Fall 2013 Quarterly Announcements

Table of Contents

For future reference, this document will also be available at the following URL:

Contacting ICS Computing Support Helpdesk

The ICS Computing Support Group should be contacted by email at helpdesk@ics.uci.edu and by phone at (949) 824-4222.  Normal business hours for the group are from 8am-noon and 1pm-5pm.  Both Helpdesk email and phone are monitored around the clock and using them will help us provide quicker response to help requests.  

More information about Bren:ICS Computing Support is available at the following URL:


Please Note:  If you believe that there is a problem with email or that an email message to Helpdesk may not be processed by the ICS email servers, please call the helpdesk at (949) 824-4222. 

Changes to your ICS Email Account 

There are two significant changes coming to the ICS email services.  First and foremost, ICS Google Apps for Education and Gmail accounts are available for all ICS faculty, staff, and grads.  Computing Support will be emphasizing ICS Gmail service in favor of the internal ICS IMAP email system.

ICS email users will also be able to opt out of virus and spam email scanning.  If you setup an ICS Google Apps account or otherwise forward email to an address outside of ICS, then your email should be scanned by your mail provider instead of ICS mail scanners.  (Note:  Users forwarding via procmail will still be subject to ICS email virus and spam scanning).

How to Setup Your ICS Google Apps and Gmail Account

There are two steps to activating your ICS Google Apps account.

Navigate to the https://elnino.ics.uci.edu page.  When prompted, login with your ICS account and password (the same one you use to login when you read your ICS email).  This website is available on campus or through the VPN.

1.  Change your ICS password.  Click on the "Change Password" button at the above link. 

2.  Under forwarding address, select "ICS Gmail."  Leave the textbox empty as demonstrated below.

See directions online at http://www.ics.uci.edu/computing/email/icsgmail.html

How to change your ICS email delivery point to a Third Party Email Provider

These directions are for users that would like their mail forwarded to non-ICS or non-UCI addresses.

Before you begin, it is important to note that email delivery to third party email accounts is not protected by UC contracts.

Navigate to https://elnino.ics.uci.edu with your web browser.  

When prompted, login with your ICS account and password (the same one you use to login when you read your ICS email).  

Click on the "other" radio button and fill in the "Forwarding Address:" textbox with your third-party email address.

Additional Email Resources

ICS Email Resources
ICS Google Apps Login  http://mail.google.com/a/ics.uci.edu
ICS Google Apps Accounts Setup, Information and FAQ http://www.ics.uci.edu/computing/email/google_apps.html
ICS Email Overview http://www.ics.uci.edu/computing/email
Google Support http://support.google.com/?hl=en
Using Thunderbird to read Gmail  https://support.google.com/mail/troubleshooter/1668960?hl=en

Other Campus Email Services
On campus OIT email account http://oit.uci.edu/email/
UCI Google Apps Account http://www.google.uci.edu/
UCI Email Delivery and Forwarding   http://oit.uci.edu/email/deliverypoint.html

ICS.SYSTEM Announcements (RSS feed available)

Please remember to check the ics.system website frequently for postings regarding machine down times, software availability, and general computing announcements.  The site is available as both a URL and RSS feed.  The URL for the site is:


The RSS feed is available at:


Storage and Backups

Researchers and Computing Support added over 100TB of spinning disk this summer.  Like most storage, this space is network-accessible from any ICS-supported host, comes with user-accessible snapshots, and is backed up to tape.

If you are a researcher interested in purchasing a portion of this space, in terabyte increments, or storage hardware, please contact helpdesk@ics.uci.edu for more information on this and Dell discounts.

Computing Support has also expanded backup capacity to keep up with growing storage demand.  We now run two tape libraries and multiple disk-to-disk backup pools.  Quarterly backups will be performed at the end of each quarter and stored for two years.

Additional notes about ICS Backups

Snapshot Backups

File system snapshots are provided on most NFS-mounted directories (i.e. /home and /extra) as a user-accessible backup.   Snapshotted directories offer two to four weeks of snapshot backups. Contact helpdesk to find out the specifics on your file system.

