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Spin is a container-based platform* at NERSC designed for you to deploy your own science gateways, workflow managers, databases, API endpoints, and other network services to support your scientific projects. Services in Spin are built with Docker containers and can easily access NERSC systems and storage.

Who Uses Spin?

The flexibility of Docker makes Spin useful for many projects. A few examples:

  • ESS-DIVE is a data repository that facilitates sharing and discovery of earth sciences data sets using the Metacat research data catalog system atop NERSC storage.
  • The LZ Dark Matter Experiment has built custom workflow tools and science gateways that help collaborators organize the experiment and analyze and visualize notable detector events.
  • ScienceSearch provides deep search into research data sets by generating robust metadata from ML techniques that incorporate user tagging and training.
  • Phytozome, a project of the Join Genome Institute, offers a comprehensive library of plant genomics data.
  • The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) project operates databases and tools for data movement that support continuous workflows.
  • COVIDScholar uses ML to help COVID-19 researchers discover materials more quickly and easily using natural language queries.

NERSC also uses Spin as a frontend for some of its most popular services, such as JupyterHub.

If your project needs a persistent service to help with workflow operations, manage or disseminate project data, or otherwise interact with NERSC systems, Spin may be for you!

Spin is Moving to Kubernetes!

In April, early access began to a new instance of Spin based on the popular Kubernetes system. This new instance features a web-based user interface, a simpler process for making network services available, an improved Docker image registry, and numerous other enhancements.

The legacy instance of Spin, launched in mid-2018, will continue to operate through late 2020.

Access to the new instance will be rolled out through the SpinUp Workshop program, which will offer full workshops for new users and self-guided orientation for existing users.

Get Started: Attend a SpinUp Workshop

To use Spin for your own services, first attend a SpinUp Workshop. This hands-on workshop familiarizes you with the necessary concepts, demonstrates tools and techniques, and explains your responsibilities when deploying services at NERSC.

See Spin in Action

See this video for a presentation about Spin, its capabilities, and examples of services that are currently running there.

Note: this recording is from NERSC New User Training on March 21, 2018 and uses the legacy Spin instance. Materials based on the new instance, based on Kubernetes, are under development.

See this video for a live demonstration of building a service in Spin and performing basic maintenance tasks, such as changing the underlying Docker images and accessing shell prompts and container logs for troubleshooting.


Want to reference Spin in your paper, poster, or presentation slides?

We supply the official Spin graphics for print and web media designed for use on light or dark backgrounds and in both horizontal and vertical layouts.

* In cloud terms, a "Containers-as-a-Service (CaaS)" platform.