05 December 2023

The Centre for Victorian Data Linkage (CVDL) has implemented an updated version of its secure data access environment, the Victorian data Access Linkage Trust (VALT2). VALT2 enables dissemination of linked data within a secure-based cloud environment, with analysis undertaken via Virtual Machines (VMs). 

The VALT was first implemented in 2021, with an updated version known as VALT2 recently released. The benefits of VALT2 are felt most strongly in larger collaborative projects that involve multiple researchers and analysts. In the past, linked data was stored locally and only accessible to those with direct access to the local machine. With VALT2, the single database of linked data is stored on a remote server and can be accessed by more than one VM at any one time, meaning collaborators can all access the database concurrently. VALT2 also allows for automated refreshes of datasets in the Virtual Machines, which provides improved data currency for users. 

VALT has around 100 active project VMs running and 420 users from across government and the research sector. Feedback from users indicates that the VMs are powerful and suitable for undertaking complex analysis of large datasets.

David Moloney, Victorian Integrated Cancer Services Data Governance and Information specialist reflected on the benefits of the platform.

“The VALT VMs are a very powerful and secure platform for our data analytics and has made sharing data with Integrated Cancer Services much more efficient,” said David.

Tom Tyler King, Manager of the Infrastructure team in the Social Investment Unit within the Department of Health said the secure environment makes new data providers more comfortable to provide their data.

“VALT is critical in providing our team with data for the Victorian Social Investment Model (VicSIM) in a secure location. Operating within VALT makes sure that the linked data custodians are comfortable with developer and user access and usage,” said Tom. 

CVDL has also recently streamlined VM options and cost-recovery approach to reduce complexity. For users, this means they are more easily able to select the most suitable VM size and power-on schedule for their projects. A new online form on the CVDL website is available to apply for, modify and decommission VMs.

If you would like to find out more about using VALT2, please contact the CVDL technical team via [email protected].