities of buying, operating and maintaining hardware and operating systems.

Why use SpaceLab?

With SpaceLab, you can:

  • Confidently establish an Internet home for your own hosted virtual laboratory running custom software applications that you manage.
  • Get a massive head start by creating a virtual lab by reusing one of our ready-made and optimised eResearch platforms.
  • Scale computing capacity up or down without hardware changes or capital expenditure.
  • Transfer data via the dedicated high-speed optical fibre network with no ingress or egress charges between AARNet destinations.
  • Effortlessly scale to petabytes of storage with optional direct fibre-connected Space storage for maximum performance.
  • Maintain control and access to your data using your own research software applications according to your own decisions and policies.

How does it work?

SpaceLab combines compute and storage infrastructure to provide a ready-made, pre-configured computing environment where you can install your own research software.


  • Select from a range of virtual hardware ‘flavours’, from simple desktop equivalents to extreme hardware with massive memory and CPU, through to large clusters of networked virtual machines suitable for Hadoop or other distributed processing needs.
  • Construct on our platform yet manage your system with your choice of research software. You can optionally add an Intersect Time hosting package if you’d prefer we do this for you.


  • Your applications and data are securely held in Tier 3 data locations in Sydney, with the highest levels of accredited security, availability and reliability.
  • Data is kept safe in industrial-grade storage by writing multiple physical copies.
  • Intersect is a Not-For-Profit Australian organisation operated by NSW and ACT Universities with all data stored on Australian soil under NSW jurisdiction to preserve data sovereignty.


  • Administer your own software and data in a self-serve flexible environment.
  • Control who has access to your data and create your own encryption and privacy models.
  • Forget about the complexities of hardware and network management.


  • Share your software applications and data using custom URLs.
  • Meet the exact needs of your research group by engineering a unique collaboration environment across organisational boundaries.

Access Requirements

To create and manage your SpaceLab you’ll need:

  • Mac OS X 10.7+, Windows 7+, Linux 64-bit
  • Optional ssh command line implementation
  • AAF account for sysadmin authentication. Sysadmin access for non-AAF members available available through your affiliated university/institution via the AAF Virtual Home,
  • Network ports: tcp/22 (ssh/sFTP)
  • Authentication: X.509 certificate, VPN tunnel: IPsec
  • Storage interconnect: NFS, WebDAVs

Nominal Performance

  • Interconnect speeds: AARNet: 10 Gigabits per second (Gb/s), Science DMZ: 10 Gb/s, Institution: 1 Gb/s, 10 Gb/s and 40 Gb/s
  • Storage capacity: up to 50 Petabytes
  • Active disk data rate: up to 8 Gigabits/s throughput
  • Intersect uses the AARNet Science DMZ interconnect model, a high performance, high bandwidth architecture optimising data transfers (10 Gb/s and up)
  • Deploy from, or Flavours from 1 CPU 2 GB RAM to 64 CPU 1TB RAM
  • Compatible with and Amazon Web Services DirectConnect. VM – Space interconnect: 10 Gb/s

Note: All figures are rated maximums. Actual performance will vary depending on local technical constraints.

How do I get started with SpaceLab?

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