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Re: st: Stata on a terminal server


From   Rob Ploutz-Snyder <robploutzsnyder@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: Stata on a terminal server
Date   Wed, 23 May 2012 14:18:33 -0500

David.
I don't pretend to be an official "IT Guy,"  however I do have some
relevant experience on this very thing.  We manage a multi-user
license for Stata/IC.  In the past, we would allow local installs for
our  users, and only permit ## installs as covered by our license.
Because that could be inefficient (our license is restricted to ## of
concurrent users, so local installs that sit idle aren't an efficient
use of the license) and also because we were getting less excited
about managing the local installs, we decided to shift to a network
installation with some third-party software that manages the number of
concurrent users who are allowed to use the software.

I'll bet a bag of chips that you want some details about this scenario
that that I can't provide (see sentence #1 above)... Nevertheless, in
our environment we noticed that Stata didn't run very well for our
users until/unless we modified the install.  Basically--having all of
the .ado files loaded on the server really slowed things down--to the
point where it just wasn't feasible.

We solved the problem by loading the Stata software on the server, and
then creating an install script that copied all of .ado files from the
server to each users' personal hard drive.  Once those .ado files are
loaded locally, running Stata from the server is practically
indistinguishable from a local install in terms of speed.  NOTE that
you need to tell each users' Stata shortcut where the ado files are
located, which is pretty easy to do by writing a profile file that
Stata executes automatically upon start-up (we did that anyway with
some pre-programmed hot keys that our users enjoy).

This was a reasonable solution, however when Stata moved to version 11
(I think?) they eliminated the -update ado- capability which threw us
for another loop.  Prior to this, we would update the Stata executable
on the server as needed, and individual users would update their local
copies of their .ado files by using the -update ado- command.  Stata
has since eliminated this capability (I believe due to problems with
users not keeping .ado updates in sync with the executable updates) so
that now our users are unable to update just their .ado files as
needed.

This forced another workaround, whereby we update ALL of the files on
the server (executable, ado files) and then push out a batch file to
all users that will replace their old Stata .ado files with new ones.
Thankfully Stata has the personal .ado folder so that our users'
private .ado programs are not at risk of being overwritten or deleted.

With these modifications, having Stata on the server seems to work
well.  One advantage for our users is that it can run on a higher-end
processor than many of them have locally, and while I expect that
faster speed is not perceptible for 99%+ of the work done here, it
could be a benefit for those with computationally exhaustive work.
The main benefit for us is that we are confident that we are getting
the most out of our license agreement without ever risking going over
the number of concurrent users permitted.

Rob




On Wed, May 23, 2012 at 1:47 PM, David Merriman <dmerrim@gmail.com> wrote:
> I own stata/se 10 on two computers and stata/se 11 on a third computer
> (two offices and a home based office.)
> I would like to get stata/se 12.  My computer guru tells me:
>
> "We have volume license agreements for STATA...STATA/SE 12 can be purchased
> for $90 per person (not per install or per concurrent user) for expiration
> on 5/24/2013 from [our university webstore]....
> The STATA sold on WebStore uses a connection to our terminal server to run
> the software rather than it being installed locally on the users computer."
>
> This sounds like a pretty good deal but....my question is how well will it
> work?  I understand that I would need an internet connection to run it--that is
> usually not a problem but I can imagine other problems.
> In particular because I download a fair number of user written ado files
> and do other things to customize STATA for my use I am wondering if this
> system will work smoothly for me.  Advice would be appreciated.
>
>
> David Merriman
> dmerrim@gmail.com
>
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