Harvey Mudd College is a member of a consortium called LabSTOR. In fact, we helped set it up, along with Allegheny, Middlebury and Occidental. LabSTOR uses Apache software called VCL (Virtual Computing Lab) that was originally created at North Carolina State University. It is designed to allow remote access to computing environments that include applications usually found only in campus computing labs, hence the “virtual computing lab” moniker. It also allows for high performance computing (HPC) on the same infrastructure as used for the Virtual Labs. The advantage of doing this through a consortium include reduced costs and, potentially, more bargaining power when it comes to negotiating license agreements. It also allows one to rethink how physical space is used.
In early January, Longsight, the company that we have contracted with through NITLE, brought the system up and began arranging training for the people on each campus who will be creating “images” (virtual environments that contain an operating system and applications) that can be run through LabSTOR. It was very exciting and gratifying to see this happen, since it seems so long ago that I had the first conversations with Rick Holmgren (CIO, Allegheny). Throughout the Spring Semester LabSTOR will be in pilot mode. At the end of the semester each institution will be deciding whether to proceed to full production in the Fall.
We plan to test ODE Architect in this environment. If you have ideas about other applications we might put in LabSTOR (eg. something you have to go to a lab to use, either a lab managed by CIS or one managed by a department), then please let us know. We will work with the vendor to ensure that we comply with licensing terms and then try the application out in the virtual lab.
For more information see:
LabSTOR blog at http://labstor.blogspot.com
Earlier news item: http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=393
ODE Architect: http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=609