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Service Overview

Science VM (SVM) is a highly-reliable, high-availability, scalable virtual machine hosting service, suitable for hosting anything from small website to CPU-intensive modelling and analysis computations. This is being offered by the IT division as part of the Science Accelerator initiative, developing new services focused on directly supporting the Lab's scientific mission. 

SVM offers scientists at the lab the ability to run the tools and applications needed to support their research, without the cost of dedicated hardware, the administration burden of running their own IT infrastructure, or the complexity of public cloud offerings.

In addition to basic system hosting, SVM provides an integrated platform that helps scientists design, build, and refine experiments and analysis. It can be coupled with existing Scientific Computing services, such as the Lawrencium cluster, Jupyter notebooks, and the Software Module Farm.

SVM is available to all Berkeley Lab users, and is priced to compete with users considering purchasing their own hardware, running their own VM servers, or running through clowd provider, including Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Compute.

Hosted on-site using the IT Division's VMWare infrastructure, SVM is highly flexible, and provides a wide range of VM sizes and configurations.

To get started with SVM, please complete the SVM Request Form.


  • VM hosting at a wide range of scales, from small a small web site to a large 32-CPU computation resource.
  • Competitive pricing that is well below Amazon Web Services pricing for comparable resources.
  • Highly reliable infrastructure, backed by VMware ESXi v6.5, and featuring
    • Daily snapshots of the entire system
    • Off-site backups taken daily
    • Fault-tolerance failover, where a live running clone of the VM will be activated automatically in the event of a problem in the operating systems
    • High Availability failover, where a copy of the VMs can be automatically started on a separate physical host in the event of hardware failure.
  • Pre-configured VMs on a number of supported operating systems, including
    • CentOS
    • Scientific Linux (configured for use with the Software Module Farm applications)
    • Ubuntu 
    • Windows Server 2016

Getting Started

  • Submit a request using this google form. This will create a ServiceNow request.
  • All new VM requests will be reviewed by our security and operations teams to assess how to best deploy them. This is particularly relevant when migrating an existing or cloned VM in the SVM infrastructure.
  • Please contact for any questions 

Service Costs

  • SVM hosting and management are paid via recharges
  • SVM hosting is priced based on the system specs. Prices for standard configurations are provided here. 

    SizeExample Use AWS Equivalent # CPURAM (GB)HDD (GB)Monthly Cost
    SWeb hostT2 M2425$25
    MMid TierT2 XL416100$100
    LDatabase ApplicationT2 2XL832200$250
    XLCompute / SimulationC3 8X32641000$900
  • Custom configurations are available, and are typically priced at 70% of the price for a similarly specced system on AWS running full-time. AWS prices can be checked using their online calculator.
  • The price includes a blank VM image with no operating system, or a base installation of a supported OS. 
  • Additional charges will be incurred for time spent on custom setup, including importing or modifying images, doing networking setup, or installing the OS. The rate is $100/hr.

Service Level Agreement

  • The monthly hosting charge covers the costs of hosting the VM. it does not include associated services, such as the initial OS installation, configuration, application deployment and configuration, or ongoing system maintenance. 
  • It does include the cost of storage and regular backups of the attached volumes.
  • The customer is responsible for all configuration and maintenance of the OS and applications, and for ensuring that the system is in compliance with LBL cyber security policies.
  • IT will provide these services on-demand for a standard rate of $100/hr. All work will be tracked in ServiceNow tickets. Billing will be done by monthly recharges.
  • IT also provides a VM management SLA that costs $150/month, per VM. VMs under management will receive:
    • OS installation and configuration
    • Ongoing patching of the operating system 
    • User account management
    • Application deployment and configuration help
  • To enroll your VM in management services, please complete the VM request form, or contact

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