OIT Does That? Unix Support


In a world rife with laptops and smart phones, one seldom stops to think about the infrastructure delivering all the web sites, databases, and other services which make up the Internet.  Such servers are also a key part of UCI’s technology foundation.

OIT’s Enterprise Unix Support team, lead by Kyle Kurr, provides a range of services including system administration (configuring, running, and protecting Unix servers), data backups, Web hosting, co-location (housing your server in a climate-controlled and secure facility) and consulting.  High-performance servers are also assets key to faculty research in many disciplines, and OIT can step in to manage the hardware so faculty can focus on the research.

Most EUS services are available on a recharge basis, but allow system owners to leverage existing university investments in the OIT Data Center as well as expertise in servers, operating systems, and IT security.  If you have or expect to need a Unix server, Kyle (kkurr@uci.edu) and his team would be happy to talk to you.

Unix System Administration

NACS Distributed Computing Support (DCS) provides a full range of UNIX system administration services for UCI research and other computing environments on a contract basis.

DCS staff members provide direct Unix system administration services for some computer systems. They also serve as consultants to departmental system administrators.

DCS staff keep abreast of emerging applications and system technologies as well as the latest security fixes in order to provide high quality system support.

System support also includes remote monitoring and proactive trouble resolution. In fact, problems are often diagnosed and resolved before departments are even aware of any problems!

The various staff members of DCS bring a mix of people skills and technical skills to bear. Some staff read, “triage” and respond to the daily influx of phone and e-mail inquiries from clients and trouble reports generated by computer systems. Other staff ensure that security fixes and system upgrades are distributed and installed as promptly as possible.

The broad range of services and professional level of support provided by DCS usually matches and frequently surpasses those offered in the private sector.

Co-location Service

Many departments are finding their daily tasks have grown dependent on one or more central computers, called “servers.” Sometimes it is a file server, which stores shared documents and data; other times it is a web server, which is responsible for presenting your department and its mission to the world.

You may find that the responsibility for housing, maintaining, and securing that server is a distraction from your core mission. Hence, NACS has inaugurated a “co-location” service, where we house, secure, and oversee your computer so you can get back to work. Costs vary depending on the combination of services which meets your needs.

NACS has a room ideal for housing computers: it is climate controlled, insulated from electrical fluctuations, and supervised 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you would like to explore the opportunity to delegate some or all of the responsibility for physically protecting your key servers, ensuring network security, or maintaining the operating system, call NACS.

System Administration Services

For over 10 years NACS Distributed Computing Support (DCS) Group has provided professional system administration services to the UCI campus for UNIX (and to a lesser extent Windows).

Computer system administration generally refers to the maintenance of a reliable and secure computing environment. DCS has recruited, trained, and maintained a dedicated support staff alleviating individuals and workgroups of this burden and some of the associated costs.

DCS relies heavily on the use of automation and standard client hardware configurations. DCS is also responsible for maintaining DCSLib, an extensive software library.

DCS currently supports 300 systems in virtually every academic school and department, but the heaviest demand comes from the School of Physical Sciences, the College of Medicine, and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering. Over the past 5 years the number of DCS contracts has increased approximately 6 % per year.

More information on DCS services can be found at http://www.nacs.uci.edu/support/unix.html. If you would like to discuss support of your system, please contact NACS.

UNIX Support

NACS/DCS provides Unix and Linux system administration services to the campus on a contractual basis. DCS uses a Unix/Linux system administration technique called “autoinstalling” to help keep quality high and costs low relative to the industry norm.

While autoinstalling requires system administrators to spend a little more time planning and executing initial system configuration, many later tasks become much easier, such as operating system updates (including security patches). Autoinstalling also preserves a lot of information about how customers prefer their machines to be configured.

The most recent versions of Unix/Linux currently configured for use with DCS’s autoinstall procedures are Solaris 8, Redhat 6.2, Irix 6.5.6, and Tru64 4.0g.

If you would like to evaluate contract support with DCS for a Unix or Linux machine, please contact dcs@uci.edu or call 824-6854. Additional information is available on line at http://www.nacs.uci.edu/support/dcs/sysadmin.html