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Research IT Resources

The Research IT Resources Guide is an effort to document and network research IT resources that are available on campus.  We are continually reaching out to the experts behind those services and aiming to bring greater visibility to these resources. Please submit feedback so that we may create and promote multiple avenues of connection between Vanderbilt scholars and the solutions to their identified or not-yet-identified IT needs.

Vanderbilt Creative Data Solutions is a shared resource that offers many data related services, including data analysis. The Vanderbilt Library Office of Digital Scholarship and Scholarly Communications offers workshops every Friday at 11:10am.  They also offer a wide range of weekly working groups.  While the topics offered by their workshops vary, the working groups cover XQuery, Tiny Data, and Semantic Web. Library reference training and workshops are also available upon request to your subject liaison. The Center for Quantitate Sciences offers workshops every third Friday of the month.  See the complete schedule here. The Vanderbilt Center for Digital Humanities can also help with your humanities related data analysis needs. That Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical Translation Research offers bootcamps and training for Vanderbilt researchers, as well as vouchers to help fund pilot projects in translational research.

Statistics

The Department of Biostatistics offers workshops and clinics, supporting a wide range of needs, such as the R Clinic, Biostatistics Clinic, Clinical Research Center workshops, the Center for Quantitative Science workshops, as well as the Statistical Computing Series.  Find a complete list of their resources here. The Kennedy Center also offers Biostatistics an Bioinformatics education and consultation in experimental design, data collection and storage, analysis, and interpretation of findings.

Visualizations

Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning has a working group that reviews popular techniques for data visualization, for more information contact Gayathri Narasimham. The VU Library Tiny Data  working group meet weekly. Vanderbilt Creative Data Solutions has a number of resources aimed at providing researchers with data visualization support
From data collection to data reuse, Vanderbilt has various resources available to help researchers create, store, analyze, and preserve their data.  REDCap is a secure survey and data management tool.  This web-based tool can be sued to both build and manage surveys for online distribution.  REDCap has the capability to export data in commonly used formats (CSV, SPSS, SAS, Stata, R), as well as advanced tools to ease survey and data workflows. There are an number of open source and other survey collection tools available to researchers, such as:

Library Data Resources

Vanderbilt Libraries has a number of data related resources.  They have a Data Curation specialist that can advise on proper data techniques for curation and archiving.  The libraries also maintain subscriptions to repositories, such as ICPSR, the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research.  The Owen Management Library has a number of business databases, as well as a Business and Data Analyst Librarian.  The library can not only help you curate your data, but also help you to decide which database options are best for your particular project.

Vanderbilt University Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education (ACCRE)

Services

The Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education is comprised of High Performance Computing services that provide an environment for a wide variety of research projects across Vanderbilt. These services include high performance computing, storage, tape backup, and private gateway management.  ACCRE also offers developmental services for big data needs. To request an account and learn how to get started using the cluster please see the User Support pages.

Pricing

Service* Research Price** ($) Full Price** ($)
Cluster Support Fee (per node) 480 1070
Cluster Use Fee (per core) 84 128
GPFS Filesystem Quota (per TB), /data 204 317
GPFS Filesystem Quota (per TB), /scratch 150 235
Custom Gateway, Basic (per server) 840 1873
Custom Gateway, Intermediate (per server) 960 2140
Custom Gateway, Complex (per server) 1080 2408
Tape Backups (per TB), Internal Server 180 254
Tape Backups (per TB), External Server 336 481
* Service use payments based on a fiscal year commitment billed monthly ** All prices listed on a per year basis
For more detailed information please visit the ACCRE site.

