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Friday, December 10, 2010

ICPSR Technology Resources

I have been working on some boiler-plate text that we plug into grant and contract applications, and it felt like it might make for a mildly interesting blog post.  We are also working on a nice diagram to accompany this narrative, and once that is put together, I'll pass that along too.  Here it is:

ICPSR operates an extensive computing environment.  Our machine room contains dozens of multi-core Linux servers supporting the curation, preservation, and dissemination of social science research data and documentation.  Over 120 desktop workstations access these servers and our EMC NAS storage system, which features over 50 terabytes of capacity. Oracle is our enterprise database management system, and we support all major statistical packages. We are connected to high-speed national and regional data networks via redundant multi-gigabit circuits, and the University of Michigan monitors our production computing systems 24 hours/day, seven days per week, notifying an on-call systems engineer in the event of system degradation.
ICPSR takes advantage of its position within the University of Michigan to gain access to a variety of systems and services, such as preferential software licensing terms, help desk and trouble ticket systems, network vulnerability scanning, desktop virtualization services, managed networks and firewalls, hosted content management systems, collaboration and courseware (Sakai) systems, and desktop workstation software and patch management systems.
ICPSR makes regular use of commercial computing clouds to provision elements of its  cyberinfrastructure, particularly services that require high availability for delivering public-use content.  ICPSR also has regular access to special-purpose, cloud-based infrastructure (Chronopolis, DuraCloud) to support its digital preservation mission.

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