Computing Support Charges

CSEHelp Managed Computer Support

Individual computers may be signed up for managed support. Managed support adds patching, software installation, operating system upgrades and a higher level of hardware support. Managed support is only available for computers with modern versions of Microsoft Windows, Macintosh OS X, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu Linux. Managed support is not available for dual-boot computers.

Managed computer support is an extra cost item that is not included in department absorbed support charges for computers not provided by the department (such as faculty workstations).

A discounted rate is available for clusters of 5 or more similar servers when they are located in the central machine room.

Full managed support is only available for computers that are not more than 4 years old. After that, the software aspects of managed support can be continued if it appears that the hardware continues to be reliable. Software problems resulting from hardware problems on computers older than 4 years old are not covered. It is recommended that solid name brand computers be purchased to minimize disruptions due to hardware problems. It is also recommended that a hardware support contract/warranty be purchased from the computer manufacturer as replacement parts and vendor provided labor are not included with managed support.

CSEHelp Support Charges

User support charges

Standard user: $100/month
Transient visitor: $25/month
Non-resident guest: $10/month

Managed Support Charges

Managed workstation: $300/computer/year ($25.00/computer/month)
Managed server: $800/computer/year ($66.67/computer/month)
Managed cluster node: $150/computer/year ($12.50/computer/month)

Support charges are annual charges (July-June) billed on a monthly basis. Charges are prorated to the closest month boundary to when a person enters or leaves the department.

If a faculty member is unable to cover the costs for their research students/scientists/scholars and computers, they may consult with the department chair. The department chair will work with faculty to make sure they have availed themselves to all funding opportunities and determine if department funds can be used to cover the funding difference.

Users, covered under grants in effect at the time this policy goes into affect, will be grandfathered under the rates of the prior recharge policy. The rates charged under the prior recharge policy will be the rates budgeted on the grants. If no support was budgeted on the grant, then the grandfathering is not applicable and current rates will be charged.

Detail of Services Provided by CSEHelp

User services:

  • Account maintenance on CSEHelp managed servers
  • Server software support
  • Workstation software support
  • Class web sites
  • Assistance working with ACMS to set up computing resources for undergraduate and graduate classes
  • Lab support for specialized labs
  • Technical doc/research exam posting/filing
  • Remote user support
  • Printing support
  • Supply paper for all printers (department and research)
  • Assist with toner ordering for non-department printers
  • A/V support (problems/training/maintenance)
  • Provide documentation to assist users
  • Support for guests
  • Assist with accounts on services outside department (ACMS, ACT, JSOE, etc.)
  • Assist with physical jobs such as moving or setup for special events

Computer Services for Research

Standard Services

  • Purchasing services (hardware/software)
  • Software distribution
  • Network address maintenance
  • Network jack activation
  • Wired/wireless network troubleshooting
  • Basic O/S support for Windows/Macintosh OS X/Linux
  • Assist with reinstalling a supported operating system if fixing problems becomes more time consuming that doing a fresh install
  • Coordinating security issues with campus security staff
  • Compromise identification and advice/basic assistance in compromise cleanup
  • Basic hardware troubleshooting
  • Assist sending equipment in for repair
  • Provide power strips and network cable

Managed Services

  • All services provided with standard service
  • Machine management
  • OS Installation
  • OS Upgrades
  • Software installation (OS provided packages and custom packages that don't interfere with OS provided packages)
  • Backup allowance for O/S and a base amount of data stored on local hard disks
  • Patching
  • Compromise cleanup
  • Advanced hardware troubleshooting
  • Reasonable level of repair labor

A-la-carte Services (for costs, see below)

  • Excess disk capacity
  • Excess backup capacity
  • Machine room usage
  • Workstation Rental
  • Consulting
  • Programming
  • Assistance with special events
  • One time projects (set up a lab, custom computing configuration, etc.)

Repair of any given problem cannot be guaranteed or repair may not be able to be done in a timely manner due to the work loads of appropriate staff members or due to the nature of the problem. For example, if a computer is seriously infested with viruses or spyware, the user may receive the recommendation to re-install the operating system. The user will be responsible for doing this work unless the computer is on managed support.

Neither standard nor managed services include data recovery after a hardware failure or a compromise, beyond restoring from department maintained backup tapes. An assessment of the situation will be provided to the user. A reasonable amount of recovery assistance will be provided with managed service and, can be provided at consulting rates, for standard service. However, the department does not have the resources of a professional data recovery company.

