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 50GB of storage. (8760 CPU Hours was derived from running a 1CPU Cloud Virtual Machine 24x7x365)
  • 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 $400. Additional Storage is $100/TB.
  • External (non-UB) academic & research subscriptions are $500. Additional Storage is $120/TB.  External users are subject to a 20% fee accrued 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.
  • Discounts are given for subscriptions of eight (8) or more.
  • 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 the length of the hardware support – 5 years (2021) - or until they run out.   
  • There are no refunds for unused compute or storage purchases when the cloud hardware is replaced in 2021.
  • ALL instances, EBS 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!

Bundle Discounts:

  • 8-16 Subscription Bundle = 10%
  • 17-24 Subscription Bundle = 20%
  • 25-32 Subscriptions = 30%


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 faculty, staff or departments:  $65/hour
  • External users: $78/hour  (factored in is a fee we are charged by UB for accepting external payments)
  • Consulting must be purchased in 8 hour increments but can be used in 30 minute chunks.

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, memory, and storage capacity and give you the flexibility to choose the appropriate mix of resources for your applications. Each instance type includes one or more instance sizes, allowing you to scale your resources to the requirements of your target workload.  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:

  • One  m1.large Cloud Instance (1 CPU) for 1 year or  
  • One m1.medium Cloud Instance (2 CPUs) for 6 months or
  • One c1.medium Cloud instance (4 CPUs) for 3 months or
  • One  hs1.8xlarge Cloud instance (28 CPUs) for 13 days


Cost Example 1:

A UB Researcher wants to produce a proof of concept for a grant application.  This involves setting up a website and testing some software.  The hardware requirements are small and she expects the project to take 6-12 months so she purchases one (1) subscription for $400.


Cost Example 2:

A UB Researcher wants to run an eight (8) CPU Virtual Server (hi1.4xlarge instance type) and purchase 2TB of additional storage for a 2-year project.  A total of 16 subscriptions is needed if he wishes to run for 2 full years.  Remember, a single subscription is based on 1 CPU running for a year.

$400/subscription x 16 Subscriptions x 10% bundle discount = $5,760

$100/TB x 2TB x  2Years = $400

Total cost for 2 year project = $6,160


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


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 the 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.