What is the Virtual Desktop Service?

The Virtual Desktop Service is a service of the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) and utilises the ARDC Nectar Research Cloud. This service allows researchers to easily and quickly create a Virtual Desktop - A Personal Computer in the cloud.

Enhance your research with quick and easy access to extra computational capabilities.

Need another computer to carry out compute processes for your research? You may find the Virtual Desktop Service useful to free up your laptop/workstation or to have a computer that you can leave running for uninterrupted processing for up to 14 days (with the ability to extend). The Virtual Desktop runs on the ARDC Nectar Research Cloud and offers a number of different desktop environments.

Who can use this service?

The Virtual Desktop Service has been developed by ARDC for researchers to support and enhance their research practices. To access this service, anyone with a AAF account can log in and create Virtual Desktop.

For a tutorial on how to use the Virtual Desktop Service, click here.

What is available?

Currently there are 5 desktops to choose from: Ubuntu 20.04, Centos 7, Fedora Scientific, Neurodesktop (provided by AEDAPT) and GeoDesktop. More desktops will become available as we work with our users and partnering organisations to determine what's needed.
The default size of a Virtual Desktop is 4 virtual CPUs and 8GB RAM. Users will have the option to increase resources if the default is not sufficient for their computing needs. This can be done via the boost function, doubling the desktop size to 8 virtual CPUs and 16GB RAM.
Storage and Applications
A single 50GB volume will be included for the Operating System and Working Storage. Transferring files to your desktop can be done via "drag and drop" to the desktop interface. You can also download and install whatever software you wish onto your Virtual Desktop.
Time Frames
Once you have created a Virtual Desktop, it will be available for an initial 14 days. After the 14 days, the desktop will be automatically shelved to free reserved CPU and memory resources. After a further 30 days in shelved state, the desktop will be deleted. You will be sent email reminders at each stage of the expiry procedures, and you will have the option of extending the life of your desktop, 14 days at a time. Boosted instances expire after 7 days, and can be extended 7 days at a time. When a boost expires, the desktop reverts to standard size. These expiry procedures are designed to reclaim resources used by desktops that are under-utilized or that have been abandoned entirely.

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