Servers, Workstations, and Hardware
If you’re setting up a new server (or considering setting up a new server) please see Best practices for setting up and managing new servers before making any purchase or decisions.
There are five machine rooms in Stata, managed by the TIG Operations team. We also have facilities at the Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) in Holyoke. If you have a machine hosted here or at MGHPCC, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for access
Remote power control
We strongly recommend that any mission-critical computing take place on servers located in server rooms, not workstations in offices. Modern servers come with remote management capabilities that allow them to be reset or power-cycled remotely over a secure network. Contact TIG for assistance in setting up a private network for your server management controllers — these must not be connected to the public Internet.
We have no objection in principle to connecting critical equipment in your lab or office to a remote-controlled power strip or outlet. However, these devices often have extremely poor security, with poorly documented hard-coded passwords and unpatchable operating systems and web applications. Unless you have a private network in your lab (accessible from a machine other than the one you are controlling), we would recommend against using such devices. If absolutely necessary, please contact TIG to review the documentation and configuration of the device in question. Please also be aware that many servers draw more power than these consumer-grade devices are designed to handle, which can result in a blown fuse or worse in the middle of an intensive computation.
Accessories and Equipment Loaning
TIG has a variety of equipment available for short-term loans, including projectors, laptops, and conference phones. These items can be reserved and booked in advance. Some smaller equipment items, such as adapters and cables, are loan or given out by TIG on a first-come first-serve basis. You must visit TIG for these items.
Please visit Equipment System, “quip” to browse and reserve, or come to TIG in 32-270 and we may have it!
If you decide you do need your own physical server, we encourage you to consult with TIG before committing to a purchasing decision. In general, this often means people saying “We want to buy a thus-and-such to do this on” and us saying “OK, that sounds fine” (after some discussion about physical needs; see below), but we may have useful advice (e.g., that somebody else ran into problems with that particular hardware, or that if you buy this comparable machine instead we’ll be in a better position to diagnose it if it breaks). And we’re happy to be a sounding board for your capacity-planning thoughts.
We have found in the last year that Alienware hardware is not compatible with Linux Operating Systems and makes it very difficult to install an Alienware in our environment. We do not support nor recommend Alienware so if your looking at Alienware hardware please check with us first and we can try to find something comparable that works for you.
For server room machine purchases ALWAYS CHECK WITH TIG FIRST. In the last year we have closed one Stata Computer Rooms and have become extremely tight on space/power/cooling in our others. We have been sending most new purchases to the MIT funded data center at Holyoke MGHPCC It takes lots of time effort and planning to determine where machines will be placed so, If you don’t check in with us we cannot guarantee a quick solution to racking and installing your machines in our rack space.
For laptops, please see MIT, IS&T’s Hardware Recommendations.
(IS&T used to have recommended desktop workstation systems, but now “IS&T recommends portable computers due to the flexibility that they provide.“)
We generally recommend making purchases through the Buying at MIT which provides discounts for all purchases and payment without POs for departmental orders. Most computer purchases are made through the GovConnection, Apple, and Dell ECAT stores. Please contact HQ’s Fiscal staff with questions about departmental purchases through ECAT.
While we can often assist in troubleshooting suspected hardware problems, please be advised that TIG is not a hardware shop and can under no conditions perform warranty maintenance or replace processors or power supplies. IS&T’s Service Center offers warranty and out-of-warranty hardware repairs on Apple, Dell, and Lenovo Think-branded computers
You can also reach out to the vendor for both in- and out-of-warranty machines.
Accessories and Equipment Loaning
TIG offers an extensive array of adapters, cables, converters, tools, A/V equipment, and much more for in-person check out and reservation. Please visit out equipment booking application: https://quip.csail.mit.edu/
Computer theft is a real and unfortunate threat. Many crimes happen when a laptop is left unattended for just a moment. To help prevent computer theft, please follow these guidelines and come get a lock from TIG if you need it.