Completed project: New models for Stat/Math software delivery

Primary UITS contact: John Samuel

Completed: March 3, 2014

Description: For over 20 years, UITS Research Analytics (formerly the Stat/Math Center) has provided the IU community with low-cost licensing, installation support, usage consultation, and in-depth training for a variety of desktop applications, including statistical software, mathematical software, GIS software, and professional graphics and engineering software. As a part of an ongoing effort to increase the availability, utilization, and supportability of these tools for research and education, Research Analytics is actively exploring new ways to license, deliver, and support its suite of software offerings. Recent UITS initiatives in virtualization of both desktops and servers as well as changes in availability of high-performance computing resources promise to play an important role in this evolution.

Outcome: Some short-term and long-term outcomes and benefits of this project include:

  • Anywhere availability of supported software packages, as well as more consistent user experience and greater availability of user and shared files
  • Reduced effort for one-off installations results in more time for Research Analytics experts to engage in training and usage consultation and reduces support overhead for department IT Pros.
  • Shared license pools encourage exploration and utilization of most applicable packages and options.
  • Future iterations may provide scalable back-end resources to allow greater memory sizes and more processing and rendering power than are available on most personal computers.
  • Future efforts with virtualization may also offer solutions to important needs for data security originating from researchers, institutional policies, and government mandates.

Milestones and status:

  • 2010: Research Analytics staff participate in Client Virtualization (CV) project requirements gathering and tests, as well as Virtual Implementation Strategy Team (VIST) processes. Completed
  • June 2011: IU and IBM sign campus value license for SPSS (statistical package) that includes VCL (virtual computer lab). Completed
  • July-August 2011: Infrastructure for Research Analytics use case developed. Completed
  • September 2011: SPSS and R (statistical and analysis packages) deployed through CV (IUanyWare) and in test program with SPEA. Completed
  • Mid-fall 2011: SAS (statistical package) deployed through CV. Completed
  • November 2011: Seven software packages (Maple 15, Mathematica 8, Minitab 15, R 2.13, SAS 9.3, SPSS 19, Stata 12) available from the virtualized environment, beta test stage, for IU students. Faculty and staff can also request permission to access the software from the virtualized environment. MATLAB is currently available from RT Mason cluster. Completed
  • November 2011: Additional software deployment under CV is in the works.
  • Winter 2012: Mathematica, Maple, and MATLAB (mathematics and analysis packages) to be deployed through CV. Completed
  • Spring 2012: Statistical and numerical software support for clients via CV environment continues.
  • July 10, 2012: Statistical and numerical software support for clients via CV environment entered the production stage.
  • September 2012-May 2013: Over the 2012-13 academic year, we have noticed a significant reduction in the distribution of statistical and mathematical software packages to individuals as users shift to IUanyWare.

Events and presentations:

  • Announcement at 2011 Statewide IT conference

Comment process: Contact Research Analytics if you have comments or requests regarding Research Analytics supported software or packages you would like to see deployed in CV.

Benefits: This project addresses several key recommendations and actions in Empowering People, including:

  • Action 4: Cyberinfrastructure advancement: Analysis and visualization packages supported by Research Analytics are a critical component of IU's advanced cyberinfrastructure; scaling supported applications from desktops to more advanced computing platforms reinforces researchers' competitiveness for national grants.
  • Action 5: Philosophy of abundance: More centralized methods for software licensing and delivery result in pervasive availability for research and education.
  • Action 7: Consolidated services: New models leverage services offered by Client Virtualization and Intelligent Infrastructure, as well as RT's high-performance systems; this results in lower support cost and wider availability.
  • Action 27: Human-centered support: Efficiencies allow Research Analytics consultants to spend more time providing training and personalized consultation on software use.
  • Action 71: IT-enabled research resources: An evolving licensing and financial model for Research Analytics may require reallocation of resources within UITS, as well as new fee structures with major users.

Client impact: The outcomes for Research Analytics clientele should be overwhelmingly positive. (See "Outcomes" above.) However, over time, as packages are proven successful in these virtual delivery environments, many may no longer be available for installation on individual workstations under the university's licensing agreements. In addition, licensing and support for lesser-used software packages may be discontinued. Research Analytics will endeavor to educate clients, provide substantial advanced notice, assist users with the transition to alternate packages, and seek to minimize the negative impact of any changes.

Project team:

  • Research Analytics manager and software consultants
  • Client Virtualization support team
  • Leading departmental users (e.g., SPEA) and IT Pros

Governance:

  • John Samuel, Manager, Research Analytics Center
  • Eric Wernert, Director, Visualization and Analytics, Research Technologies
  • Craig Stewart, Associate Dean, Research Technologies and Executive Director, Pervasive Technology Institute

Risks: Presently, a significant portion of the Research Analytics operation is funded from software resale to departments and individuals. Virtualization will dramatically alter this funding model and will necessitate new and alternate sources of funding for staff and licenses.

This is document bbfi in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2017-08-17 11:21:26.

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