Current news...


New automatic laptop backup service launched

Following requests from users for a simple, transparent and automatic system to backup and/or synchronise Linux laptop home directories to Maths backup servers, a new service has been set up this week. Once installed on your laptop, it will automatically attempt to backup your home directory to silo five minutes after you come into college and switch your laptop on. You can choose one of two modes of operation:

  • backup: this will backup any files that have been added to or changed on your laptop since the last time you backed it up; if this is the first time you have used the service then a full backup of your home directory will be made

  • synchronise: this backups up your files as above but if you have deleted files on your laptop since the last backup, it will delete the same files from the backup so that it stays in sync with the current state of your laptop.

If the first backup attempt fails for any reason, eg you aren't in range of a wireless network or you haven't plugged in a network cable, it will make 3 more attemps after 10, 15 and 20 minutes respectively. You can also make a backup manually at any time by either typing a command in a terminal or clicking on a desktop icon.

If you are interested in this facility and would like it set up on your laptop contact Andy Thomas to arrange installation. You will need:

  • a working rsync installation on your laptop - some Linux distributions don't install this by default so this may need to be added and set up first

  • an account on silo; if you don't already have one you can ask for one and you'll find more information on the silo here.

  • the installation of two scripts on your laptop along with the creation of two subdirectories and a cron job

You can also download the scripts and set this up yourself following these instructions.

Please note that this service is only for laptops running Linux or UNIX operating systems - this includes Macs although lack of access to a Mac laptop means this has not yet been tested. This facility cannot be used to backup Windows laptops although if there is a demand, a Windows version could be made available.

New share servers for research collaborators

Two new independent ssh/scp/sftp gateways have been set up to make it easy for non-college users to upload files, folders & archives as part of collaborative research initiatives between external researchers and those in the Department of Mathematics. More details to follow soon...

Older news items:

May 20th, 2010: Scratch disks are now available on all macomp and mablad compute cluster systems
March 11th, 2010: Introduing job queueing on the Fünf Gruppe compute cluster
October 16th, 2008: Introduing the Fünf Gruppe compute cluster
June 18th, 2008: German City compute farm now expanded to 22 machines
February 7th, 2008: new applications on the Linux apps server, unclutter your desktop
November 13th, 2007: aragon and cathedral now general access computers, networked Linux Matlab installation upgraded to R2007a
September 14th, 2007: Problems with sending outgoing mail for UNIX & Linux users
July 23rd, 2007: SCAN available full-time over the summer vacation, closure of Imperial's Usenet news server
May 15th, 2007: Temporary SCAN suspension, closure of the Maths Physics computer room, new research computing facilities
January 14th, 2005: Exchange mail server upgrade, spam filtering with pine and various other enhancements


Andy Thomas

Research Computing Officer,
Department of Mathematics

last updated: 9.03.2011