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Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud computing offers new possibilities to scientific communities. One of the most significant is the ability to elastically provision and relinquish new resources in response to changes in demand. In our work, we develop a model of an “elastic site” that efficiently adapts services provided within a site, such as batch schedulers, storage archives, or Web services to take advantage of elastically provisioned resources. We describe the system architecture along with the issues involved with elastic provisioning, such as security, privacy, and various logistical considerations. To avoid over- or under-provisioning the resources we propose three different policies to efficiently schedule resource deployment based on demand. We have implemented a resource manager, built on the Nimbus toolkit to dynamically and securely extend existing physical clusters into the cloud. Our elastic site manager interfaces directly with local resource managers, such as Torque. We have developed and evaluated policies for resource provisioning on a Nimbus-based cloud at the University of Chicago, another at Indiana University, and Amazon EC2. We demonstrate a dynamic and responsive elastic cluster, capable of responding effectively to a variety of job submission patterns. We also demonstrate that we can process 10 times faster by expanding our cluster up to 150 EC2 nodes.