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.

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.

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

UCI Acquires 38 Powerful Unix Workstations

Last month, UCI took delivery of 38 Digital Equipment Corporation AlphaStation 200 workstations. The workstations were acquired at substantially less than the normal educational price through a campus-wide purchase coordinated by NACS. The systems have 64 MB of RAM memory, 2 GB of disk space, and CPUs that run at 233 Mhz; they will be used for a variety of research and other purposes at UCI. NACS will be creating a new campus-wide graduate student computing service using 9 of the AlphaStations. The new workstations will also provide a platform for gaining additional parallel computing cluster experience at UCI.