Lake Effect Cloud Accounting

The Lake Effect cloud allows the user to start, stop, and terminate system virtual machines. Since starting a virtual machine allocates memory and CPU resources on a physical machine to the virtual machine, users are billed based on the length of time a virtual machine is running, even if it is idle and doing NO work for the user.   This is the same accounting model used by Amazon and many other service providers, including universities.  Use your subscription wisely!


What is a Subscription?

  • Subscriptions are the mechanism used to purchase time on the Lake Effect cloud.
  • The basic unit of a subscription is a CPU-hour.
  • Each Lake Effect subscription gives you 8760 CPU hours of time on the cloud and 100GB of storage. (8760 CPU Hours was derived from running a 1 CPU cloud virtual machine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 365 days)
  • Subscriptions are flexible and can be used with any combination machine type. However, multiple CPU machine types will use up the subscription faster.  Subscriptions are similar to a mobile phone sharing plan - the more phones on the plan, the faster you use up the shared data
  • UB subscriptions* are $480.82. Additional Storage is $100/TB per year.
  • External (non-UB) subscriptions are $660. Additional Storage is $120/TB per year.  External users are subject to a 20% fee assessed when UB processes external payments.  This fee is built into our subscription charge for external users. 
  • You can purchase as many subscriptions as you need.
  • Subscription use is calculated hourly, i.e. if 1 VM Core was active in the previous hour, 1 Core Hour of usage will be added to your account.
  • Cloud subscriptions last until they run out.   
  • There are no refunds for unused compute or storage purchases
  • ALL instances, volumes, S3 buckets, and snapshots will be deleted if a subscription is not renewed for an account.  If you have multiple accounts, they all must have active, paid subscriptions or data will be deleted!


CCR staff are able to provide consulting assistance with designing and setting up your cloud instances.  Please contact us via the help portal to discuss what type of services you need and to allow us to quote you for the anticipated hours required.  Prices are as follows:

  • UB rates**:  System admins: $59.97 - Developers:  $76.18/hour
  • External users**: $105/hour
  • Consulting must be purchased in 8 hour increments but can be used in 30 minute chunks.

NOTE: Rates are based on the type of account they're paid out of:

* If paying with internal State, RF, UBF, or FSA accounts. If paying with other internal funds, rate is $552.67/subscription.  External rate is $660/subscription

** If paying with internal State, RF, UBF, or FSA accounts. If paying with other internal funds, sys admin rate is $68.93/hour and developer rate is $87.57/hour.  External rates are $85-155/hour.  

Machine Types:

Virtual Servers on the Lake Effect Cloud are called Instances.  Just like Amazon, CCR provides a wide selection of instance types optimized to fit different use cases. Instance types comprise varying combinations of CPU and RAM (memory) to give you the flexibility to choose the appropriate mix of resources for your applications. Click here to see the instance types offered in Lake Effect

NOTE: A single subscription will allow you to use any of these instance types. The larger the instance type, the faster you will use up your subscriptions.  We recommend users do development on smaller virtual machine instances and grow them once the project needs more resources.   Example: One subscription will allow you to run:

  • Two c1.m4 (1 VCPUs, 4GB RAM) cloud instances for 1 year or one of them for 2 years! or
  • One c2.m4 cloud instance (2 VCPUs, 4GB RAM) for 1 year or
  • One c4.m8 cloud instance (4 VCPUs, 8GB RAM) for 6 months or
  • One c16.m32 Cloud instance (16 VCPUs, 32GB RAM) for 45 days
  • One g1.v100d-8c cloud instance (1 V100 GPU, 8 VCPUs, 32GB RAM) for approximately 3 months


Subscription Payments and Processing:

Internal UB users:  Cloud subscriptions are processed internally at UB via Inter-departmental Invoice (IDI).  CCR will send an email IDI to the PI requesting the subscription.  The PI must enter the account number he/she wishes to charge their subscription to, sign, and date the IDI then send it back to CCR.  CCR will send the IDI in for processing and will mark the subscription as active once we receive the funds in our account.  Since the process of transferring money at UB can be time-consuming, we strongly recommend PIs purchase enough subscriptions to keep their instances running for the duration of their project.  We make every effort to process IDIs as quickly as possible but once they are sent in to UB’s finance departments, it is out of our control.  We will not activate cloud subscriptions until the money has been transferred to our account.  To begin the process of creating a cloud subscription, please login to the resource subscription management portal, Coldfront, and follow these instructions

External users: 
Cloud subscriptions are processed for external users via invoices sent to the cloud account contact.  Invoices can be paid via check and once paid, the subscription will be marked as active.  The payment process at UB can be time-consuming so we recommend account holders purchase enough subscriptions to keep their instances running for the duration of the project.  We cannot accept same day payments.
   To begin the process of creating a cloud subscription, please login to the resource subscription management portal, 
Coldfront, and follow these instructions.  If you do not yet have a CCR account, please contact ccr-help for assistance.


