Tuesday, 17 February 2009

University Matlab License Server Upgrade

Please see the announcement below from OUCS about changes to the matlab license server.

The MATLAB License server at OUCS is going to be upgraded on Tuesday 24th February. The old server will be switched off and replaced with a new server between 7:30 to 8:00.

If everything goes to plan, it is possible that you will not even notice the switch over. However, it is also possible that your MATLAB session will crash and you will loose all your work. For this reason, OUCS recommend that you do not use MATLAB in the period between 7:30 to 8:00.

The main reason for the upgrade is to introduce idle session time outs. Matlab will return all licenses to the server if it is unused for more than 4 hours. Please note that :-

  1. A time out cannot occur while a program is running. For a time out to occur, MATLAB must be completely idle with no input and no calculations for 4 hours.
  2. If your session times out, entering a new command will restart the session straight away. There will be a message in the MATLAB command window to tell you that the license has timed out. A new license will automatically be requested as soon as any activity is detected.
  3. At the moment we are running out of Matlab licences on a regular basis. We hope that the time outs will reduce the load so that everybody that wants to use MATLAB can. Therefore, it is desirable that all sessions running on the old server are closed and restarted on the new server after 8:00.
  4. Can you please make sure that all MATLAB sessions are terminated before 7:30 on Tuesday 24th February. If you do have a MATLAB session that is working through this period, can you please restart it as soon as possible.
Wednesday, 4 February 2009

New Windows Terminal Server

A new Windows Terminal Server will be in place between the Wednesday and Thursday. An exact time of the update is not available as it depends on the internet provider of the end-user. The new Terminal Server will offer several innovations including:

  • 16 CPU Cores
  • 64GB of RAM
  • Windows 2008
  • 64bit mathematical applications (Maple, Mathematica, Matlab)
  • Updated software for everyday use, as it is available on the new Windows desktops.
  • Visual Studio 2008

You will automatically be redirected to the new terminal server if you connect to 

The old Windows Terminal Server (pandora) will still be available as a backup for a short period of time on

Please note, that due to a limitation in the current version of the Linux Terminal Server Client (rdesktop) you need to select a normal RDP (as opposed to RDPv5) session when connecting to the new Terminal Server. We hope to resolve this issue in the near future.

Please send any feedback and comments to

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Printserver update

In order to get the printing back into a transparent structure, the printserver print0 has been reinstalled today. In the first instance this should not affect anyone, but if it does, it will only affect people who have been using print0 in the past.

The idea is that print0 will become the main printserver for Linux and Windows users. Currently print0 is tested by several people across the department and is the recommended printserver for Laptops. If the test is successful, then we will be transferring everyone onto this printserver.

If you have any questions concerning this or are experiencing printing problems, please email .

Monday, 15 December 2008

Electrical work, offices ground floor St Giles.

This work has been completed.

To removed old cables following the work in St Giles' server room, there will be no power from 8 am until approximately 9 am in some offices on the ground floor of St Giles. Computers in these offices will be shutdown from 7 am. This will effect G5b through to G13 including the graduate study area. Parts of reception and the computers in the common room.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Oxford Maths Student Wins Countdown

Junaid Mubeen won the 59th series on countdown on 12 December 2008 on last programme to be hosted by Des O'Connor and Carol Vordermann. He has been an Oxford mathematics student and a member of St Anne's College, since 2003.

Junaid completed an MMath degree in 2007 and is now studying for a DPhil. His supervisor, Professor Charles Batty, said "I shall be delighted if he is as successful in his mathematical research as he has been in his television appearances".

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Electrical work in St Giles server room

This work has been completed.

On Monday 15th December 2008 the final part of the electrical work in the St Giles server room is to be completed. The potentially most disruptive work will take place before 9 am.

The following services will be given a backup power feed due to having dual power supplies:

  • Homes server Jam-tart
  • Main unix mail server Cheesecake.
  • Windows terminal server Pandora aka WTS.

The following services will be given preference to being powered up throughout the work but are at risk of being shutdown due to running on UPS battery power:

  • Homes server Battery
  • New unix mail server Mail-new.
  • Web application server Diode including Socrates and Minerva.
  • Main web server
  • Auxiliary web servers.
  • Administrative shares server magnetron including DFS.
  • Unix printing.
  • Unix webmail.
  • Eprints server.
  • External firewall.
  • Managed network.
  • VPN server Big-brother.

The following services will have to be shut down, have their power feed changed, and then be powered back up again thus giving the above services more battery power. This work will be done between 7 am and 8 am.

  • Windows Exchange server Rosemary
  • Windows printing
  • Laptop NAT firewall / router

The following computers may have to be switches off due to lack of UPS battery power:

  • Epimetheus.
  • Prometheus.
  • Electronic Notice Board (ENB) in St Giles' foyer.
  • Skylab.
  • Web-woman.

Wednesdays work was completed within 40 minutes with more than 20 minutes of UPS battery runtime left. More work has to be completed but two rather than one electrician can be working on the final part of the installation. Mains power will be turned off at 8 am with a target of completing the work by 9 am. The requirement for UPS power will be less on Monday than the previous power shutdown on Wednesday.

