MSE IT Services
MSE IT Services is the Melbourne School of Engineering’s IT support team. We support specialist IT for teaching and research within the school as part of a shared responsibility with the more general IT support provided the University Services.
We are specialists who:
- support and provide advice for specialised equipment such as research workstations, wet lab PCs and IT equipment attached to machinery. We also provide an IT purchasing service.
- support and advise on the schools fleet of research, teaching and general servers and manage our IT Infrastructure such as data centres, networks and firewalls.
- create and support software applications for the school.
Our services are free to MSE Staff.
University Services General IT
Contact University Services for all general IT supportview
Networks, access and passwords, Desktop IT support, email, collaboration tools, IT services and access to Themis resources
Specialist IT Services by MSE IT
MSE IT Services for Specialised Research Supportview
IT Purchasing, Linux, Servers, application development, Research Support, Advice and Specialist Software.
IT for Students
For Student IT support and information please visit: http://studentit.unimelb.edu.au/
software for students
MSE students at the university have access to course related software that you can install on your personal computers, including MS Office 365, many Microsoft development tools, Aspen and many more.view
unix servers for students
MSE IT Services maintains general access UNIX servers for use by students where they are required for Engineering coursework. Their purpose is to support both teaching and learning for Computer Science related subjectsview
Information about Computer Labs at Engineering, Real Time Lab Availability and Installed Software Packagesview
In line with MSE 2025, the standard computer provided to staff and RHD Students will be a high specification laptop, docking station and appropriate peripherals, in line with the computer allocation guidelines below.
MSE Computer Guidelines
MSE High-Power Computer Purchasing Guidelines
These guidelines are intended to encourage procurement of devices which are both fit for research needs/use and fit for the future physical MSE environment. With MSE 2025 well underway, any high-power computer purchase must be informed by these factors:
- New MSE Buildings will have very finely balanced power and environmental standards that will preclude workstation computers in many areas
- Staff and Students will be allocated a laptop for their day to day computing needs
- Many existing MSE work spaces will be demolished or renovated, with new environments likely to be more open and flexible, so existing spaces that are suitable for workstations may be lost
- MSE is encouraging utilization of MSE and University wide compute clusters and computing resources rather than individual devices.
Preferred MSE High Power Compute Device
With these guidelines in mind, all requests to quote for a high-power compute device will receive a quote based on a rack mounted device or equivalent server.
All high-power computing devices will need to be fit for use within an appropriate racked environment, such as the MSE Data Centre or the Terabit Network Lab (TNL) Server Room on level 1 of the EEE building. The only specification change required would be to include out-of-band management*. They will need to be accessed remotely over the network
The MSE Data Centre is a managed environment with an uninterruptable, smoothed power supply, temperature and humidity controlled and controlled secure access. The TNL Server Room is an unmanaged space with air conditioning and Staff/RHD Student swipe card access.
MSE IT Services will provide installation, commissioning, ongoing support and training throughout the lifespan of the device. This team can also provide device management, ranging from just installing the physical hardware into the Data Centre through to full device management. Full device management can include OS/Software installation, configuration, critical patch management, securing the device in terms of security hardening and access security. The requestor can opt to self-manage all aspects of the device if so desired.
Procedure – Preferred Model
All requests for a rack mountable high-power compute device can proceed subject to normal supervisor and financial approval.
Procedure – Non-Preferred Models
Anyone requesting a workstation or server in a tower or desktop form factor for use in an office or lab must provide a written business case justifying the purchase. The case must address the:
- proposed location and environment for the machine
- likely location and environment the machine will occupy in future years until end of life
- number of users
- use case for the computer, including examples supporting the proposed form factor
MSE IT Services along with a representative of the MSE Facilities and OHS team will review the business case for tower or desktop form factor workstations. They may ask for clarification or make suggestions which address the business case.
In the event of disagreement over the device form factor, the request can be referred to a small panel for academic review and final decision.
