Research Virtual Machine

Research Virtual Machine (RVM) is a subscription-based service that provides virtual machines (VMs) to the CWRU research community.  VMs behave and provide the same user experience as you would have with physical hardware, except resources (RAM, CPU, Storage) can be expanded or reduced based on need. UTech monitors and maintains the underlying hardware so there is no longer a need to keep servers in offices and labs. 

Availability + Service Expectations

  • RVM is currently available to Case faculty for academic and research purposes
  • RCCI-managed services include provisioning VMs, assigning an IP address and hostname, installing a base operating system, and providing access. 
  • VMs are not backed up unless special arrangements are made.
  • Technical services are available 24x7 subject to planned maintenance or hardware failure.
  • Administrative assistance is available during business hours.
  • All usage of the RCCI RVM service is provided through subscriptions to VMs. 
  • Subscription Options:
    • Each faculty member may subscribe to the VM and receive one rvm.large VM type at no cost. 
    • Beyond this no-cost VM, the faculty member may acquire additional RVM subscriptions per the current standard fee schedule available in iLab. 
    • Faculty may elect to establish subscriptions through hardware and software contribution to the RVM infrastructure rather than through the payment of fees.
  • The service is not intended to replace established RCCI services such as High Performance Computing, Hadoop, and Research Data Storage that are designed for activities that are particularly compute or data intensive.
  • The service is not intended to store human subject research data unless special arrangements are made.

Responsibilities associated with the RVM subscription

The faculty subscriber controls use of the RVM subscription and provisioned VM. The faculty subscriber's and the faculty subscriber’s delegates' responsibilities include:

  • Managing operating systems and other software in the provisioned VM, including patching, upgrades, configuration, firewalls, network addressing and management;
  • performing all security scans, intrusion detection, log inspection, and other forms of system integrity tracking, performance monitoring, and troubleshooting for the  provisioned VM;
  • complying with all applicable CWRU security, privacy, IT, and other policies and procedures, and with applicable state and federal laws and regulations;
  • patching of provisioned VMs with vendor-supplied fixes of security vulnerabilities for both applications and operating systems; and
  • providing user access to provisioned VMs, for example to the faculty member’s designated graduate students, research staff, postdocs, and visiting scholars.

If you need assistance with any of these responsibilities RCCI offers additional services that may be added to the subscription.

UTech Supported Operating Systems

  • Windows Server 2016 and above
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and above

Potential Uses of RVM

  • Database server for collecting and storing research data
  • Web application server
  • License server
  • Science Gateways
  • Research wikis
  • Event-driven science

To learn more information regarding this service please view our Research Virtual Machine Service Document.


  • High Performance Computing - The HPC is a critical resource for an expanding spectrum of research. It enables investigators to solve large-scale, data intensive, advanced computational problems on topics across the disciplinary fields faster, more accurately, and more efficiently.
  • Research Data Storage - The Research Data Storage (RS) service provides easy, reliable, and immediate access to research data from on-campus offices (as a mapped drive in Windows or an NFS mounted file system in Linux or OSX) as well as from the HPC cluster systems. All data is replicated between the two CWRU data centers to protect against a data center disaster and can be purchased in 1 TB increments. The system provides recovery from accidental file deletion through snapshots and maintains seven days worth of revisions.
  • Consultation Services - RCCI can provide the necessary information about the existing Core facility (boilerplate language), suggest the appropriate computational hardware and storage for the proposal, including the necessary quotes, and execute the proposed computational plan upon the award being funded.
  • See iLab for a complete list of services.

Who manages the RVM Service?

How can I get the RVM Service?

  • Contact the Service Manager with any questions regarding the account application process.

How do I access my VM?

  • You may use standard remote tools (SSH, RDP) to access your VM operating system. Additionally, you may connect to the management console to reboot and perform other administrative tasks.

Is the VM accessible to the Internet?

  • Once provisioned the VM is only accessible to on-campus network traffic. An exception to the default policy can be made to allow network traffic from the Internet.

Can the VM be backed up?

  • Yes, please contact RCCI to make arrangements based on requirements.

How reliable is the service?

  • The RVM service is designed to provide tolerance to unexpected hardware failures such as a loss of a system component. This is to ensure data is protected in the cluster per best practice. Unlike our other UTech virtualization offerings, the service is not designed to be available at all times, and will have periods of disruption due to maintenance activities and or hardware failures. VMs should be architected to be able to shutdown and restart without user intervention. A backup should also be kept and be available in the event that data is lost.

Does RVM support more than Windows and RedHat Linux?

  • At this time UTech supports both Microsoft and RedHat operating systems. We maintain active support in order to escalate any issue that cannot be resolved locally. 
  • Other operating systems such as Ubuntu may be installed but will be supported as-is. Non-UTech supported operating systems must have active support contracts and be up-to-date on all available security patches.

What can I do to secure a research server?

  • Keep your operating system up to date. Update your system frequently through automatic security updates. 
  • Do not share passwords or accounts.
  • Use a limited user account. Only use root or administrator accounts when necessary. Routinely remove accounts that are no longer needed.
  • Do not allow root or administrator to remotely connect.
  • Harden network access. Do not run unnecessary network services.
  • Run antivirus and setup automatic updates.
  • Keep servers behind the campus edge firewall.
  • Separate server functions from desktop functions in order to lower the attack surface.  
  • Understand phishing and how clicking a link or accessing a website could cause malware to be installed on the server.