Policy on commercial use of Flux

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Flux is intended only for non-commercial, academic research and instruction. Commercial use of some of the software on Flux is prohibited by software licensing terms. Prohibited uses include product development or validation, any service for which a fee is charged, and, in some cases, research involving proprietary data that will not be made available publicly.

Please contact hpc-support@umich.edu if you have any questions about this policy, or about whether your work may violate these terms.

Acknowledging Flux in Published Papers

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Researchers are urged to acknowledge ARC in any publication, presentation,
report, or proposal on research that involved ARC hardware (Flux) and/or
staff expertise.

“This research was supported in part through computational resources and
services provided by Advanced Research Computing at the University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor.”

Researchers are asked to annually submit, by October 1, a list of materials
that reference ARC, and inform its staff whenever any such research receives
professional or press exposure (arc-contact@umich.edu). This information is
extremely important in enabling ARC  to continue supporting U-M researchers
and obtain funding for future system and service upgrades.

Security on Flux / Use of Sensitive Data

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The Flux high-performance computing system at the University of Michigan has been built to provide a flexible and secure HPC environment. Flux is an extremely scalable, flexible, and reliable platform that enables researchers to match their computing capability and costs with their needs while maintaining the security of their research.

Built-in Security Features

Applications and data are protected by secure physical facilities and infrastructure as well as a variety of network and security monitoring systems. These systems provide basic but important security measures including:

  • Secure access – All access to Flux is via ssh or Globus. Ssh has a long history of high-security. Globus provides basic security and supports additional security if you need it.
  • Built-in firewalls – All of the Flux computers have firewalls that restrict access to only what is needed.
  • Unique users – Flux adheres to the University guideline of one person per login ID and one login ID per person.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) – For all interactive sessions, Flux requires both a UM Kerberos password and Duo authentication. File transfer sessions require a Kerberos password.
  • Private Subnets – Other than the login and file transfer computers that are part of Flux, all of the computers are on a network that is private within the University network and are unreachable from the Internet.
  • Flexible data storage – Researchers can control the security of their own data storage by securing their storage as they require and having it mounted via NFSv3 or NFSv4 on Flux. Another option is to make use of Flux’s local scratch storage, which is considered secure for many types of data. Note: Flux is not considered secure for data covered by HIPAA.

Flux/Globus & Sensitive Data

To find out what types of data may be processed in Flux or Globus, visit the U-M Sensitive Data Guide to IT Resources.

Additional Security Information

If you require more detailed information on Flux’s security or architecture to support your data management plan or technology control plan, please contact the Flux team at hpc-support@umich.edu.

We know that it’s important for you to understand the protection measures that are used to guard the Flux infrastructure. But since you can’t physically touch the servers or walk through the data centers, how can you be sure that the right security controls are in place?

The answer lies in the third-party certifications and evaluations that Flux has undergone. IIA has evaluated the system, network, and storage practices of Flux and Globus. The evaluation for Flux is published athttp://safecomputing.umich.edu/dataguide/?q=node/151 and the evaluation for Globus is published at http://safecomputing.umich.edu/dataguide/?q=node/155.

Shared Security and Compliance Responsibility

Because you’re managing your data in the Flux high-performance computing environment, the security responsibilities will be shared.

Flux operators have secured the underlying infrastructure, and you are obligated to secure anything you put on the your own infrastructure itself, as well meet any other compliance requirement.  These requirements may be derived from your grant or funding agency, or data owners or stewards other than yourself, or state or federal laws and regulations.

The Flux support staff is available to help manage user lists for data access, and information is publicly available on how to manage file system permissions, please see:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_system_permissions.

Contacting Flux Support

The Flux Support Team encourages communications, including for security-related questions. Please email us at hpc-support@umich.edu.

We have created a PGP key for especially sensitive communications you may need to send.

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May I process sensitive data using Flux?

Yes, but only if you use a secure storage solution like Mainstream Storage and Flux’s scratch storage. Flux’s home directories are provided by Value Storage, which is not an appropriate location to store sensitive institutional data.One possible workflow is to use sftp or Globus to move data between a secure solution and Flux’s scratch storage, which is secure, bypassing your home directory or any of your own Value Storage directories.Keep in mind that compliance is a shared responsibility.You must also take any steps required by your role or unit to comply with relevant regulatory requirements.

For more information on specific types of data that can be stored and analyzed on Flux, Value Storage, and other U-M services, please see the “Sensitive Data Guide to IT Services” web page on the Safe Computing website: http://safecomputing.umich.edu/dataguide/

Terms of Usage and User Responsibilities

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  1. Data is not backed up. None of the data on Flux is backed up. The data that you keep in your home directory, /tmp or any other filesystem is exposed to immediate and permanent loss at all times. You are responsible for mitigating your own risk. We suggest you store copies of hard-to-reproduce data on systems that are backed up, for example, the AFS filesystem maintained by ITS.
  2. Your usage is tracked and may be used for reports. We track a lot of job data and store it for a long time. We use this data to generate usage reports and look at patterns and trends. We may report this data, including your individual data, to your adviser, department head, dean, or other administrator or supervisor.
  3. Maintaining the overall stability of the system is paramount to us. While we make every effort to ensure that every job completes with the most efficient and accurate way possible, the good of the whole is more important to us than the good of an individual. This may affect you, but mostly we hope it benefits you. System availability is based on our best efforts. We are staffed to provide support during normal business hours. We try very hard to provide support as broadly as possible, but cannot guarantee support on a 24 hour per day basis. Additionally, we perform system maintenance on a periodic basis, driven by the availability of software updates, staffing availability, and input from the user community. We do our best to schedule around your needs, but there will be times when the system is unavailable. For scheduled outages, we will announce them at least one month in advance on the ARC-TS home page; for unscheduled outages we will announce them as quickly as we can with as much detail as we have on that same page.You can also track ARC-TS at Twitter name ARC-TS.
  4. Flux is intended only for non-commercial, academic research and instruction. Commercial use of some of the software on Flux is prohibited by software licensing terms. Prohibited uses include product development or validation, any service for which a fee is charged, and, in some cases, research involving proprietary data that will not be made available publicly. Please contact hpc-support@umich.edu if you have any questions about this policy, or about whether your work may violate these terms.
  5. You are responsible for the security of sensitive codes and data. If you will be storing export-controlled or other sensitive or secure software, libraries, or data on the cluster, it is your responsibility that is is secured to the standards set by the most restrictive governing rules.  We cannot reasonably monitor everything that is installed on the cluster, and cannot be responsible for it, leaving the responsibility with you, the end user.
  6. Data subject to HIPAA regulations may not be stored or processed on the cluster. For assistance with HIPAA-related computational research please contact Jeremy Hallum, ARC liaison to the Medical School, at jhallum@med.umich.edu.

User Responsibilities

Users should make requests by email hpc-support@umich.edu:

  • Renewing allocations at least 2 days before your current allocation expires to have the new allocation provisioned before the old one expires.
  • At least a day in advance, request users being added to allocations you may have.


Users are responsible for maintaining MCommunity groups used for MReport authorizations.

Users must manage data appropriately in their various locations:

  • /home, /home2
  • /scratch
  • /tmp and /var/tmp
  • customer-provided NFS