* Out-of-band management is sometimes called lights-out management (or LOM) and involves the use of a dedicated network management channel for device maintenance. It allows a system administrator to monitor and manage servers and other network-attached equipment by remote control regardless of whether the machine is powered on, or if an operating system is installed or functional.
MSE Computer Allocation Guidelines
MSE will provide a single allocated computer, per staff member or research higher degree student, from school's recurrent budget, with replacements occurring on a four-year cycle or as deemed unfit for purpose. This allocated computer should be picked from MSE's preferred computer list and must be fit for purpose and role. If a computer fails in its fourth year it will be replaced rather than repaired. The MSE preferred computer list will be reviewed on a biannual basis.
MSE has a preference for all replacement and new computers to be laptops, for both academic and professional staff, to align with MSE 2025.
All Laptops will come as a bundle unless the existing laptop dock is reusable or current monitors are fit for purpose and reuse.
All computing purchases need to be selected from the University preferred suppliers, listed on the computer catalogue website (https://staff.unimelb.edu.au/information-technology/computers-printers/computer-catalogue). All computers listed are certified to run the Managed Operating Environment (MOE) or the Linux Standard Operating Environment (SOE) and allow University Services to provide ongoing support.
The University preferred suppliers can supply other devices if a laptop computer will not meet the specific requirements of a position. If a computer model is selected, which is not on the preferred MSE model list, approval from the relevant Head of Department will need to be sought and an alternative source of funding may need to be provided to cover any additional cost. Advice will be given from MSE IT Services about the models and specifications available outside of the MSE preferred list during the procurement process.
When a new computer is purchased as part of the four-year replacement cycle, the replaced computer is deemed end of life and will be disposed of as per the University computer disposal process and the University IT security policy, unless the computer is reallocated within MSE.
Research workstation computing needs fall outside of the MSE Computer Allocation Guidelines and will be quoted for on an "on request" basis.
- If a computer is deemed unfit for purpose or role, via a requested assessment by MSE IT Services, it will be replaced from the school's recurrent budget, irrespective of the asset's age.
- Head of Department approval will be sought for orders other than the listed standard, where additional funding is needed or orders including two screens
MSE preferred standard computers (August 2017)
|HP Laptop - 14"||Screen||RAM||Hard Drive|
|HP EliteBook 840 G4 - i7||14" 1920 x 1080||16GB||512GB SSD|
|Lenovo Linux 14"||Screen||RAM||Hard Drive|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T470 / i7||14" 1920 x 1080||16GB||512GB SSD|
|Apple Laptop - 13"||Screen||RAM||Hard Drive|
|MacBook Pro 13" (non touch) - / i5||13.3" 2560x1600||8GB||256GB SSD|
|MacBook Air 13" / i5||13.3" 1440x900||8GB||256GB SSD|
|Lenovo Miix 12"||Screen||RAM||Hard Drive|
|Lenovo Miix / i5 touchscreen||12" 1920 x 1200||8GB||256GB SSD|
All MSE IT purchases should be requested here:
MSE IT Research and New Services Request Form
Frequently Asked Questions about MSE IT Services
Personal MSE Research Storage
All MSE staff and research students are entitled to a personal network research drive of 25GB. This space is private and can not be shared with others. To request additional personal storage or shared storage, please log a request here on the MSE IT New and Research IT Service Form.
Your storage can be found here:
- Wndows: \\silo-hq1.eng.unimelb.edu.au\YourUserName
- Mac or Linux: smb://silo-hq1.eng.unimelb.edu.au/YourUserName
MSE IT Services maintains the right to archive personal research drives after staff/reasearh students leave.
Storage Fair Use
MSE IT Services runs a large storage cluster with approximately 800TB of useable space. Currently, space utilization is approximately 30% of the useable space whereas the allocated space is almost 80% of the useable space. This represents an inefficient use of the space, so we are introducing the following Fair Use policy.
When creating shares, MSE IT Services will ask how much space you require immediately and what the likely final space requirement will be. We will provision your immediate requirements and either "thin provision" the remaining amount or ask that you submit a request when you need more space. Extending storage space is a simple task so it is better for all MSE researchers if you keep a storage request modest and realistic.
