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  1. Request access to Anvil
    Access and resources are provided on a per-group basis, similar to HCC clusters.  For details, please see What are the per group resource limits?  To begin using Anvil, the group owner should fill out the short request form at  An automated confirmation email will be sent, and an HCC staff member will follow-up once access is available.

  2. Create SSH keys
    OpenStack uses SSH key pairs to identify users and control access to the VMs themselves, as opposed to the traditional username/password combination.  SSH key pairs consist of two files, a public key and a private key.  The public file can be shared freely; this file will be uploaded to OpenStack and associated with your account.  The private key file should be treated the same as a password.  Do not share your private key and always keep it in a secure location.  Even if you have previously created a key pair for another purpose, it's best practice to create a dedicated pair for use with Anvil.  The process for creating key pairs is different between Windows and Mac.  Follow the relevant guide below for your operating system.
    1. Creating SSH key pairs on Windows
    2. Creating SSH key pairs on Mac

  3. Connect to the Anvil VPN
    For The Anvil web portal is accessible from the Internet. On the other hand, for security reasons, both the Anvil web portal and the instances themselves are not generally accessible from the internet.  The web portal is accessible while on campus, but the instances are not.  In Internet. In order to access both the instances from on and off-campus, you will need to first be connected to the Anvil VPN.  Follow Follow the instructions below to connect.
    1. Connecting to the Anvil VPN

  4. Add the SSH Key Pair to your account
    Before creating your first instance, you'll need to associate the SSH key created in step 2 with your account.   Follow the guide below to login to the web dashboard and add the key pair.
    1. Adding SSH Key Pairs

  5. Create an instance
    Once the setup steps above are completed, you can create an instance within the web dashboard.  Follow the guide below to create an instance.
    1. Creating an Instance

  6. Connect to your instance
    After an instance has been created, you can connect (login) and begin to use it.  Connecting is done via SSH or X2Go for Linux instances and via Remote Desktop (RDP) for Windows instances.  Follow the relevant guide below for your instance and the type of OS you're connecting from.
    1. Connecting to Windows Instances
    2. Connecting to Linux Instances via SSH from Mac
    3. Connecting to Linux instances via SSH from Windows
    4. Connecting to Linux instances using X2Go (for images with Xfce)

  7. Create and attach a volume to your instance (optional)
    Volumes are a means within OpenStack for persistent storage.  When an instance is destroyed, all data that was placed on the OS hard drive is lost.  A volume can be thought of similar to an external hard drive.  It can be attached and detached from an instance as needed.  Data on the volume will persist until the volume itself is destroyed.  Creating a volume is an optional step, but may be useful in certain cases.  The process of creating and attaching a volume from the web dashboard is the same regardless of the type (Linux or Windows) of instance it will be attached to.  Once the volume is attached, follow the corresponding guide for your instance's OS to format and make the volume usable within your instance.
    1. Creating and attaching a volume
    2. Formatting and mounting a volume in Windows
    3. Formatting and mounting a volume in Linux
  8. Transferring files to or from your instance (optional)
    Transferring files to or from an instance is similar to doing so with a personal laptop or workstation.  To transfer between an instance and another HCC resource, both SCP and Globus Connect can be used.  For transferring between an instance and a laptop/workstation or another instance, standard file sharing utilities such as Dropbox or Box can be used.  Globus may also be used, with one stipulation.  In order to transfer files between two personal endpoints, a Globus Plus subscription is required.  As part of HCC's Globus Provider Plan, HCC can provide this on a per-user basis free of charge.  If you are interested in Globus Plus, please email with your request and a brief explanation.