Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) is a service that allows Duke users to reserve a computer with specialized software and access it remotely from anywhere that you have Internet access. Virtual machines are available for the current versions of Matlab (Windows XP/7 & Linux) as well as Microsoft Office (Windows XP/7). Course-specific programs are also available for several schools.
Duke CoLab Virtual Machines (VM)s are designed to be used for software development and testing for coursework and student projects - these VMs are not sized (or intended) to host large scale production services such as high-volume web sites.
To facilitate the software development process, CoLab VM users have complete control over their VM, have root (administrator-level) access, can install software and libraries, can stop and restart the VM, etc. Most importantly, CoLab VM users are responsible for applying security patches and backing up their work and data to protect against hardware failures and possible security exploits. Users are assumed to be capable of administering their Linux VM.
CoLab VMs do not include typical Duke-managed VM services such as OIT system administrator support for the operating system, automated backups, and a SLA (service level agreement) for uptime. While the CoLab VMs are run on Duke system class hardware and the OIT systems group treats the VMware cluster as an important service, sensitive or critical services should not be hosted on the CoLab VMs. CoLab VMs, by default, are are sized with 2 CPU, 2 GB RAM, 30 GM storage. Think of these as test and development "sandbox" VMs that are typically used for a semester-long project.
Short-term reservations for up to 8 consecutive hours can be made via the Virtual Computing Lab online tool.
Students may also login remotely through SSH (secure shell) to access Linux computers for short term projects. SSH to login.oit.duke.edu.
Semester-long reservations can be made online via the VM Manager online tool.
At the scheduled time, the program image is loaded onto a virtual machine, which is accessible from the user's desktop via Remote Desktop client.