How to log in to ECMWF computing facilities

You need to be registered as a user at ECMWF, and have an ActivIdentity token. This security token generates passcodes, also referred to as one-time passwords (OTP), which are used in place of ordinary passwords. Please remember that after you have entered 10 wrong PINs, the token will be locked.

Security tokens are issued and administered by Computing Representatives or Call Desk. More information on the token usage can be found in the ActivIdentity token leaflet.

Methods of access

The ECaccess gateway at ECMWF provides interactive access to our computing facilities via the Internet for registered users. If a local gateway is installed at your organisation, this is the preferred method of access. Contact your Computing Representative for information on the methods available to you, which may include the following:

SSH connection

You can open an ssh session on one of the ECMWF systems. Your ECMWF user identifier (uid) and security token passcode are necessary for each login. At the final prompt you can choose the system you want to connect to.

Additionally, with the -X option you can enable X11 forwarding. Please note that the actual host names used may differ from the ones shown in the following example session:

%ssh -l uid -X
Authorized access only.

                ... banner ...
Password authentication
uid's password

               ... help text ...
Select hostname (ecgate, c2a) [ecgate]:

Web access

To access our computing facilities via your web browser, just point it to the ECaccess login page where you can choose between the following options:

Web session

Using a web interface, you will be able to do the most common tasks:

  • Manage your files (browsing, deleting, copying, etc)
  • Transfer files
  • Submit jobs and view the queues

Just point your browser to the ECaccess login page and under the heading 'Web session', log in with your ECMWF uid and passcode. The idle time after which the system will log you out can be changed according to your preference.

See the ecaccess documentation for more information.

NX session

It is possible to open an interactive session, with support for GUI applications, on one of our systems directly from your web browser. You can open an xterm with a session on the desired system, or run other graphical applications such as Metview. There is also the option to start a full virtual desktop.

Under the heading 'NX interactive session', using various drop down menus in the bottom part of the page you will be able to select the type of NX session you want to establish. Please note that your web browser needs to be Java enabled.

By selecting the 'floating window' option you will get a single X Window application like xterm or Metview (you can choose the application using the next menu). If, instead, you select 'virtual desktop' you will get a fully working desktop using the WindowMaker window manager. In this case you can select the 'Virtual desktop resolution' to be either 'available area' or 'full screen'. 

For some examples on how to connect using NX please refer to our ecaccess documentation.

Standalone NX access

Rather than using NX via your browser, you can also download a standalone NX client for your platform from the NoMachine website. During the login process you will have the option to use the link to the 'Session file' to download a complete configuration file which can be used with your standalone NX client. With this approach you can have multiple configuration files, say, one for a standalone xterm on the supercomputer and another one for a full virtual desktop on ecgate, and then select the appropriate one from your NX client.

For more information please refer to our ecaccess documentation.