2. Getting started


This is a quickstart on the platform. In this page you will learn:

  • How to login Spider

  • Browsing your project space

  • Submitting simple jobs

2.1. Setting up your account

Access to the cluster is provided via SSH (Secure Shell) Public key authentication only. For the highest security of your data and the platform, we do not allow username/password authentication.

To use this method you will need first to configure your SSH public key on a portal provided by SURF. Then you can connect and authenticate to Spider with your SSH keys without supplying your username or password at each visit.

Please note that it takes 1 hour from the time you receive your account credentials for your accounts to be able to run jobs on Spider

Please follow these steps to access Spider:

As a member of a Spider project you shall have received a SURF user account. Please use the username and password sent to you and login to the SURF CUA portal .

  • Step 2: Accept the Usage Agreement in the portal

Once you login to the portal please agree to our usage terms and conditions to be able to gain access to Spider. You can perform this action on the “Usage Agreement” tab as shown in the image below. Please note that you will be denied access to Spider if you do not accept this agreement.

  • Step 3: Upload your SSH public key to the portal

In order to access Spider you need to have a file on your local computer (say, your laptop) with a private SSH key, and you need to upload its matching public SSH key on the SURF CUA portal. Then, when you are going to connect to Spider from your laptop, the SSH private and public keys will be compared and, if they successfully relate to one-another, your connection will be established. Note that uploading your key to the portal is an one time task.

If you already have an SSH key-pair you can proceed to upload it.

NOTE: Please give your keys and account about 45 minutes to sync after uploading your public key in the portal

Else you have to generate a key-pair in your laptop or other machine that you use to connect to Spider. If you need help to generate an SSH key-pair, see:

Once you have generated your SSH key-pair, upload your public key to our SURF CUA portal. Click on the tab “Public ssh keys” on the left pane of the portal and add your public key by copying the contents of your public key file (e.g. cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub) as shown below:


Field [1] SSH key: here you paste your public key

Field [2] Password: here you enter your password for your account

Field [3] Add sshkey: press the key for the changes to take effect

From now on you can login to Spider with your SSH keys from your laptop (or other computer where your SSH key was generated/transferred). See next, how to login.

2.2. Logging in

The login node is your entry and access point to Spider. From this node you can submit jobs, transfer data and prototype your application. It has a software environment very similar to the worker nodes where your submitted jobs will run.

In order to login to Spider you must have already uploaded your SSH public key on the SURF CUA portal (see Setting up your account)

If you already completed this step once, you are ready to login!

  • Login to Spider via a terminal with the following command:

  • For example, the user homer will login as:

ssh homer@spider.surfsara.nl
#[homer@htp-ui ~]$  # this is the first prompt upon login

Congrats! You’ve just logged in to Spider.


In case that you have multiple keys in your .ssh/ folder, you would need to specify the key that matches the .pub file you uploaded on the SURF CUA portal, i.e. ssh -i ~/.ssh/surfsarakey homer@spider.surfsara.nl


The first time you login to Spider, you need to accept Spider’s SSH key fingerprint. Public key fingerprints can be used to validate a connection to a remote server. Spider’s public key fingerprint is: SHA256:HO8Cz3Fns+DoiK+VFlILbTGYkAOy5i/izzFYc005z+s (ECDSA)

2.3. Getting around

As a user on Spider you are a member of a project, and each project member gets access to the following directories:

2.3.1. Home directory

  • /home/$USER: each project member in a project has her/his personal home space. Only the account owner can read and write data in this directory

2.3.2. Project spaces directories

Project space is a POSIX storage place allocated to each Spider project. It includes the following shares:

  • /project/[PROJECTNAME]/Data: any project-specific data. Any member of the project can read data in this directory, but only the data manager(s) can write data

  • /project/[PROJECTNAME]/Software: any project-specific software. Any member of the project can read/execute software in this directory, but only the software manager(s) can install software

  • /project/[PROJECTNAME]/Share: any data to be shared among the project members. Any member of the project can read and write data in this directory

  • /project/[PROJECTNAME]/Public: Any member of the project can write in this directory. Any data stored here will be read-only by all users on Spider and exposed publicly via http (see how)

The summary table below gives a quick overview of your project space permissions (‘r’-read/’w’-write/’x’-execute):

Directories vs. Access Roles





Project Data manager(s)





Project Software manager(s)





Project normal user(s)





Other Spider project user


Outside Spider user

r– (via the web views)

2.4. Submitting a job

On Spider you will use Slurm to schedule, manage and execute your jobs. Slurm (short for Simple Linux Utility for Resource Management) is an open source, fault-tolerant, highly scalable, cluster management and job scheduling system for Linux clusters. Further information can be found at the Slurm documentation page. You can see the currently installed version of Slurm by typing sinfo --version on the command line.

Let’s run our first job on Spider. Download the sample job script to your home account on the Spider login and inspect the file before submitting it to the cluster:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/sara-nl/spiderdocs/master/source/scripts/welcome-to-spider.sh
chmod u+x welcome-to-spider.sh
  • Submit your job to the cluster:

sbatch welcome-to-spider.sh
#Submitted batch job [JOBID]
  • Check the status of your submitted and not completed job(s):

squeue --job [JOBID] # status of [JOBID]
squeue -u $USER # status of all my jobs
scontrol show jobid [JobID] # detailed info of [JOBID]
  • Check your job output:

cat slurm-[JOBID].out
  • Once your job has completed, you can get job statistics and accounting:

sacct -j [JOBID] --format=JobID,JobName,AveCPU,MaxRSS,Elapsed

More examples of how to use Spider Slurm can be found in section Compute on Spider and more generic info can be found at the Slurm documentation page.

2.5. Common commands

Slurm has many commands with many options, here you have a list with the most common ones. For more information please checkout the Slurm documentation page.


What it does


displays the nodes information


submits a job to the batch system


displays the state of all submitted jobs


cancels a submitted job


shows detailed job, node information (useful for debugging), e.g. scontrol show job [jobID], scontrol show node [worker node]


shows detailed accounting information for jobs

See also

Still need help? Contact our helpdesk