Data Storage Resources

There are several storage options available do Vanderbilt researchers.  The research need will determine storage type; on-site storage vs cloud storage. The three types of storage available to the campus are: The quickest and easiest to access for low-level storage needs, while also satisfying criteria for sensitive data, is Vanderbilt Box.  Vanderbilt Box is free for Vanderbilt users, and allows up to 50GB of storage with more available upon request.  Vanderbilt Box also offers the ability for researchers to collaborate and create shared folders and projects, while also giving them the ability to share with external collaborators. The Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education (ACCRE) is also available to the campus community for a fee. ACCRE is meant to bring high level, secure storage to the campus community with several pricing options.  The cost is $150/TB/yr for storage with no backup, and $204/TB/yr with nightly backup.  ACCRE storage is accessed only through the cluster.  Support for mounting to local machines is generally not recommended.  ACCRE is generally not recommended for sharing of small to medium sized data sets with external collaborators and is not set up to be secure for FERPA, HIPAA, or ePHI data. Distributed Online Research Storage (DORS) can also provide higher-levels of storage to researchers on campus for a fee.  For example, DORS is available for $204/TB/yr and is backed up nightly.  DORS is also available for both desktop access as well as ACCRE cluster access.  This is good for researchers that need centralized storage with high-speed campus-wide accessibility to and from ACCRE.  DORS is generally not recommended for sharing of small to medium sized data sets with external collaborators and is not set up to be secure for FERPA, HIPAA, or ePHI data.

VUIT Storage

VUIT offers two product offerings to meet disk storage needs. One is a Storage Area Network (SAN). The SAN solution attaches to a computer or server and appears as a locally attached network drive. SAN is typically used for high performance database systems. Our other product offering is Network Attached Storage (NAS). The NAS solution connects directly to the network to provide centralized storage. The NAS solution is typically used for file serving without a file server. For more information about SAN and NAS, see the Product Description in Quick Links. How to Request Service A department representative can complete an order in the VUIT product and services catalog in eProcurement at: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/procurement/eprocurement/index.shtml. To learn more about the VUIT Co-location Service, contact your Customer Relationship Manager.

Looking Ahead

The Research IT Working Group is working to outline AWS-to-ACCRE customized computing and storage solutions.  Services will be drafted based on these recommendations. Research input is highly sought after.  Please comment on such service here.  T

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Data Storage Resources

There are several storage options available do Vanderbilt researchers.  The research need will determine storage type; on-site storage vs cloud storage. The three types of storage available to the campus are: The quickest and easiest to access for low-level storage needs, while also satisfying criteria for sensitive data, is Vanderbilt Box.  Vanderbilt Box is free for Vanderbilt users, and allows up to 50GB of storage with more available upon request.  Vanderbilt Box also offers the ability for researchers to collaborate and create shared folders and projects, while also giving them the ability to share with external collaborators. The Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education (ACCRE) is also available to the campus community for a fee. ACCRE is meant to bring high level, secure storage to the campus community with several pricing options.  The cost is $150/TB/yr for storage with no backup, and $204/TB/yr with nightly backup.  ACCRE storage is accessed only through the cluster.  Support for mounting to local machines is generally not recommended.  ACCRE is generally not recommended for sharing of small to medium sized data sets with external collaborators and is not set up to be secure for FERPA, HIPAA, or ePHI data. Distributed Online Research Storage (DORS) can also provide higher-levels of storage to researchers on campus for a fee.  For example, DORS is available for $204/TB/yr and is backed up nightly.  DORS is also available for both desktop access as well as ACCRE cluster access.  This is good for researchers that need centralized storage with high-speed campus-wide accessibility to and from ACCRE.  DORS is generally not recommended for sharing of small to medium sized data sets with external collaborators and is not set up to be secure for FERPA, HIPAA, or ePHI data.

Cloud Storage

2000px-AmazonWebservices_Logo.svgVUIT has an enterprise account with Amazon Web Services.  Using the enterprise account provided by VUIT has many advantages: secure access between ACCRE, DORS, and AWS, automated tools at watch services to prevent account overages, start/stop management of processes in order to save time/money, enterprise level support model with Amazon, and consultative support with VUIT.

VUIT Managed Storage

VUIT offers two product offerings to meet disk storage needs. One is a Storage Area Network (SAN). The SAN solution attaches to a computer or server and appears as a locally attached network drive. SAN is typically used for high performance database systems. Our other product offering is Network Attached Storage (NAS). The NAS solution connects directly to the network to provide centralized storage. The NAS solution is typically used for file serving without a file server. For more information about SAN and NAS, see the Product Description in Quick Links. How to Request Service A department representative can complete an order in the VUIT product and services catalog in eProcurement at: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/procurement/eprocurement/index.shtml. To learn more about the VUIT Co-location Service, contact your Customer Relationship Manager.