Any computer that is on the CSE wired or wireless network or that has an IP address in the CSE address space must be compliant with the university's minimum network standards and must not do things that deny or maliciously/inconsiderately degrade service to other members of the department or the university. All activities performed on these computers are subject to department policy, university policy and applicable laws. Any persons or computers that are not compliant with the above conditions may be denied access to the university network.

Disk Storage

Each user has disk storage available on one of the department's central servers. This storage is automatically backed up on a nightly basis. Different types of users will have different storage allocations. In addition to a user's primary storage, there will be an allocation for their inbox, personal web site and FTP storage, which are physically stored in a different places. Quotas are set up to keep storage within the bounds of a user's allocation and help keep it so that a single user can not accidentally use up all of the storage and thus cause difficulties for other users.

Faculty

  • 2GB home directory
  • 5GB mail storage on mail server
  • 500MB old style E-mail inbox
  • 750MB personal web site
  • 5GB Common Internet File System (CIFS) storage on NetApp
  • 50MB FTP storage

Graduate Students/Researchers

  • 500MB home directory
  • 1GB mail storage on mail server
  • 100MB old style E-mail inbox
  • 50MB personal web site
  • 20MB FTP storage

Non-resident Guests

  • 50MB home directory
  • 50MB mail storage on mail server
  • 50MB old style E-mail inbox
  • No personal web site
  • No FTP storage

Additional home directory and E-mail storage is available for an excess capacity charge of $1 per month, for each 1GB increase in quota. Increases may be limited due to physical disk space constraints on servers and must not be so much that other members of the department are denied access to a reasonable amount of additional space (i.e. one person cannot buy all available space). Increases in quota for personal web site directory space or FTP directory space will be available for $1 per month for each 10MB of storage. Additional quota for old style E-mail inboxes is not available. Quotas will increase, over time, as the department's storage pool increases.

Home directories are located on the department's primary Linux login servers (csefast, csegrad, cseguest). Home directories are available to be mounted via NFS on managed Unix/Linux workstations. Home directories may be mounted as CIFS (Common Internet File System) shares on any computer.

An additional 5GB of backed up CIFS storage is available to faculty members on the department NetApp. CIFS storage can be accessed from Windows, Macintosh or Linux computers when they are connected to the wired network. CIFS storage can be accessed from off campus via the campus VPN. Use in excess of 5GB will be billed out at a rate of $1 per month for each increment of 1GB used.

Backup

All user's home directories and E-mail inboxes stored on the department's central servers are backed up on a nightly basis.

Full backups are performed on a monthly basis and are retained for one year. Weekly differential backups (incremental backups against the full backup) are retained for 6 months. Daily incremental backups are retained for 2 months. The ability to restore a file to it's state at any given time is based on how stable the file is and how quickly you report the file as needing to be restored. Files created and lost within the same day are not recoverable via the nightly backup mechanism.

In addition to backing up user's home directories, E-mail inboxes and the other contents of the department's central servers, computers that are signed up for managed support are given a backup allowance for files stored locally on those computers. The allowance is 25GB/month for managed workstations and 100GB/month for managed servers or managed clusters. Note that for servers on the discounted cluster node plan do not get an individual allowance. This allowance is for data transferred to tape, not physical disk space being backed up. This includes all of the bytes written to tape for all of the full, differential and incremental backups. The goal of this allowance is to allow for an operating system backup and base level amount of data to be backed up at no additional charge. For example, the 25GB/month for managed workstations should allow for about 5GB of data to be backed up under average use conditions (i.e. many files of various sizes with some being changed occasionally and others remaining static, not one 5GB file being changed every day).

Additional backup use beyond the allowance for managed computers is billed out at $.10 per GB of data written to tape (partial GBs will be rounded up to the next whole GB). Charges are computed on a monthly basis. Please consult with CSEHelp to identify which directories should be backed up.

Special arrangements may be made to backup non-managed computers (CSE support staff will likely need to be given administrative access to the computer) at the rate of $.10/GB written to tape rate, as described above. Reduced cost backups can be contracted for if you want lower backup frequencies and/or lower retention periods than stated above. Availability of excess capacity backup services may be limited due the capacity of the department's backup system or due to lack of time in the backup window.

Other backup options may be made available at different rates as new backup technology is integrated into the department.

All excess capacity and custom backup solutions will be billed on a monthly basis. Note that it is the user's responsibility to make sure that files that shouldn't be backed up are not placed on servers or directories designated to be backed up. Excess capacity charges are non-refundable since the space on the backup medium has already been used.

