OIT announces a pilot of Research Toolkits, a web-based service that allows researchers to request virtual machines (VMs) and data storage for research projects. Use of the storage or VMs goes through a semester, and can be renewed at the end of the term. The service is available to regular rank faculty who can choose to assign “admin” privileges to people involved in a project. The Research Toolkits interface enables faculty or their designees to manage requests, add team collaborators and manage permissions. Research Toolkits can be accessed at https://rtoolkits.web.duke.edu
Research Toolkits marks the beginning of a more robust on-demand computing service for Duke researchers, and developers Mark McCahill, Liz Wendland, and Sean Dilda are continuing to add features during the pilot, which extends through the Spring 2016 semester. Involvement of Duke researchers is particularly important during this time, since the response to features and feature requests from users of the service will help shape the direction of Research Toolkits.
“People might remember that Google search was ‘beta’ for years and years,” said Mark DeLong, Director of Research Computing at Duke. “During that time Googlers were working to refine their product. Research Toolkits won’t go ‘beta’ as long as that, I hope, but the use of the tools will likewise inform the development of the offerings.”