Sid Service Level Agreement

Sid Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS)
Harvard‐MIT Data Center (HMDC)
14 November 2018


This Service Level Agreement [SLA] defines the baseline services offered by IQSS/HMDC for the Sid user interface (UI) and research computing environment, including eligibility for, and quality and limitations of, the services.

Sid offers both a centralized place in which to launch applications and run analysis, including a persistent desktop environment that is securely accessible through a web browser. Sid is referred to as the [product].

A product agreement between IQSS/HMDC and any user may consist of this agreement and an additional custom SLA; any terms in this agreement may be superseded by the custom SLA.


IQSS/HMDC continually extends our infrastructure to provide resources to support quantitative social science research throughout the Harvard community. At this time our main supported groups include Harvard’s FAS Division of Social Science departments, social scientists in other schools at Harvard, and MIT’s social science departments.

Cost of Service

Sid accounts are free to all Harvard affiliates with a HarvardKey. For storage space, users can remotely attach their Harvard Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive free of charge. Users may be assessed additional charges for various services including the following:

  • License costs - IQSS/HMDC might ask the user to sponsor additional software licenses requested if that software is not commonly used or has a high cost.
  • Cloud resource costs - IQSS/HMDC can provide dedicated cloud resources to a user or set of users for a fee based on cloud resource costs and additional maintenance costs. IQSS/HMDC staff reserves the right to select appropriate sizing of cloud resources.

Length of Agreement

This agreement is valid for the period of one year from the date of issuance.

Services Provided

Sid is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (except as noted below). The infrastructure design has been initially optimized to support social science research, but is flexible enough to expand its configuration to accommodate other types of computing workloads.

Environment Support[SR1]

Sid comprises a computing environment on which users can submit large or long jobs either to a set of interactive computing cloud resources, or to a set of batch cloud resources.

Individual limits for Sid cloud resources are as follows:


  • x computing cores
  • Up to y gigabytes (GB) of RAM per job


Job scheduling policies for batch jobs are as follows:

  • If nodes are free, users who have used fewer resources in the recent time frame are prioritized over those who have actively used the resources. This is described as fair use.
  • If no nodes are free, preemption can occur, but only when priorities and run time permit. For example, if one job has a lower priority than another and has been running for a moderate amount of time (more than one hour but less than four hours), then the lower priority job might be terminated to free resources for use by the higher-priority job.
  • Administrators reserve the right to terminate any job without warning in order to maintain system stability. Users receive notification if their jobs are terminated.
  • The initial priority of a user's job is set to a default value, but it can be lowered or raised depending on the user's affiliation or a pre-established agreement with IQSS/HMDC. For more information on job priority settings or agreements, send an email to

Software Support

The Sid desktop application provides a large number of applications and utilities for different purposes, such as email clients, text editors, and, most importantly, statistical packages. The applications and their supported versions could vary slightly with each Sid release. The most current list of applications is available in the Release Notes published with every release.

The software support offered through Sid includes:

Fully Supported: IQSS/HMDC IT Operations will fully support (support includes installation, maintenance and proper execution) the following types of software:

  • Software that is standard with a CentOS or Fedora-compatible Linux distribution.
  • Software purchased by IQSS/HMDC from third party vendors that include a support contract.
  • Software developed in-house


Partially Supported: IQSS/HMDC IT Operations will provide best-effort to support the following types of software:

  • Software purchased by IQSS/HMDC with no support contract
  • Software from 3rd party developers or software repositories


Not supported: IQSS/HMDC IT Operations will not support the following types of software:

  • Software installed by users
  • Software not purchased by IQSS/HMDC.


Note: If the systems and application software are not executing properly, users should contact the IQSS/HMDC Data Science Services team at the email for assistance with appropriate use of software applications and tools needed to perform their research[SR3] . Also, [SR4] The IQSS/HMDC IT Operations team handles requests for additional applications on a case-by-case basis. To submit a request, send an email detailing the business need to

Quality of Service

Support for Sid Services as described above [SR5] are provided Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, except Harvard University holidays. IQSS/HMDC observes all Harvard University holidays.


IQSS/HMDC will schedule off-hours maintenance windows at regular intervals and publish these maintenance windows through the notification channels described at

IQSS/HMDC makes every effort to avoid unscheduled downtimes, but in the event that they do occur, users will be warned when possible or notified afterwards.

Back Ups

Attached storage such as Harvard Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive have their own backup facilities. Sid does not support any additional backup service, but the IQSS/HMDC Operations team can assist with recovery of files from other services.

Response Time

IQSS/HMDC’s response times depend on the severity of the issue and the time of reporting. During business hours, response times are designated through a three-tier system depending on the product or service arranged:

  • Tier 1 support - IQSS/HMDC will have a staff member assigned to a task within one hour after receiving a critical service outage notification. Alerts may be provided by our automated monitoring system or via support requests in the RT tracking system.
  • Tier 2 support - IQSS/HMDC will have a staff member assigned to a task within one business day after receiving a support request in the RT tracking system.

Outside business hours, IQSS/HMDC will provide a best-effort response to issues. Issues that are not deemed to be mission-critical will be queued for service during normal business hours in accordance with the tier support assigned to the specific product or service. In the event that the Harvard University declares a weather emergency condition, IQSS/HMDC will make a best effort to adhere to the stated response times.


IQSS/HMDC will provide notification of scheduled and unscheduled downtime as described at

Issues and Requests

The most effective way to communicate with the IQSS/HMDC IT Operations team is to use our Request Tracking (RT) system, by sending an email to Your email will be received by all the members of our User Support team, and you will be served by the first available staff member. Your question/request, our initial response and any on-going communications will be recorded in the RT database so that other support team members can follow up and help you if your original contact becomes unavailable at any point.

You also can reach IQSS/HMDC support by phone at (617) 495-4734, or in person in K027, CGIS Knafel Building, 1737 Cambridge Street, Harvard University Cambridge, MA 02138.