Before you can really start using one of the clusters, there are several things you need to do or know:

  1. You need to log on to the cluster via an ssh-client to one of the login nodes. This will give you a command line. The software you'll need to use on your client system depends on its operating system:
  2. Your account also comes with a certain amount of data storage capacity in at least three subdirectories on each cluster. You'll need to familiarise yourself with
  3. Before you can do some work, you'll have to transfer the files that you need from your desktop or department to the cluster. At the end of a job, you might want to transfer some files back. The preferred way to do that, is by using an sftp client. It again requires some software on your client system which depends on its operating system:
  4. Optionally, if you wish to use programs with a graphical user interface, you'll need an X server on your client system. Again, this depends on the latter's operating system:
  5. Often several versions of software packages and libraries are installed, so you need to select the ones you need. To manage different versions efficiently, the VSC clusters use so-called modules, so you'll need to select and load the modules that you need.

Logging in to the login nodes of your institute's cluster may not work if your computer is not on your institute's network (e.g., when you work from home). In those cases you will have to set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection if your institute provides this service.