RAPID VMs are virtual machines created with Research Toolkits. RAPID VMs are create as part of a “project” in Research Toolkits. The virtual machines can be variously sized (RAM and CPU-cores) and run Linux operating systems or Windows 10 (as of December 2016). Some specialized, web-based services such as Jupyter are also available in RAPID VM “templates” for creation in VMs.
RAPID VMs are not appropriate to use for analysis or storage of sensitive information. If your research project uses sensitive information, please contact email@example.com or the ITSO at firstname.lastname@example.org. Accommodations for most research projects using sensitive data can be arranged.
Who can create a RAPID VM: Regular-rank faculty have privileges to create a project, and members of projects, assigned by regular-rank faculty, can be granted “admin” privileges. Members with “admin” privileges are able to create RAPID VMs, and they draw from allocations available from regular-rank faculty involved in the project. Information about the allocations is here. Information about how to add a member to a Research Toolkit group is here .
Assuming you have the appropriate privileges, here’s how to create a RAPID VM:
- Log in to Research Toolkits (https://rtoolkits.web.duke.edu/).
- In the project list, click on the project that you want to provide a RAPID VM.
- Click on the “Add a Service” button next to the name of the project. A drop-down list of services will be displayed.
- Choose “RAPID” and click. A window will be displayed.
- Choose a “template” from the drop-down list. A “template” is a type of operating system or a specialized application that runs on the virtual machine. Among Linux distributions, Ubuntu 14 and 16 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 are currently available. Windows 10 is available. Some specialized scientific applications such as R-Studio and Jupyter are also available.
- Configure the number of CPUs, the RAM (Random Access Memory), and the local storage size by using the “sliders” in the bottom part of the window. These sliders show the currently available allocation you have available. If multiple people are making allocations available, their allocations will also be visible.
- When you have completed the steps, click “Create” to initiate the process of creating the RAPID VM. If you wish to back out of the process, click “Close” instead.
- The RAPID VM will be listed as “pending” and when it is complete, the status will change to “ready.”
- NOTE: For some templates (such as “Jupyter”) the VM may take longer to complete and may not be completely ready even though the status of the RAPID VM is listed as “ready.” This is because of orchestration that takes place “behind the scenes” that may take up to 3 hours to complete.
How to access a RAPID VM:
- RAPID VMs that are ready for use in a project are listed on the project page that you see when you click on a project name after you log in to Research Toolkits (https://rtoolkits.web.duke.edu). The service is labeled as type “RAPID,” and completed RAPID VMs are labeled with the status “ready.”
- “Attributes” of the RAPID VM show the name of the machine — essentially, the address of the VM on the Duke network — and the characteristics of the machine in CPU count, RAM and local storage sizes, and the “template” used to create the VM. The user and password are also listed, and those are used to gain access to the machine.
- Click on the “View password” button to see the password that is initially assigned to the user.
- Log in to the RAPID VM using the hostname, user, and password. Linux machines are available using SSH, and Windows machines are available using Remote Desktop. From off-campus locations, your will need to use VPN to gain access to Windows machines.
- When you log in, change the password for the user.
- You have administrative privileges over the RAPID VM you create. The user listed on the Research Toolkits web page has either “sudo” privileges on Linux machines or administrator privileges on Windows machines.