DMRnet Keeps You Up

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NACS and AdCom have jointly developed a network infrastructure for units with mission-critical computing services.  “DMRnet” (short for “Dual Modular Redundant Network”) allows you to create twin servers and to locate them separately in the NACS and AdCom Data Centers.

With this arrangement, an interruption in service (power, network, etc.) at one physical location can automatically transfer services (fail over) to the server in the other location. Users of your critical services will see no interruption.

DMRnet was designed and developed in response to the need to have UCI’s main web site,, continuously available.  The upcoming Student Portal will be the latest client of the DMRnet system.

NACS staff are available to consult with interested departments on the options, cost, and fitness of DMRnet for your particular need.  DMRnet is intended only for the most critical campus services.

DCS Offers SunRay™ Support

If you own and use a single Unix or Windows workstation, the effort required for system administration (maintenance, security, software licensing, and user support) is usually not an unreasonable burden. But if you have a group of systems, this can drain precious resources away from your research or other duties.

NACS Distributed Computing Support (DCS) now offers a cost-effective alternative. DCS can help you acquire, set up, configure, and maintain a client/server environment based on SunRay™ workstations instead of individual computers.

SunRay™ workstations are “smart terminals” which boot off the network, and then behave just as if they were independent Unix or Windows workstations. The SunRay™ client machines have jacks for connecting keyboard, mouse, display, and USB devices, as well as local memory, but leave everything else to the server.

The operating system (Windows or Unix), and all the application software your users need are installed on a single server. One copy is much easier and cheaper to keep up to date, and when new applications are needed, installing once is much faster than managing multiple independent workstations. (You still need to be sure you are licensed to run as many copies of the software as you need.)

This service may be of particular interest to people responsible for setting up and maintaining instructional labs, or researchers who oversee a large number of graduate students to whom you supply computers. If you are interested in exploring whether this technology can help you, contact NACS.

Mac Cluster Available

Apple has donated to UCI a small computational cluster based on its XServe product line.

This three-server cluster (two computational nodes and one control or “head” node) is built on the PowerPC chip. Each node features two 2Ghz PPC CPUs. The cluster also offers a 1.2Tb (1200 Gigabytes) disk array. The PowerPC architecture features high-performance true 64-bit floating point arithmetic, and is particularly well-suited for floating point and vector calculations.

Originally, NACS and faculty evaluated batch processing systems for the cluster under the Macintosh OS X operating system. Currently the cluster is running Linux, because faculty tend to be more familiar with that operating system, and to take advantage of the richer software development environment available under Linux.

GNU compilers for C, C++, and Fortran are available on the cluster, as well as the optimized IBM C/C++ compiler suite for PowerPC. Faculty may contact NACS for accounts, assistance with porting, and benchmarking.