Virtual Computing (VCL)

Service Description

The Virtual Computer Lab (VCL) provides users with anytime, anywhere access to custom application environments created specifically for their use. The VCL provides users with remote access to hardware and software that they would otherwise have to install themselves, or would have to visit a computer lab to use. In the VCL, operating system images with the desired applications and custom configurations are stored in an image library, and they are deployed to a server on-demand when users request them. By simply using a web browser, users can make a reservation for an application, either in advance or immediately, and the VCL will provision that application on a centrally maintained server, and provide the user with remote access to that server. Connection to the remove server is then made via Remote Desktop Client if it's a Windows-based application, or SSH Client if it's Linux-based. Currently, a base set of applications and operating environments are available for use. This set currently includes Windows images with SAS, Stata, Maple, Matlab, MPlus, JMP, and ArcGIS . In addition, there are base images for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Ubuntu, RHEL 5, and Fedora upon which you can build your own custom work environment. You can also start with a base Windows or Linux environment and create a new, customized image by installing the applications you need and saving that image. Later, you or other UNC users whom you authorize can access that customized environment whenever they need. The VCL can also be used as a teaching tool in the classroom. Instructors can arrange to make block reservations on the VCL, where a number of servers with a specific environment preloaded are reserved in advance so that they are immediately available to the students for use during a class. This can be especially useful when teaching the use of a certain application or research tool, or for short training courses.

Hours of Availability

Services are typically available 24x7 other than during planned maintenance periods or unanticipated emergencies (such as loss of commercial power to the data center).

Customer

Faculty, postdocs, staff and students engaged in research or learning to use research applications.

Customer Responsibilities

Responsible use of the resources. Customers who need to work with sensitive data should contact us to discuss their needs and requirements prior to using these services.

How Do We Charge

Currently, there are no charges associated with accounts or usage.

How To Request More Information On Or Request The Service

To use the VCL, visit https://vcl.unc.edu .  Anyone with an Onyen can login and use the VCL.  Additional information is available from http://help.unc.edu/CCM3_007680. You can also emailresearch@unc.edu for more information.