Karst Desktop at IU

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UITS Research Technologies will retire the Karst Desktop service on December 31, 2018.

Its replacement, the Research Desktop (RED) service, was launched in May 2018 and is now fully supported. RED is functionally equivalent to Karst Desktop, except that its dedicated nodes run Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7), whereas Karst Desktop nodes run RHEL 6.

Karst Desktop users should consider migrating their work to RED in the months preceding the retirement date. For requirements and other details, see Research Desktop (RED) at IU. If you have questions about migrating to RED or need help, contact the RED development team.

At Indiana University, Karst Desktop is a remote desktop service for users with accounts on the Karst research supercomputer. Karst Desktop lets you open and control a remote session on Karst from a graphical desktop window running on your personal computer. You can run graphical applications installed on Karst from your Karst Desktop window without noticeable latency. Additionally, you can export your computer's local drives and directories, making them available to you during your remote session, simplifying the transfer of data between your computer and your Karst account. Overall, Karst Desktop provides numerous features that are especially helpful to users who are unaccustomed to working in Unix-like command-line environments.

Most research supercomputers, including those at IU, run Unix-like operating systems that, by default, require you to type commands into a command processor, or shell. If you are accustomed to interacting only with graphical user interfaces (GUIs), such as those in Windows or OS X, learning how to effectively use a Unix-like command-line interface can be a challenge (or even an impediment to your research). The Karst Desktop service is designed to help reduce the learning curve for users with little or no command-line experience and, as a result, promote broader use of IU's research supercomputers.

System information

To use the Karst Desktop service, you need an account on the Karst research supercomputer; if you don't already have an account, see Get additional IU computing accounts.

The Karst Desktop service is supported by more than a dozen dedicated nodes. Each node is equipped with two 8-core Intel Xeon E5-2650 v2 (2.60 GHz) processors and 256 GB of RAM.

Karst Desktop nodes are accessible only from ThinLinc Client connections. You cannot SSH directly to any of the Karst Desktop nodes from a terminal client on your workstation.

Access Karst Desktop

To use Karst Desktop, you need the following:

Once you have an account on Karst and a device enrolled in IU's Duo two-step login service, you can use the ThinLinc Client remote desktop application available from IUware to access Karst Desktop. For instructions, see Download, install, and configure ThinLinc Client to use Karst Desktop at IU.

As of October 14, 2018, access to Karst Desktop requires two-factor authentication using Duo. SSH public-key authentication remains an option for researchers who submit the "SSH public-key authentication to HPS systems" user agreement (log into HPC everywhere beta using your IU username and passphrase), which requires you to agree to set a passphrase on your private key when generating your RSA key pair. If you have questions about how two-factor authentication with Duo may impact your workflows, contact the UITS Scientific Applications and Performance Tuning (SciAPT) team. If you have system-specific questions, contact the UITS High Performance Systems (HPS) team. For help with Duo, see Get started with Two-Step Login (Duo) at IU and Help for Two-Step Login (Duo).

Get help

For more on Karst Desktop, see:

If you have a question or need help with Karst Desktop, contact the Karst Desktop development team.

Support for IU research computing systems, software, and services is provided by the Research Technologies division of UITS. To ask a question or get help, contact UITS Research Technologies.

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Last modified on 2018-10-23 14:53:18.

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