The grid infrastructure that SURFsara offers its users consists of a large number of computer clusters that are linked to one another through a high-speed network connection. These clusters are housed in data centres at a large number of organisations all over the world.

Large-scale calculations

Users can access these computers (or a large number of them) simultaneously in order to perform large-scale calculations and process high-volume data sets. The Grid is especially suited, therefore, to equations that cannot be solved in a single cluster within a reasonable timeframe. For example, experiments such as those involving the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and large-scale DNA analyses are conducted using the Grid. SURFsara offers the Grid service in cooperation with Nikhef and RUG-CIT.

National and European

The Dutch portion of the Grid is connected to EGI, the European Grid Initiative. This allows Grid users in the Netherlands and abroad easy access to one another's resources. EGI also supplies central monitoring and ensures the homogeneity of participating clusters.

Access to data storage and visualisation

The Grid maintains excellent network connections with the rest of the SURFsara data and compute infrastructure: with the facilities for storing data on disk and tape, and visualisation services, for example.

Full range of services

The Grid service in the Netherlands enables you to share resources relating to computational power and data storage securely. This is especially relevant for research communities: the Grid facilitates user-friendly collaboration between researchers in a particular field, both domestically and internationally. Our Grid service can be easily combined with our online data storage service. Grid users have access to the following services:

  • Standard grid services such as user interfaces, brokers and virtual organisation management services;
  • Tools for monitoring logistics and jobs;
  • Virtual file system services (CVMFS) that ensure that centralised software is sent to the proper machines;
  • A vast collection of tools, compilers and libraries;
  • Online tutorials including suggestions for improving performance and other topics.


Our support is available to users at all times. SURFsara has developed an online training course (MOOC) for new users. 


Our helpdesk is available by telephone and email, but can also assist you in person. If you have any questions or want to report a problem, please send an email to or phone +31-208001400. The helpdesk is available during office hours (9:00-17:00).

Case examples

The power of the Grid is most evident in the processing of extremely large data sets. In the following real-life example, you can see how this works:


More (technical) information regarding the use of Grid can be found on the pages with user information for the Grid service. For further questions, please contact us at