Machine Room

The department maintains a machine room with power and cooling for suitable for high density rack mounted installations. All dense deployments of servers must be installed in the department's machine room (not in graduate student labs). The building does not provide 24 hour cooling or suitable power for any rooms other than the machine room.

Each rack position in the machine room provides approximately 7.5KVA worth of power and a single copper gigabit network connection. You are responsible for providing your own rack and network distribution switch for your computers. All power for research computers is at 208 volts. Your rack will need suitable power distribution units to provide power to each of the computers in your rack. Please note that each generation of computers tends to draw more power than the previous generation. The resources of the machine room (space, power, cooling) are not unlimited. Please consider using lower power computers, where possible, in your clusters. Please contact CSEHelp prior to purchasing your cluster to make sure you have all of your basis covered. The location of racks within the machine room will be determined by the Chief Technology Officer. No racks, or other equipment, shall be placed in the machine room without coordinating with the Chief Technology Officer.

There is a one time installation fee of $500 per rack (waived for racks moving in when the room opens) and a $1,500 annual charge ($125/month) for each rack located in the machine room.

Shared rack space is available for researchers who do not need an entire rack. This allows researchers to reduce their costs by not having to purchase a rack and to not have to pay the full annual charge for hosting the rack in the machine room. The rack and power distribution (at 208 volts) will be provided. The servers must have suitable rack mounting hardware prior to installation. 100Mb/s network connections will be provided, for each computer, for researchers with less than 5 servers. For researchers with 5 or more servers, you must provide your own network switch. There will be a $200 installation fee charged for any number of servers installed on a single occasion. An annual charge of $60 ($5/month) will be charged per standard rack unit used in the rack (e.g. four 1U servers or a single 4U server would cost $240 per year ($20/month), in addition to the computer support charges). A maximum of 20U worth of rack space (at a cost of $1,200/year) may be used in a shared rack before the servers must migrate over to a dedicated rack. Note that switches, shelves and anything else that takes rack space, will be charged at the standard per rack unit rate.

All charges are billed monthly.

The machine room will be available for use by departments other than just the CSE department and are subject to the same charges as internal CSE users. CSE users will be given priority in the use of the room. As space fills up in the machine room, the needs of the users will be evaluated and some machines (such as machines that do not require rack mounting) may be required to be moved out to make room for machines that require a machine room type environment.

Note that it is not appropriate to stuff a large number of computers in graduate student offices or other rooms not approved by the department for such use. The department will evaluate deployments that use excessive amounts of power, generate excessive amounts of heat or provide an unsuitable office environment for the graduate students (i.e. excessive noise, etc.). If a deployment is deemed inappropriate for an office environment, it will be required to be moved to the machine room. If you are building a cluster, please budget for it going into the machine room from the beginning to avoid the unexpected additional expense and the disruption of having to move it there later.

Workstation Rental

The department will rent workstations to users who do not wish to purchase a workstation or need workstations for a special event. The workstations will be a standard configuration (that may vary over time) and will not be customizable. Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Office will be supplied on the computer, if desired. Users will be responsible for purchasing any additional, non-free, software that they need. The rental price will be $65 per month (for any part of a month). User support charges will be applicable on top of the rental fee. Availability of rental computers is subject to stock on hand. Please allow one week for workstation delivery after your index number has been supplied. Please note that consulting fees may be applicable for workstation setup for special events.

Projector Rental

The department can rent LCD computer projectors for use as needed. The rental fee is $100 per day (paid by university index). There is no hourly fee. All conference rooms and labs in the CSE building have projectors. Projector rentals should only be needed in rare occasions. Other A/V equipment may be rented as special needs arise. The person renting the equipment is responsible for returning the equipment in good working order.

Consulting Services

Any items not covered by any of the above charges can be requested via consulting services. If you have questions and you are not sure if consulting services are necessary, please ask. The CSEHelp group will work with you to determine what is necessary before any billing is done. Once the actual work of the project gets going or some serious research is necessary, you will be informed that consulting services are necessary and you will be asked to provide an index number before further work will begin.

The department's base consulting rate is $75/hr. There is a one hour minimum and billing is done in 15 minute increments after the first hour. Any required materials for a project will be charged separately. Special, per project, rates can be arranged, in advance, depending on the scope of work involved. Consulting services are billed out at the end of the month that the work is performed.