This work will give the server room independence from work in the new year which would have caused many interruptions to the server room for long periods of time. This is due to the technical difficulty of the work required in the riser rooms on the ground and first floor. Also this work reduces electrical load on the phase currently loaded much higher than the others.

We are aware of the admission process taking place next week and hope that this work with not disrupt that. All efforts will be made to have essential services running on mains power by 9 am Monday morning. If time is limited with running on batteries plan B is to defer the work until Tuesday morning at a similar time.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Gibson Building weekend power shutdown beginning Friday 12th at 3pm

We have been informed by the University Estates Directorate that the high voltage cable fault in Walton Street has now been repaired by SSE and the new substation to the rear of the Gibson Building has been powered up, therefore the Gibson & Harkness electrical changeover's previously scheduled for last weekend will now take place this Saturday 13th December between 7:30am and 5:30pm.

In order to facilitate this work the department needs to shutdown and unplug all electrical equipment before hand.

The IT team will be powering down and unplugging all IT equipment in the building (computers, network switches, printers, wireless access points etc), starting at 3pm on Friday 12th. Please make sure that you have saved all your work and logged out of your workstation by this time.

If you have any personal electronic devices (laptops, mobile phone chargers, etc.), we ask that you please disconnect them too.

Please DO NOT plug-in or turn on any electrical equipment after this time, as equipment may be damaged during the electrical work if it is left connected to the power supply.

The IT team will be around on Monday morning to reconnect and power up IT equipment; please wait for us to do this, rather than doing it yourself, so that we can verify that no damage occurred during the electrical maintenance. We expect to have everything up and running by 10:00.

Note: this work only affects the physical equipment in the Gibson Building. Apart from within the Gibson Building, all Mathematical Institute IT services and remote access will be operating as normal for all users.

If you have any queries regarding this notice, please send them to:

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Network Outage

On December 10th 2008 there will be some disruption to the Maths IT network and some IT services.

OUCS have to perform emergency work on one of their backbone routers which will effect our network between 0800 and 0830. At the same time some disruptive internal network change overs will take place. The first will be changing the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) connected to the Dartington House network cabinet. The second will be changing over the power supply to our external switch in preparation for electrical work in St Giles server room. During this time it should be assumed that no IT services will be available. This work has been completed.

Between 0830 and 0900 the electrical supply to the main UPS in the St Giles server room will be turned off to allow electrical testing on the new circuitry in G4. This should not disrupt core services (i.e. home directories, email). This work has been completed.

To allow extra run time on the UPS less important machines will be turned off. The only user facing service will the the Electronic Notice Board (ENB) in St Giles' foyer.

To allow similar electrical work to take place in G5 there will be some disruption to IT services throughout the day. The following user facing machines (with services) will have to be shut down, have their power feed changed, and then be powered back up again:

  • Rosemary (MS Exchange email) Completed
  • Laptop NAT router Completed
  • Chess (Windows Print server)Completed

The following machines need to be shutdown and physically moved which will take some time:

  • Zeppelin (TCC video recorder)
  • Beast (ENB)Completed
  • Skylab (Terminal service for Oracle Financials)Completed

There are a couple of reasons for the electrical work in St Giles' server room. One is that the supply to the room was not adequate for the amount of servers in the room. This caused many power trips in 2007 and early 2008. A work around was put in place which was not a long term solution. An upgraded UPS and dedicated feed has already been installed and many core services have been moved to this.

Early next year a lot of electrical work has to be done in St Giles' which without the electrical upgrades in G4 and G5 would mean that core services would be effected several times for prolonged periods of time.

Any addition information will be added to this news item.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Network connection lost due to crashed router

There was a router crash yesterday at about 9pm. OUCS appear to have applied a temporary fix late last night.

Numerous university buildings were affected including us:

Theoretical Physics
Wytham Woods
Materials 12/13 Parks Road
Engineering - Thom Building
Engineering - 14/15 Parks Road
Keble College - 23 Banbury Road
Engineering - Holder Building
Engineering - Jenkin Building
Engineering - Wolfson E&T
Archaeology Research Laboratory
Educational Studies
Wolfson College
Tubney Woods (WildCRU)
Materials Annexe - 21 Banbury Road
St. Edmund Hall Annexe
Maison Francaise
Maths Institute - Felstead House
Statistics In Medicine
Access GRID (ComLab)
Physics - DWB
Engineering - IEB
Maths Institute
Computing Laboratory
Lady Margaret Hall
Dept. of Materials
eSciences (OeRC)
eScience Building - ComLab in OeRC

We appear to have had another problem this morning with connectivity between the buildings which may be related.

OUCS have investigated yesterdays fault and will be applying a permanent fix tomorrow morning. They predict it will interrupt connections for up to 10 minutes before 8:30am.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Gibson Building power shutdown - postponed until next weekend

Dear all,

We've just been informed that, due to an external high voltage cable fault in Walton Street, the planned shutdown to allow for the transfer of electrical supplies feeding Harkness and Gibson Buildings this weekend has been postponed and will instead be carried out next weekend.

We will send out another notification next week about the new shutdown date.

If you have any queries regarding this notice, please send them to: