Oxford University Particle Physics Group

Institute Update for HEPSYSMAN November 1999


Desktop Strategy

All new systems are NT PC's which are cloned using Ghost to provide a consistent interface across the whole of the sub-department.

100 NT PC's    -    NT4 sp4/5/6 Users use Exceed for X windows access. Exchange for email. MS office etc

13 Digital Alpha Workstations - Now used primeraly as X terminals to connnect to the servers.


Unix    - Main file and compute server is an aging Digital Alpha 2100 server with 3 CPU's, 512MB ram & 216GB disk. Samba used for connectivity with NT systems.

Additional CPU is provided by a  Digital Alpha Personal Workstation 500au and two Linux dual 400MHz Intel systems. Red Hat 5.0 and 5.2 are currently used to match up with CDF @ FNAL and CSF @ RAL respectively.

General purpose VMS has been consolidated to run on one Digital Alpha Personal Workstation 500au. VMS will remain to support Delphi, Soudan2,  and DAQ on Cresst and Zeus, but general purpose use is declining.

Several NT servers for File, Web, Email and one running MS Terminal Server with Citrix Metaframe for access from Unix systems or for access to packages with limited licences.


The main campus backbone will be upgraded to a Gigabit Ethernet collapsed backbone based on Cisco kit. Departments will connect at 100Mb/s (Fast Ethernet). This will replace the current FDDI based backbone.

Internal to the department we have a mixture of 10Mb/s and 100Mb/s switched ethernet. The buildings are fully cabled with shielded CAT 5.

The Physics department has a firewall based on Drawbridge running on a FreeBSD system. The University will implement compulsory web caching as from 1.12.99.

Video Conferencing

The department has built a VC room in the Nuclear and Astrophysics Lab. which is used primarily by Particle physics but is a Physics wide department facility. This is based on Tandberg Vision 800 video conferencing unit with 2 monitors, a document camera, handsfree telephone and a PC. This can be used for ISDN 2, 4 or 6.The system can also be used for TCP/IP conferencing standards: h.323, MBONE, Cern Virtual Rooms, NetMeeting.

Future Plans

Purchase a general purpose file server to serve both UNIX and NT needs. Platform to be decided, could be Intel based running NT or LINUX but if performance is not sufficient a proprietary solution may be used. The system would undoubtably use RAID, to provide more resilience and reduce the pressure on backups.

CPU servers are expected to be Dual Pentium III systems running Red Hat Linux.

Some sort of DLT 7000 stacker will be bought for general backup of the NT systems in the first instance, but should be extended to replace the current DLT4000 on the UNIX server. Exabyte Mammoth drives will have to be purchased to support the CDF experiment.


The difficulty in supporting multiple experiments with one general purpose Unix (Linux) setup.Already we have CDF and the RAL CSF farm being different. Different experiments standardising on different tape drives. This diversification puts more load on the limited man power we have.

14 February 2000   P. D. Gronbech