Active Disk Usage Monitoring
MSE IT Services will actively monitor disk space utilization for all shares on its storage. Shares that have significant free space will have their owners notified and their quota automatically reduced to more accurately reflect their usage.
This is not a punitive action and quotas can be easily increased again by contacting MSE IT Services.
Share owners will be asked to nominate an approximate date after which their share will no longer be used. MSE IT Services will contact you around your nominated end date to determine the future of the share or commence your archive plan. Most research shares should have a data plan in place to guide this process.
Shares that our active monitoring indicate may have fallen from use will have ther owners contacted. After this may be set to read only and/or have an archive plan created.
Replication and Backup
MSE IT Services provides a replication and backup services.
All MSE Research Home drives and business critical shares are replicated to the MSE Data Centre.
Research groups can ask to have their group shares replicated subject to available space and importance.
MSE IT Services uses Infrastructure Services' Commvault service to back up business critical services and infrastructure. Research groups can ask for their data to be protected or archived with this service.
Personal Web Site or MyWebPages
All staff are entitled to a personal web site that they create and maintain themselves. To request a personal web site, please log a request here on the MSE IT New and Research IT Service Form.
Your web page can be seen at http://people.eng.unimelb.edu.au/YourUserName.
You can edit your web pages by mounting your MyWebPages shared drive.
- Windows: \\silo-hq1.eng.unimelb.edu.au\mywebpages
- Mac or Linux: smb://silo-hq1.eng.unimelb.edu.au/mywebpages
When prompted, Mac users may need to supply their user name in as "unimelb\UserName" or "UserName@unimelb.edu.au".
You must have at least an index.html, index.php or index.shtml file as your "home" page or nothing will show up - you will get a "forbidden error".
MSE IT Services maintains the right to remove sites that have been abandoned or contravene University regulations.
High Performance Computing
There are a number of (free) HPC options available to MSE Researchers.
- SPARTAN - This is a large HPC cluster administered by the University's Research Platform Service. See here for more information.
- SPARTAN GPGPU - This service is a large GPGPU based HPC cluster administered jointly by Research Platform Service, MSE IT Services and Melbourne BioInformatics. It is under contruction now and is expected to be available in December 2017
Argali - This is a small HPC cluster administered by MSE IT Services. It is intended for researchers with a need for compute with a large RAM requirement or special requirement not met by other services. Contact MSE IT Services if you want to use this service. Details:
- four 28 core nodes with 768gb RAM each
- two 28 core nodes with 1tb RAM each
- 40gb/s ethernet interconnect
The University of Melbourne and MSE now provide and support a Linux Standard Operating Environment (SOE) based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. You can now buy computers pre-installed with the Linux SOE or have an existing computer re-installed.
Why use the Linux SOE?
- Popular and reliable Ubuntu 16.04 LTS distribution
- Central username/password authentication
- Baseline software installs and access to licensed software
- Remote & On-site support
- SUDO access upon request
- Printer Access
- Shared Drives automatically mounted (~/shares)
- Virtual Box - Windows 7 (and Windows 10 soon)
- Computer lifecycle management
- Technical support by MSE IT services
Useful links for the Linux SOE (login required).
- Linux SOE Overview: https://unimelb.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&article=KB0012053
- Linux SOE Printing: https://unimelb.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&article=KB0012357
- Evolution Email Configuration: https://unimelb.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&article=KB0011814
- Mutt Email Configuration: https://unimelb.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&article=KB0012343
- Thunderbird Email Configuration: https://unimelb.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&article=KB0012327
- Shared Email boxes in Thunderbird: https://unimelb.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&article=KB0012353
- Windows VM: https://unimelb.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&article=KB0012437
- Backups with Druva: https://unimelb.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&article=KB0011703
To purchase a Linux SOE computer or have the Linux SOE installed, please log a request here on the MSE IT New and Research IT Service Form.