PARC Shared Terminal Server
The PARC shared terminal server is a 64 bit 4 X quad networked server available to PARC staff, students, and affiliated researchers. The server provides substantial computational and storage capacity for both individual and group projects. It currently contains an archive of commonly used aging data sets available to researchers who have registered with the appropriate data vendor. Allowing multi-user access to one set of core files promotes three main goals:
1. Prevents redundancy of having each user download, unpack, and organize their own data; this is particularly efficient for large multi-wave survey projects that may contain hundreds of files.
2. One set of files encourages consistency in coding. As the PARC data manager organizes and updates each set of files, each user will see the same complete set of up-to-date files. This encourages standardization of coding and facilitates collaboration between project partners.
3. Creation of a library of code saves time for new users and promotes the sharing of ideas between more seasoned researchers.
In addition to our primary goal of encouraging innovative research in the demography of aging, the shared terminal server’s collaborative approach saves time and money in several ways:
1. For users without appropriate computers or software, the shared terminal server provides a fully functioning virtual environment that provides resources from the first login. This is especially important for students or temporary collaborators who may not be willing to invest in the latest version of STATA or SAS for a short-term project.
2. For faculty working from multiple sites, including those working from home, the need to heavily invest in redundant equipment and software is eliminated. Even an older computer with limited functionality can harness the full potential of the shared terminal server. Just as PARC inventories data updates and achieves versions of the same dataset on the server, we also upgrade and maintain any necessary hardware or software so that the end user doesn’t have to.
3. The virtual desktop environment of the shared terminal server allows for easy collaboration from both local users and those at a distance. We are currently actively involved with projects in a number of countries across three continents. Quick and easy communication allows for full engagement by all project personnel.
We are constantly trying to improve the shared terminal server experience for all users and welcome suggestions. Besides the analysis software already mentioned, users have the option of working with Microsoft SharePoint.