Getting Started

Getting started on the DCSR facilities.

DCSR? Kesako?

The full name is the Division de Calcul et Soutien à la Recherche / Scientific Computing and Research Support unit

The mission of the DCSR is to supply the University of Lausanne with compute and storage capabilities.

As well as managing compute and storage systems we also provide user support:

How to access the clusters

The DCSR maintains several clusters (Wally, Axiom and Jura) which are described here. There are 3 requirements to be able to connect to the clusters:

  1. To be part of a PI project
  2. To be on the Unil network (either physically or using the Unil VPN if you work remotely)
  3. To have a ssh client

Step 1: Be part of a PI project

To access the clusters, your PI will first need to request resources via: https://conference.unil.ch/research-resource-requests/. Then the PI must add you as a member of one of his project. Within 24 hours your access should be granted.

Step 2: Activate the Unil VPN

Unless you are physically within the Unil network you need to activate the Unil VPN (Crypto). Documentation to install and run it can be found here.

Step 3: Open a ssh client

On Linux and Mac environments, a ssh client should be available by default. You simply need to open a terminal.

Windows users can either use PowerShell if they are on Windows 10, or install a third party client such as PuTTy or MobaXterm.

Step 4: Log into a cluster

Cluster Login command
Wally ssh -X <username>@wally-front1.unil.ch
Axiom ssh -X <username>@axiom-front1.unil.ch

where <username> is your UNIL username name. You will have to enter your UNIL password.

DCSR Courses

We are organising courses on a regular basis, here are the topic addressed for the moment:

More courses to come soon!

You can find the dates and registration process there: https://conference.unil.ch/cours/ci 

Finally, the slides of the courses are available HERE.

Don't hesitate to suggest ideas for new courses related to the use of the clusters (for instance: Linux 101, parallel programming with OpenMP/MPI, application profiling, …) at this address: dcsr-support@unil.ch

Virtual machine service

The DCSR has deployed a new facility to provide researchers with a virtual machine (VM) service. Two kind of virtual machines are available:

Should I use a virtual workstation or a virtual server?

If you need to run applications and interact through a graphical interface (excepted a web interface), you have to choose virtual workstations. Instead, if you need to run applications that don't need graphical interface or that can be used through a web interface you have to choose virtual servers. If you hesitate, contact us!

How to ask for a virtual machine?

You have to use the research resource requests application available there. Any demand must be performed by the PI of a group. After having filled the information related to the project, you have to select the appropriate bundles (either virtualization workstation or virtualization server):

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Then, if you choose one of the both products, you have to fill the characteristics:

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Some important points to note:

Once the fields are filled, you can choose to add another virtual machine of the same kind. If you don't need another one, just click the "Next" button  at the end of the page and complete the resource request.

How to connect to virtual machines?

Connection to virtual workstation

Connection to virtual workstations is performed thanks to VMware Horizon available either through a web browser or a desktop client. Just go to this page and choose if you prefer the HTML access or the desktop client. If you work from home, you will first need to be in VPN using Pulse Secure (see VPN instructions). In most of the cases, HTML access will be easier but if you want to define some advanced key shortcuts or choose some parameters like video compression, you will have to choose the desktop client method to access those parameters.

Let's suppose that you have chosen HTML access, you have to enter your UNIL credentials and then login.

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Once logged in Horizon, your virtual machine(s) will appear:

image-1613046462509.png

Finally, you just have to click on the virtual machine and the graphical desktop will appear. Here is an example with a Linux desktop: