Harvard RNS (Profiles) Software

With some trepidation, I took on the task of installing Harvard’s “Profiles” software (at http://profiles.catalyst.harvard.edu/). The uncertainty was based in part on the installation requirements which were totally Microsoft based: Server 2008, SQL Server, IIS along with Visual Studio. We don’t typically run Windows servers, and I didn’t have a spare machine available. Even with a VM, there were license issues. So rather than invest in the equipment and/or licensing required for a local installation, I created an AMI (Amazon Machine Imagine) on EC2. Luckily, it isn’t hard to find an instance that has the authorized packages available. (See http://thecloudmarket.com for a decent search/list of Amazon’s instance options).

Anyway, I have to hand it to the folks at Harvard: Their Profiles download installed easily and without problems. I don’t think I’ve ever had a database installation, initialization, and configuration go as smoothly as this – and definitely not on a Windows box. Check it out yourself at their download site: http://profiles.catalyst.harvard.edu/?pg=download.