Analytics Environments on Demand

Researchers need easy access to analytic computing environments that are designed to fit their needs. BRC's new Analytics Environments on-Demand (ÆoD) service, currently under development, is intended for researchers who need to run analytic software packages (such as Stata, SPSS, R Studio, etc.) on a platform that is scaled up from a standard laptop or workstation, in an environment that is familiar and readily accessible.

In the discovery and design phase of ÆoD, we learned:

  • that the demand for an ÆoD service extends to many academic domains, from demography to business, from public policy to sociology and law. The ÆoD service at launch will be able to meet the requirements of many domains, and will be expanded over time to include others. 
  • researchers using the software tools included in ÆoD compute in a highly interactive way. They need easy access to additional software libraries and to be able to integrate their own custom modules with proprietary software.
  • researchers need the ability to write results and log files to local storage.
  • the compute power necessary for a research desktop equates to multiple cores and at least 8GBs of RAM. The ÆoD service will provide VMs with these specifications as a standard, but upon request, will be able to provide VMs with up to 16 cores and 192GBs of RAM. Benchmarking tests suggest that most compute jobs in the ÆoD realm of computing will complete within three hours.
  • a consulting service for ÆoD and a process-driven onboarding program will be critical to the success of the service.
  • ongoing partnership with reseachers, departmental IT Staff, IST and CSS are also essential for the success of the service.

The ÆoD Service is currently:

  • testing a backend infrastructure for ÆoD, leveraging IST infrastructure and services
  • testing Windows-based prototype research VMs, with access to local and cloud-based storage
  • defining MOUs for a production service with IST and CSS partners

The ÆoD is planning:

  • a narrow launch of the AEoD service in Fall 2016
  • Linux-based research VMs, with access to local and cloud-based storage, Spring 2017


Current Phase of Development - Prototype and Build

Working with faculty, institutional partners and IT staff from across the campus, BRC conducted a series of design experiments to identify the characteristics of the needed analytics environments. The discovery phase for this service is complete. We are currently in the prototype-build phase, continuing work with partners at D-Lab, Haas and GSPP.

Please contact Research IT at with any questions or comments on this emerging service.

Phase Projected Dates
Discovery and Design March, 2016
Prototype - Build June, 2016
Test - Review - Revise July, 2016
Scope 1 - Service Proposal September, 2016
Narrow launch of ÆoD Service - Phase 1 Fall 2016