ACCRE Storage

The Vanderbilt Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education offers several High-Performance Computation and Storage solutions that covers many of the Research IT needs on campus. Cold Archive:
  • Cost: 1-time cost covering storage for 10 years.  Any access incurs additional fees
  • Target:  Satisfy data retention polices for no longer needed data
  • Accessibility: Anywhere, including both on and off campus and ACCRE.
  • Platforms: Any device with a Web browser or a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer for command line tools.
  • Authourization: VUnetID
  • Details: The data is stored on tape and the tapes removed from the library.  It is assumed the data will only be accessed in case of an emergency.  If so the tapes will be loaded back into the library and data restored at an additional fee.  The price is for data retention of 10 years only. Users can access the data using a web browser, command line tools, or high level library for those that want a tighter workflow integration.
Hot Archive:
  • Cost: Monthly cost based on data stored.  No additional access fees.
  • Target: Cheap bulk storage where immediate access isn’t required.
  • Accessibility: Anywhere, including both on and off campus and ACCRE.
  • Platforms: Any device with a Web browser or a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer for command line tools.
  • Authorization: VUnetID
  • Details: The data is stored on tape and that users can actively store and retrieve data using a web browser, command line tools, or high level library for those wanting a tighter workflow integration.  No additional costs to retrieve data although there will be a delay based on usage.  We expect 24 hour turn around on all requests with most cases significantly less.
Tape Backup:
  • Cost: Monthly fee based on data stored.
  • Target:  Backup of local storage
  • Accessibility: Campus only
  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, or Linux server
  • Authorization: N/A
  • Details: Provide remote backup of a local disk array in case of data loss due to accidental deletion or hardware failure.  Backups are performed daily with a retention policy of 90 days.
General Parallel File System (GPFS):
  • Cost: Monthly cost based on data stored. No additional fees.
  • Target: High performance storage for small files accessible from the ACCRE cluster. Light usage available outside ACCRE is a available.
  • Accessibility: ACCRE cluster with light usage available elsewhere via SAMBA.
  • Platform: Linux
  • Authorization: ACCRE authentication
  • Details: This is ACCRE’s primary shared resource (/home, /data, scratch) and is transitioning to focus on large volumes of small files with fast access times greatly improving user experience on ACCRE.

Looking Ahead

The Research IT Working Group is working to outline AWS-to-ACCRE customized computing and storage solutions.  Services will be drafted based on these recommendations. Research input is highly sought after.  Please comment on such service here.  There are currently two new storage services under development by ACCRE, LStore and AuriStor. AuriStor:
  • Cost: Monthly cost based on data stored.  No additional access fees.
  • Target: Distributed shared storage with policies managed by a local manager with ACCRE providing hardware support.
  • Accessibility: Anywhere, including both on and off campus and ACCRE (light usage).
  • Platforms: Native file system driver integrated into Windows, MacOS and Apple iOS, and Linux.
  • AuthN: VUnetID along with 3rd party tools.
  • Details: Each AuriStor server is designed to be placed near it’s intended user base, ie within the department or core.  It appears as a traditional drive on all available platforms and will use VUnetID for authentication with an optional 3rd party authentication if needed.  A local representative will control permissions along with adding and removing users.  The data can be accessed outside VU and external collaborators can be added.  Data can be replicated via a read-only copies to other locations.  This includes both on and off campus.
LStore:
  • Cost: Monthly cost based on data stored. No additional access fees.
  • Target: Cheap bulk storage for large files accessible from the ACCRE cluster.  Light usage available from outside ACCRE available.
  • Accessibility: ACCRE cluster with light usage available elsewhere via SAMBA.
  • Platforms: Linux
  • AuthN: ACCRE authentication.
  • Details: LStore is a VU project that has been under active development for over 10 years and is used heavily by several high energy physics groups on campus.  It’s focus is providing cheap, fault-tolerant, and highly performant storage in a shared cluster environment.