Portal features


My Virtual Machines, My Accounts and My Projects


The DataLab portal is where you will find information about your DataLab account, projects and virtual machines (VMs).

DataLab portal

The DataLab portal displays information across three tabs: 

My Projects

From this tab you can activate, start and launch the VM associated with your project. 

My Account

Use this tab to view your personal contact information and basic account settings. 

Action Log 

Keeps a record of your portal actions. This can help you manage your sessions and provides useful information if you encounter problems with the system. It includes:

  • starting VM
  • stopping VM
  • changing your Active VM
  • restarting VM
  • rebuilding VM
Left navigator menu

The left navigator menu contains shortcuts that can be used to navigate between pages. Click the arrow to collapse or expand the navigator menu.

Left navigator menu

Global links

The links at the top right are available from all pages of the portal:

  • What’s New acts as a global information centre for the DataLab, showcasing information about new features and updates
  • DataLab Workspace to access your Citrix desktop. You must activate your VM before you can use this shortcut
  • About the DataLab to access this user guide
  • DataLab Privacy Notice
  • User Icon displays your details, including name, user name and user role. This is also where you log out of the DataLab
Your obligations and management responsibilities

The Responsible Use of ABS Microdata obligations guide and Using DataLab responsibly pages will help you understand your obligations and management responsibilities to handle microdata safely. Read through these pages or Contact Us if you would like any help understanding your responsibilities.

Important messages banner

This banner appears at the top of your DataLab portal window when we have an important message for your consideration or action.

Functions in My Projects

We've simplified the user interface to make it easier to launch your project VMs. In the updated portal My Projects page, you will see your currently "active" machine, and other "locked" machines below. You can only access one project at a time. Please read the below information to familiarise yourself with the new interface.

My Projects page functionality

VM management options

Click the ‘Manage’ button on the upper corner of your VM tile to see a detailed management view.

VM management options button
VM management options

If your VM is dormant, no management options are available.

dormant vm showing no management options

The contents of each pane on this screen are outlined as follows:

Power State: You can start, stop, or restart the VM. This can be helpful if swapping between VMs or having difficulties seeing your machine in the Citrix workspace.

Power State for the VM

Scheduled Shutdown: VMs are automatically shutdown every night at 10pm AEST. If you have a program running that you expect to run past 10pm, you can choose to extend your session for up to 3 days by selecting 'Bypass shutdown'.

Bypass shutdown
Bypass shutdown duration

Scheduled Rebuild: VMs are automatically destroyed and rebuilt every 30 days for security and maintenance purposes:

  • you cannot extend this time, however you can choose to rebuild before the schedule time by selecting ‘Rebuild Now’
  • it displays a date and numbered count down on the coloured bar, with time adjusted to your local area
  • the coloured bar changes, starting with green, moving to orange, and finally red as you get closer to the rebuild date
  • after rebuilding the countdown resets to 30 days and allows you to bypass the nightly shutdown
  • if you try to bypass a shutdown when your machine is scheduled for a rebuild, the system will deny the action, but offer to ‘Rebuild Now’

Scheduled Rebuild

Run jobs on offline VMs

If you are an analyst who works across multiple projects, you can request local disk space. This will enable your VM to run jobs offline, noting the 30 day rebuild still applies.

Datasets are stored on a remote file share. Only the active machine has network access to this location. Your locked virtual machines do not. To run offline jobs, you need to request local disk space to be attached to your machine. There may be a cost associated with this.

When running jobs offline, the inactive machine can continue to run your program as it still has access to the data since it is no longer using the remote file share. However, working like this does not allow your project team to see your analysis or output. You should always move your output back to your Project or Output drives where your project team can access and review the output. See Using your workspace for more on the available drives in DataLab.

To use local disk space:

  1. Request access to a local disk for your project through the Contact Us page
  2. Copy the data products you need to the local disk.
  3. In your program, point to your source/input data on the local disk and start the job.
  4. In your program, save your output to the local disk.
  5. Exit Citrix and return to the DataLab portal to activate another machine.
  6. After you have finished running your analysis offline (local disk) move your analysis and output back to your Project drive.
Local disk space

Functions in My Account

Select the ‘My Account’ tab from the navigation panel to see details about your account.

Accessing your account details
Details about your account

Basic attributes displays your name, email, phone etc. If your personal details are incorrect, please Contact Us with the correct information.

Account settings allows you to opt in or out of receiving email reminders. These reminders let you know when your virtual machine will shut down. Notifications are sent at 5pm AEST/AEDT, prior to the 10pm scheduled shut down if you have started your VM that day. It will also remind you before your 30 day VM rebuild. You can change this option at any time by clicking ‘Edit’.

Email reminder in Account settings

Recommended browsers

DataLab is presented in a web browser. It is recommended the latest version of either of the following are used:

  • Chrome
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Firefox
  • Safari

Internet Explorer is not recommended.

Note: Mobile devices are not supported/enabled for the DataLab. 

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