What happens if my subscription runs out?

Cloud users can check their group's cloud usage at any time using the Coldfront subscription management portal.  Cloud group owners will receive an email when their cloud subscription has been consumed.  You are required to request a new subscription and begin the payment process through Coldfront within 7 days of the first notification or your cloud accounts will be disabled.  To begin the process of creating a cloud subscription, please login to the resource subscription management portal, Coldfront, and follow these instructions

Payment must be received by CCR within 30 days of first notification that your subscription has been depleted.  As noted above, we realize the payment process at UB can take awhile, so we will allow a 30 day grace period for users to pay for their subscription renewal before deleting the cloud account.  This does NOT mean account holders should wait until the end of the grace period to renew.  You must start the payment process within the first 7 days that the subscription has been fully consumed.  If the account owner does not respond to CCR payment requests, a final bill will be sent for any overage charges and all information/data associated with the cloud account will be deleted - this includes user accounts, instances (running & terminated), all data (including, but not limited to, S3 buckets, EBS volumes, and snapshots), ssh keys, elastic IPs, load balancers, custom images.  This is a PERMANENT action and data will not be retrievable so please make sure to keep your account active and respond to CCR correspondence. 


What does CCR do with all the money collected from cloud subscriptions?

The formula used to calculate the subscription price for cloud instances was developed based on the current costs for hardware, software, and support of the Lake Effect cloud.  All money collected for cloud subscriptions will go right back into the cloud!  That is, we’ll use it to purchase additional hardware so we can increase the cloud capacity and make it available to more researchers.

Use and Misuse of Lake Effect:

Permitted Usage:

The UB CCR Lake Effect cloud computing platform is designed for UB's faculty and staff researchers and their students.  Just as with your CCR account, you are required to comply with theUniversity at Buffalo's information technology policies.  The cloud is intended for academic research and should be used to further scholarship and support research work only.  The cloud should not be used for personal work.  The running of web stores/marketplaces or conducting any illegal business or transactions is not permitted on the Lake Effect cloud.  

CCR systems are NOT HIPAA-compliant.  Storage of any personally identifiable Protected Health Information (PHI) on our systems is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 Privacy and Security Rules.  If in doubt, contact CCR before transferring your data.


We reserve the right to shut down any instance, without prior notice, that is causing problems internally, externally or violating the University at Buffalo’s information technology policies and/or the laws of New York State or the United States of America.  Users committing such offenses may be reported to the University security office or the local authorities.

Cloud Support:

Cloud Support:

Lake Effect is a subscription-based Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud that provides root level access to virtual servers and storage on demand.  The term "cloud" means many different things to many different people.  As with any IaaS cloud, users are expected to possess working knowledge and expertise in system administration to effectively secure, configure, and use their virtual server instances. Please refer to this knowledgebase for documentation and startup information as well as the enormous volume of info available online from the Amazon Web Services support group and the OpenStack Documentation.  If you still have a question, contact CCR Help and we will try to answer a quick question or two depending on our current workload.  If you or your project team need additional help getting started, anticipate having lots of questions along the way, or you’d like us to do some work for you (such as building your image so that it’s all set to go), consulting is available as an option when you start your subscription.  We can help you estimate the number of consulting hours to include with your subscription. Consulting may also be added after starting your subscription.  Assistance from CCR staff is provided during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm).  


Cloud Uptime:

In general, all CCR services are kept running 24 hours/day, 365 days/year.  However, CCR provides no guarantee of uptime for this service.  CCR does occasionally have maintenance downtimes that require all services be offline.  There are also times when problems with power or cooling cause our systems to be offline and while we strive to keep this to an absolute minimum, it results in occasional outages.  If the cloud infrastructure is down off-hours, we will handle it like any other large service at CCR.  Our system administrators operate an on-call procedure and outages are handled as quickly as possible.  A single virtual machine problem will not be handled off-hours.

Are my instances in the research cloud backed up?

It is VERY IMPORTANT that users understand the CCR research cloud is offered as an infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS) product.  The infrastructure hardware is built to be redundant.  However, the instances and volumes stored in the cloud are the responsibility of the users that own them.  All users must back up any data stored on their instances.  Users can create snapshots of instances and volumes on instances; however, even those snapshots are not backed up.  All instance-store images are considered volatile and if they are shutdown (whether purposely or in a service outage), all data on them will be lost.  

Backup of cloud data and configurations is the user’s responsibility!