Unix support

La Trobe's Information Services provides support to researchers with all Unix related queries. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Virtual Machines and Cloud Computing

A Virtual Machine (VM) is a software implementation of a machine which executes programs just like a physical machine. Each virtual machine is a fully simulated computer which can have its own operating system and software running. Usually, a single powerful physical server runs several VMs at a time, distributing the workload onto its physical CPUs and memory as needed.

Cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of on your computer’s hard drive. This includes starting, accessing and using VMs over the internet. The main advantages of cloud computing are that it allows scalability (many cloud computers can be started and applied to a problem as needed), and it improves collaboration as many users can access the same data and processing applications from anywhere.

Some common cases for using cloud computing are:

  • Simulations and modelling
  • Running websites, web applications, and databases
  • Online collaboration
  • Complex analysis requiring more compute power than a local workstation can provide
  • Working with very large data sets (combined with large scale storage on a high throughput connection)

La Trobe researchers can access two main VM and cloud computing systems:

  • Virtual Workstations: ICT can provide VMs to researchers who want to operate their own software and hardware from a secure, centrally managed data centre.

    Request a virtual workstation (La Trobe login required)

  • NeCTAR: The National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources project (Nectar) is a self-service system that allows Australian based researchers to start small-medium VMs for testing purposes at any time under a personal trial project. After the trial period, users can request access to larger VMs and more time through an online form on the Nectar website. For more information.

    To access NeCTAR - login to the NeCTAR dashboard using your institutional credentials (number plate) and start using a personal trial project immediately.

    For self-paced training see http://training.nectar.org.au/ or check out the Digital Research Training schedule to find upcoming NeCTAR sessions.

Research Server Hosting

ICT provides a secure, stable and recoverable environment where research servers can be physically or virtually hosted, reducing the risk of interrupting long processing jobs, hardware failure, data loss or virus infection.  The ongoing maintenance, patching, and support of the virtual machine is done by IT professionals within our data centre.

The main benefits to researchers are:

  • Physical hardware is no longer required to be held in Researcher office or lab
  • Regular server patching by IT Services
  • Backups are regular and automated
  • Data is secure and recoverable

Request hosting services (La Trobe staff intranet login required)

Instrument Attached Machines

ICT supports the non-standard requirements of academic and research staff, particularly for instrument control in research labs and hardware platforms that are not part of the Managed Operating Environment (MOE).

This includes a focus of support and administration for servers, 64-bit desktops and mobile computing not normally handled by Client Services. It also involves setup and support for hardware interfaces between computers and equipment such as Microscopes, X-Rays, Chromatoscopes etc.

Access support (La Trobe staff intranet login required)

Non-Standard Research Tools Advice

Advanced Applications (Non-Standard Software)

In most cases software licensing and installation is managed by logging a job in AskICT. Common examples include software for:

  • scientific visualisation
  • modelling
  • rendering
  • animation
  • graphics programming
  • image manipulation
  • statistical packages

Request advice (La Trobe staff intranet login required)