The Tool Launcher that was developed and deployed with NDS way back in ~2017 or so is quite different from what is available now, but a recap of how it worked:

  • Plugin in Clowder that could be turned on/off
  • Could view and manage running containers (reconnect or delete)
  • Could attach datasets to a container at launch. I don't think you could add data to a container after creation however.
    • Supported either downloading files or mounting them, like an extractor
  • Selection of container types with some pre-configured libraries like pyClowder
  • minimal security...

The features that were most appealing to the scientific community on TERRA:

  • being able to work with a lot of data without downloading it. outside of a mounted environment like TERRA had, this could still be problematic or cost prohibitive to move data around in large volumes, but still removes hassle for users.
  • pre-built environments with complex dependencies like GDAL & netCDF tools
  • Could share URL with others


  • Only real way to capture work or data from those containers was by uploading back into Clowder, direct download was difficult
  • Not everything translates nicely to a browser interface...
    • We didn't really allow people to connect to the machines directly like in a terminal
    • Mainly limited to jupyter and qgis which had nice web interfaces
    • general terminal for other types of containers in browser would be OK too
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