Australian Research Container Orchestration Services (ARCOS)


Australian Research Container Orchestration Services (ARCOS) is a community of members from various Australian institutions with the aim of establishing a national Kubernetes service and promoting use of containers in research. After rigorous community consultation, the group has released the first draft of "A National View of Containers and Kubernetes in Research". The key findings of the consultations were the opportunities and challenges in the Australian research sector stated as follows:


  • Reproducibility and reusability - containers can package code, libraries and sample data which can be shared and can reproduce exact results every time regardless of execution environment.

  • Portability and distribution - based on the fact that containers can package code and sample data.

  • Minimise infrastructure complexity - Running a container only requires a runtime engine such as Docker, Singularity, etc minimising system requirements.

  • Possibility of platform research projects using container orchestration (Kubernetes) - Kubernetes allows containers to be orchestrated making large scale projects realisable with efficient use of compute resources. Examples of such projects include EcoCommos, ASDC, Jupyterhub, etc.


  • Expertise, experience and practises are isolated and disconnected.

  • Diverse deployments leading to incompatible islands.

  • Kubernetes / Container orchestration is complex with multiple levels of expertise including administration, app development and security.

  • Ability to fully utilise Kubernetes features.

  • Fair containers are rare - The metadata and provenance of containers and the application of FAIR principles to containers needs focus.

The approach

ARCOS intends to address the opportunities and challenges by employing a four tier approach as outlined in the infographic. Firstly, by building a community with an aim to raise awareness, engage national research institutions and foster collaborations. Secondly, by promoting best practices through training of research software engineers, adoption of current practices and by creation of reference implementation. Thirdly, by providing user support, where trained experts and champions support the research software community. Finally, providing user experience by holding regular events, training and national community meetings.

The details of consultation and briefing can be found in - Slides, Video, Paper

Join Us

  • Join the ARCOS Community Group which represents a broader community comprising of members from various national institutions. Through this group, we bring community and industry talks, community discussions, reference implementations and more.

    • For ARCOS community group membership send a blank email to

  • While the Technical Working Group (TWG) comprises technically experienced members collaborating to deliver reference implementations, current practices and sharing knowledge.

    • For ARCOS TWG membership send a blank email to

ARCOS Symposium - 15 Feb 23

Join us for a half-day ARCOS (Australian Research Container Orchestration Services) Symposium on 15 February 2023. The virtual symposium gathers ARCOS members and other interested parties to share expertise, discuss use cases of containers and Kubernetes, and learn about the solutions and services being implemented for modern research.

Featured talk

  • Handle microservice-based architecture challenges with AWS - Dr Aarthi Natarajan, Technical Trainer, AWS

  • ARDC National Jupyter Notebook Service, Andy Botting, Technical Lead, ARDC Nectar Research Cloud

Participating Organisations

Contact Us

Send an email to if you have any further questions.