RESILIENCE has designed its virtual machine service, an important component of the research infrastructure. We asked Marco Büchler and Kirill Bulert of RESILIENCE’s technical partner InfAI in Leipzig, Germany to tell us a bit more about it. What is it? How can we use it?
A virtual machine (VM) is a virtual computer which runs on server to provide the same functionality as a physical computer. Virtualisation allows to share sources and provide sort of virtual computers that can be easily duplicated on-demand if a higher load is expected. The VM’s can be replicated, moved and hosted in various environments (data center, desktop computers, servers, etc.).
The VM is one of the basic components of the services RESILIENCE is going to offer in the near future. According to Marco Büchler of InfAI, it is an important first “block” in the process of building a research infrastructure. The fact that the design of these VM is under its final test phase shows the agility of the research infrastructure team. The building process itself is also very important, according to him: “We get more and more understanding of which issues could be faced and how to solve them. This helps us in improving our services”.
The VM, as a first block in the research infrastructure building process, will function as a fundament for RESILIENCE’s other services, like web server hosting, video conferencing, database servers, etc.
Many of RESILIENCE’s activities will be supported through VM’s, like video conferencing or training. In a near future, research projects should enjoy this service and have their own VM specifically tuned for the project requirements being also available long after the project finished.
Compared to working with a normal computer or laptop, the VM will guarantee a better and faster performance for researchers because the processing and storage capacity of the VM can be configured specifically for the requirements of the project and can be simply adapted over time.
An example is the case for scholars working with OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Recently, this case was tested by a scholar from Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, stating that she got her work done in a day instead of the week she had planned for it. The outcome of this test is very promising according to the developers of RESILIENCE’s VM. It encourages them to discover more applications of the VM service, like an easy and smooth way of developing research.