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Using Research Toolkits

Project Based Resources – Watch this YouTube tutorial for step by step instructions

After logging in, Duke faculty have the ability to create projects where they add resource administrators and team members. Once the project is created, project admins can add and remove services: RAPID VMs, which draw from the faculty members allocation, or Data Commons scratch storage space.

Building and Managing RAPID VMs

  • Choose a base template (Operating System and pre-installed software) as well as size the virtual machine using the on screen sliders. Once you complete the request, the VM will be provisioned and the status will automatically be updated to let you know when it is ready (up to 3 hours)
  • Once provisioned, RToolkits will display all the attributes you need to access and log in as an administrator to your VM
  • Use the manage button to access management functions such as remote power on, restart, refresh OS, take a snapshot, or export the VM.

Adding Storage

  • Add a Data Commons allotment between 50GB and 100GB. Provisioning should take just a few minutes
  • Once provisioned, RToolkits will display the mount URL to access the storage
  • From RToolkits, you can also define permissions for users (read only, or read write) using the user icon

So you have a project with virtual computing and/or storage resources, now what?

Log in: to the RAPID VM using the hostname, user id, and password. Linux machines are available using SSH, and Windows machines are available using Remote Desktop. You may need to use the University VPN from some campus locations as well as from off campus.

Install applications: As the administrator of the VM, you can install your own software or obtain software from to install. You can even install a web server so that people inside and outside of Duke can interact with your research.

Manage data: Storage space is not large on your VM so plan on using additional storage options for large data: use and transfer data through the Web with a service like Duke Box, mount to existing Duke data storage (see these instructions for Data Commons), use sftp or wget to directly transfer files at the command line.

Once you are done with your VM or storage, project administrators can delete them and return resources back to the faculty allocation for re-use.

Remember: project owners administratively own RAPID VMs and Data Commons storage and are responsible for use and management of these services. These services are not backed up and cannot be restored once deleted. Do not use these services with sensitive data.