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User managed servers

It is possible for users with rack-mountable servers to have those servers physically hosted in an AITS machine room, which has proper physical security, environmental control and monitoring, and redundant protected power.

System owners have the choice between having their system managed by AITS, or managing the system themselves. It is important to note that "user-managed" means just that: managed by you, the user.

For User-managed systems, AITS will not supply any significant assistance or consulting after the system is physically installed.

Please read the table below, and decide whether to have your system managed by us (AITS-managed) or by you (User-managed).

  AITS-managed system User-managed system
SELECTION OF HARDWARE Your hardware must conform to the requirements set out in the section below. We may impose additional requirements to ensure that we can run our standard O/S on your hardware. Your hardware must conform to the requirements set out in the section below.
H/W INSTALLATION We will install the hardware, supply power, and cable the network, as well as configure the Lights-Out Management. We will install the hardware, supply power, and cable the network, as well as configure the Lights-Out Management.
MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS AND TROUBLESHOOTING We will monitor and troubleshoot the hardware, and arrange for repairs when necessary, however, the system must be under warranty or under maintenance contract with the vendor. This means that when the warranty ends, you will be asked to shell out money to extend it or buy a maintenance contract, failing which, the system will be wiped and removed from our responsibility. The hardware is your responsibility, as is contacting the vendor for any maintenance under warranty. We will supervise brief access to the server room for replacement of a part, but if extended troubleshooting is necessary, we will unmount the system and give it to you so you can work on it in your lab at your convenience, and we will physically reinstall it once you finish the repairs.
ACCESS TO THE HARDWARE You will not have any physical access to your hardware, as we will be taking care of all physical aspects for you. You will in general not have physical access to your hardware. In most cases you will use the system's Lights-Out Management service to access the console and turn power on and off; see the sections below on remote console access and remote power management. In very exceptional cases (for example, equipment is defective and needs to be replaced), brief supervised access to the server room can be arranged.
O/S INSTALLATION, CONFIGURATION, AND USER ACCOUNTS We will install our standard Linux O/S, and configure it using our automated tools. The system will use the centralized set of ENCS accounts, but if you wish, we will restrict access to a list of users supplied by you. You will NOT have root access to your system. You are responsible for installing and configuring the O/S, and for creating and managing user accounts. You will have full root access to your system.
O/S PATCHING AND REBOOTS We will patch the system with the latest updates at least monthly; we monitor security bulletins, and if serious vulnerabilities are reported, we may patch more often. We reserve the right to reboot the system during the monthly maintenance window, or, in an emergency, outside that window; our reboots are mandatory, and no exceptions are made. Your users must plan any long-running jobs in consequence. You are responsible for keeping your system securely patched; the timing of any necessary reboots is up to you.
SOFTWARE AVAILABILITY Your system's users will benefit from the hundreds of software packages already in our central repository. Additional packages can usually be installed upon request. Occasionally, for specifically licensed software that you buy, we can install the software for you, directly on your system. You are responsible for installing needed software onto your system.
NFS ACCESS TO USER FILES User home directories on the central fileserver, as well as group directories and "facdisk" space, are mounted onto the system, and fully available to your users. It is not possible to supply NFS access to user files on the central fileserver. Your users will need to copy in the files they need.
DATA BACKUPS Your system's O/S and configuration, as well as some additional data (if present) are backed up daily; user files on our central fileserver are snapshotted considerably more frequently, and mirrored to another fileserver. Scratch space is NOT backed up. You are responsible for making backups of your system, including user data.
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