Environments are a secure mechanism used to define environment variables. Environment variables hold values related to a certain environment and they are made available to a certain workflow from the UP42 platform.
Environment variables enable using external services and/or setting specific values that are used repeatedly in a given workflow. The examples below will provide more insights about the advantages of using environmental variables.
If you are exchanging data with a storage system external to UP42, such as AWS S3, Google Cloud Storage or your own storage system, you can pass the credentials of these services as environmental variables in the UP42 console and connect the storage system with the data/processing block (e.g. push or pull data from the storage).
For a more in depth guide on how to properly set up and use environment variables with blocks that access these external storage systems, please refer to the tutorial: How to create environment variables.
If you have a subscription to a 3rd party data service, such as Airbus OneAtlas, you can use this subscription by passing the credentials as environmental variables in the UP42 console and connecting them to your workflow. This allows accessing OneAtlas data based on this subscription and does not consume credits for data usage. Only the infrastructure costs are considered during the job run and they are usually negligible.
This method is valid for any other data provider from the UP42 Marketplace.
If you have an extremely computationally intensive process that runs on your dedicated hardware or on an external cloud infrastructure, then you could get the data through the UP42 marketplace, use our workflow orchestration capabilities and offload the intensive computation into your HPC cluster. To access that resource, you need to pass the credentials as environmental variables and enable the access to the computing resource.
Environments are mostly used for 2 cases:
For 3rd party data and/or processing algorithms currently available in the UP42 Marketplace.
For your own custom block.
If you are building a custom block and want to make use of environments, then please contact customer support.