File system snapshots are a copy of a file system at a specific point in time, even while the original file system continues to be updated and used normally.  File system snapshots are typically available to the directory owner.

Information on accessing home directory snapshots is available at http://www.ics.uci.edu/computing/services/snapshot.php

Tape Backups

Tape backups of /home and /extra directories are made regularly.  Tape backups are intended for disaster recovery after critical hardware failure.  Please keep in mind that directories named "scratch" are not backed up (case insensitive).

Local File Systems

The local file system is NOT part of regular backups.  This space is volatile, impermanent, and users should perform their own backups of any information saved on a local file system.

Data may be stored on the local file system in the /scratch and /tmp directories.  Files are deleted from the /tmp directory at boot, after they have not been accessed for 10 days, or during routine system administration.

Files from /scratch will be left intact except when the file systems are reformatted during installation, hardware failure, or emergency system administration.

Service Monitoring

Computing Support runs Nagios and Ganglia to monitor hosted ICS servers and services.  

The Nagios and Ganglia portals are available at the following URLs.  Use an ICS login if prompted.


Nagios monitors the availability of servers and services.  Notifications are sent to system administrators when unscheduled outages occur.  Use your ICS login and password when prompted.

Ganglia reports provides a history of resource utilization over time.

Please send an email message to helpdesk if you need help with these systems.

Public Grid Computing

ICS Computing Support manages several community and research grid compute clusters.

Grid computing is managed using Sun Grid Engine (SGE) 6.2u5.  Information about using SGE tools is available here:


Please use check pointing for better fault tolerance in general, but more so on these public clusters.

The ICS public clusters are available to any member of the ICS community.   

Public Queue Name Operating System Slots Runtime Limits
12hour.q CentOS6 x86 64-bit 24 hard limit 12 hours, soft limit 10 hours
15day.q CentOS6 x86 64-bit 36 hard limit 15 days, soft limit 14 days

Dokuwiki and WordPress Farms

For any research group that wishes to have a wiki for their website, Computing Support offers Dokuwiki as an option.  Dokuwiki stores all the data in plain text files and no database is required.  Custom themes and plug-ins are available upon request.  Currently, five research groups are using Dokuwiki to get their message out on the web.  The Computing Support group is also using it internally to document their procedures and work.  

Computing Support has created a Wordpress Farm which is available to any faculty or research group.  Currently, two professors and four research groups are making use of Computer Support's managed WordPress farm to create a website or blog.  Each faculty and research group can download and install the theme and plug-ins of their choice to customize the website.  Security updates are installed by Computing Support as necessary to keep the WordPress installation secure.  

Any faculty or research groups interested in creating a Dokuwiki or Wordpress site, just needs to send a message to helpdesk@ics.uci.edu.

Data Center and Centralized Services

Computing Support offers the following data center and centralized services.  In many cases, these services are available to both managed and unmanaged hosts.  Please send any inquiries about availability of these services (or anything else you can think of) to helpdesk.
  • Public Access Cycle servers
  • Rack Hosting:  Self Managed and ICS Managed
  • Data Storage and Management
  • Server and Service Monitoring
  • Load Balancing/High Availability
  • Subversion Repository Hosting
  • Git Repository Hosting (coming soon)
  • Wiki farm
  • Request Tracker Ticketing System
  • Conference Registration Services
  • Web Application Hosting

GitLab and Subversion

ICS Computing Support currently runs a research and instructional Subversion server that uses the if.SVNAdmin package to provide self service through a convenient GUI.  Computing Support also intends to provide GitLab service beginning Winter quarter.

Both the GitLab and if.SVNAdmin allow repository owners to modify their own subversion authorization file, create logins, and assign permissions and roles through a web interface.

ICS community members who are running Git or Subversion repositories or are interested in using a revision control system are encouraged to contact helpdesk.