MCS Linux - The Computer Laboratory

University Information Services
Managed Cluster Service (MCS) and Desktop Services
Thursday 9th October 2014
Computer Laboratory
• Brian Simpson
Desktop Services Manager
Portfolio of DS brands
Liaise with differing depts and Colleges
• Dr. David McBride
Unix Specialist in Information Services
Responsible for MCS Linux
Ask Questions at any time
• University Information Services - 2014
• Previously University Computing Service – founded in 1937
• Part of the CL until 2001
• Separated teaching and research from computing services
• Now merging/merged with MISD (administrative computing)
• Centre of IT support and computing services
• Based at both the Roger Needham Building and also the New Museums
site ( satellite service desk and training rooms)
Managed Cluster Service
• Available for all staff and students of Cambridge University
• Networked PCs (Windows/Linux) and Macs
• Applications (only in MCS rooms), printers, scanners
• DS-Filestore – mapped drive and accessed by unmanaged machines
• DS-Files – access outside the CUDN
• DS-Print – managed and unmanaged printing (print from own device)
• UCS Training runs on the MCS – NMS, RNB, depts
Operating System and Applications
• Windows 7
• Over 150 applications – browsers, office packages, statistical packages,
departmental software
• MCS Linux, based on Ubuntu 14.04 (64-bit)
• Mac OSX 10.9
• Differing software dependent on OS, but versions try to stay the same
across differing systems.
Where is the MCS?
• 19 departments – across the University including the CL
• 26 Colleges
• UCS public rooms – Titan teaching rooms, Phoenix Teaching rooms
• Continuing to expand
• Centralised cohesive approach
• Available 24/7 - 99.5% uptime
Access to the MCS
• All CL students are given Desktop Services accounts automatically
• Access credentials and password early this year!
• Common UIS password (Hermes and Raven)
• We host network-accessible storage space for all MCS users:
• U: on MCS Windows machines
• /home/crsid on MCS Linux and Apple Macs
• 3GB standard – CL students may get more space
• Shared space – CL run applications and use pigeon holes
DS-Filestore – access from outside
• You can also access this space from non-MCS machines:
• CIFS: // (inside only),
• DS-Files:
• DS-Web: Publicly-accessible personal webpages.
• Just put what you want to go online into your public_html/ folder.
• Immediately accessible here:
• We back this data up regularly.
• … but you should keep your own backups of stuff you really care about.
• Printing facilities from any computer connected to the
• DS-Print Printers are available in all MCS rooms
• Print from your own machine via a print client – Linux in
• Common balance - CL
• Self serve print credit – e-credit
• Printers overtaken by MFDs (print/copy/scan)
MCS Linux — Specifics!
• All of the PCs in the Intel lab dual-boot Linux.
• /home is served across the network via CIFS from the DS-Filestore
Some peculiarities! (It's a Windows server behind the scenes)
Permission bits don't work quite as you'd expect.
• You may be used to running, “sudo apt-get install …”
This won't work. (You don't have administrative access.)
… however, if you'd like something added, just ask.
You can also install tools and applications in your own home-directory.
• Hopefully you won't need to, as we've already spent lots of effort trying to
ensure that everything you're likely to want is already included.
MCS Linux — Remote login servers
• We also supply a number of remote-login servers accessible via SSH.
These have virtually identical configurations to MCS Linux desktops.
• Dedicated physical hardware
• Two general-access login servers, SNAP and PUFF
Use: ssh [email protected]
• We also provide CL users their own dedicated remote-login machine, RYATH.
Use: ssh [email protected]
• If your network connection is fast enough, you can run graphical applications on
our servers.
… provided you have an X server running on your local machine.
Future Developments
• Remote Access to a desktop - applications
• Extra storage space – “dropbox” style sync
• Printing enhancements – Linux
• New UIS Desktop services
• Support and help
• UIS webpages –
• UIS Service Desk - [email protected]
• Management or development queries
• DSG Manager – [email protected]