The Comparative Effectiveness Research Core (CERC) Data Center is a University-wide resource to facilitate research using large public health datasets containing protected health information. The Data Center provides secure data storage, high-throughput computing and access to multiple state and federal databases. Datasets managed by the Data Center include Medicare and Medicaid data files, among others. These data are unique in that they necessitate a high level of security as well as a powerful computing infrastructure, all of which are provided by the Data Center.
Jeremy Kahn, Director, explains the mission of the CERC Data Center
Examples of our services include:
- Data storage and management
- Secure remote computing
- Statistical software licensing (SAS, Stata, etc.)
- Assistance with IRB applications regarding public health data
- Assistance with state and federal data use agreements
We use Dell PowerEdge multi-processor blade servers currently configured with 76 cores, 608 GB of memory and approximately 11 TB of storage which are securely maintained at the University of Pittsburgh’s Network Operations Center. The user interface utilizes VMware-based “virtual desktops” running Windows 7, which allows users to work directly on the secure server while still providing for a familiar computing experience. Users access their virtual desktops by way of a two-factor authentication process (passwords and RSA tokens) via a secure socket layer (SSL) 128 bit VPN connection around an encrypted virtual desktop connection.
The Data Center is managed for the CTSI by the Department of Critical Care Medicine’s Program on Health Policy and Management.
Team members include: