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WestGrid User Survey 2017 Results

2017 WestGrid User Survey

The results of WestGrid's 2017 User Survey have been collected and analyzed and are ready to share.

Thank you to the 283 respondents who took the survey, an 8% increase from the 2016 survey, and provided so many detailed responses and fantastic feedback.

The purpose of the survey was to gather feedback on satisfaction with WestGrid’s current support and services, and to build upon the findings from the 2016 survey and continually improve our service delivery. The survey was sent to all WestGrid newsletter subscribers (7,594 emails) in November 2017. 

Key Findings

  • The overall satisfaction with WestGrid was 91%
  •  When asked to estimate how their ARC needs will change in the next five years, 71% said their compute and storage needs will at least or more than double, with 37% estimating their GPU needs will at least or more than double.
  • Requests for more resources, support staff, new user support, and bioinformatics support were the most commonly cited needs. 
  • The resources and services rated most important were (not including raw compute or support staff):
    • long term data storage,
    • file sharing services, and
    • large shared memory systems.
  • Of the 74% of respondents who had used WestGrid support in the past year:
    • 99% found it helpful, and
    • 97% rated reponses as being timely.
  • Only 50% of respondents felt they have adequate local (on campus) ARC support (down from 56% in 2016). 
  • Staff from the University of Victoria, the University of Alberta and the University of Manitoba had the most mentions for excellent support staff.
  • The training topics respondents were most interested in were:
    • Parallel Programming
    • Data Visualization
    • Using Graphic Processing Units (GPUs) and parallel computing platform CUDA, and
    • Research Data Management Best Practices.
  • The main reason for getting WestGrid/Compute Canada accounts were:
    • Referral from a colleague/supervisor - 69%
    • Referral from university IT/ARC/Research Computing Department - 18%
    • Attended a presentation or meeting with WestGrid - 12%.

Next Steps & More Details

WestGrid Senior Management will work with the newly appointed WestGrid Board of Directors to incorporate these findings and the results of other user and stakeholder consultations into the ongoing strategic and future operations planning for WestGrid. New iniativies which WestGrid will focus on as a direct result of feedback from both surveys will include the creation of a User Experience Working Group to develop better resources and services to help support the evolving needs of the research community in Western Canada, with a specific focus on new and non-traditional users. 

Check out the documents below for more details and versions of this year's results and please email at any time with any questions or concerns on how WestGrid can better support you.