Research Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (rVDI) to speed up the time to science
Mr Chris Williams1, Ms Yvette Wyborn1, Mr Craig Windell1,2, Prof. Matt Bellgard1
1eResearch Office, Queensland University Of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
2QCIF, Brisbane, Australia
A critical challenge for institution-wide eResearch teams is to efficiently provision analysis environments customised to the needs of researchers. Researcher requirements can range from compute intensive, data intensive, environments requiring specific proprietary software installed, along with seamless access to data from other institution-based systems. Researchers often resort to installing software on their desktop machines, but commonly run into inevitable challenges such as insufficient compute power or storage, inability to share data with colleagues, and so forth.
In supporting and enabling multiple researchers across diverse research disciplines, and institution research infrastructure providers, our eResearch Office needed to deliver a virtual environment that was above the level standard desktops could deliver.
Enter ‘rVDI’, virtual desktops created specifically to support researchers with complex queries and large datasets. These machines allow researchers to ‘transform’ their current computer into a workstation class machine with 16 vCPUs and 64gb of RAM, utilising the virtual infrastructure.
Researchers have been able to obtain significant >10fold speedups for their analysis and they are able to install institution-wide standard software packages themselves seamlessly. Importantly, it is possible to provision preconfigured environments for particular classes of research for large groups of researchers. Management of the environment is a partnership between the eResearch Office and the institution’s IT administrators, combining skills of each team to rapidly deliver solutions to the researchers. In this presentation, we provide an overview of rVDIs and demonstrate their appropriateness to enhance the researcher experience to rapidly speed up the time to science.
Chris Williams in an experienced Information Technology Professional skilled in AWS Solution Architecture, Cloud Migration and Deployment, Linux and Windows System Administration, Databases, Automation , Mentoring team members and IT Strategy.