Techstaff Support of Faculty Research
The Technical Support Staff, techstaff, at the department of Computer Science is responsible for the maintenance of departmental desktop machines, lab machines, and servers.
We run LinuxWe primarily run Linux machines, hence our primary area of expertise is Linux, now installed on over 200 machines throughout the department. We have some experience with OpenBSD, Solaris, Windows and Macintosh OS-X.
Support for Research Services
- Goals We strive to provide quality support for research servers. If new research hardware purchases are planned, and techstaff support is desired, we encourage researchers to contact us early, preferably before server purchases are made, so we can understand expectations and requirements. We can often assist in choosing hardware and software that we are more likely to be able to support at the desired level of service.
- Priorities Techstaff is a small group of system administrators. Our top priorities are to keep the departmental services running, such as email and unix home directories, and also services that are used by classes taught in the department and the CSPP. Research servers that develop problems will be scheduled for repair, but must have a lower priority than our production services.
- Response Time Techstaff business hours are 9-5, Monday - Thursday, and 9-4:30 on Friday, closed on University holidays.
- Critical Research Services If a week's downtime for system repair is unacceptable to you, if a short downtime during non-business hours is very painful to you, we would consider your service a critical service. Techstaff has neither the time nor the resources to support such services. We can work with you to build a system that is more resistant to downtime, such as redundant hardware and quick restore scripts, but we can neither guarantee very high uptime, nor can we allow research server problems to become our highest priority. It may be possible to work out a Service Level Agreement if there are funds to support additional staff.
- Full Support
Techstaff can provide full support only to systems we are experienced with, hardware and software. Higher uptime, and faster initial build and repairs are more likely if you let us choose the hardware. We have standard machines we are familiar with, and have a stock of spare parts. We encourage you talk to us early in your planning process.
- Full Support means:
- Only we have root.
- We administer the system.
- We install the OS.
- Client machines may be fully integrated via nfs onto our file servers.
- We install and configure software.
- We perform system and application software updates.
- We perform security patches and updates.
- We respond to software or hardware problems.
- We answer questions as we are able.
- Full Support does not mean:
- Modification or customisation of installed software packages.
- Software development.
- Answers to questions beyond our expertise.
- Tutoring or training.
- Full Support means:
- Minimal Support
- The system owner has root.
- The owner is responsible for administering the system.
- If desired, we will reboot as necessary.
- Owner is responsible for systems security. Note: the university network services will disconnect compromised systems until they are repaired.
- We will try to assist with support requests, as resources allow.
- No NFS access to our primary fileservers (for security reasons).
- Limited file server access available, e.g. via samba.
- Custom Support
You may wish to have a system in your office or our machine room that is different from our standard systems, administered by yourself. We will try to accommodate support requests, resources permitting. For example, you may wish to have a dual boot Redhat Linux/Windows machine. We could offer the following services:
- We can usually perform the initial OS installations.
- We can set up Internet access.
- The university offers desktop backups via TSM We can assist installing the local clients.
- Please note: We cannot be responsible for the security of systems we do not have exclusive root access to. The security considerations listed in Minimal Support above also apply here.
- Additional Support
It may be possible for researchers to purchase higher levels of support for their servers. Contact email@example.com for details.