FAQs about Remote Working

Please use the systems as normal. If there are any changes to the system they will be announced here, via email and/or Mattermost Town Square.

While there is increased demand for remote working we have opened direct SSH access to Centos 7 interactive nodes (gamma, phi, hepcuda1). Where instructions mention gateway.ph.liv.ac.uk they can be substituted.

General HEP Linux Access

  • How do I get in touch if I need support accessing HEP services?
  • I usually use a Linux desktop, how do I use my software as normal from off-campus?
    • A standard Linux desktop environment and graphical output can be used in a VNC session (like a desktop in a window). Start one on an interactive node eg gamma or phi. More info in the HepVNCGuide.
  • If I'm working on my home system and want to access my HEP files how do I do this?
    • If you want to use software directly on a home system rather than via SSH/VNC you can access files in various ways, depending a little on what you're doing.
    • For code using Git https://gitlab.ph.liv.ac.uk
    • For general documents, downloads etc WISP cloud storage can be used directly, or syncing in the background. See WispStorageGuide.
    • Linux and Mac users may be able to set up SSHFS using gateway.ph.liv.ac.uk and usual HEP login. (We don't officially support this but understand if people want to use it for convenience).
    • FileZilla can be used for SFTP access on Windows etc, use gateway.ph.liv.ac.uk as the hostname and usual HEP login.
  • How do I keep in touch with colleagues?
    • If CSD email services are running then you can keep using Liverpool University and HEP Email addresses as normal. HEP Webmail is the preferred method and should work from any system.
    • If CSD email services are down then you may still be able to use HEP Mattermost. You can post publically or create private channels for your group. We will make announcements in the main Town Square channel if HEP email is unavailable.
    • VideoConferencing systems such as Vidyo, Skype and Zoom can be used if people have accounts. HEP WISP service has a built in Talk app which includes basic video conferencing, all HEP users and guests can use this if they wish.
    • If passwords and confidential information need to be shared we recommend using KeePass databases, either distributed as attachments or in WISP/Cernbox storage. See PasswordSecurity.

Managed Windows Access

  • How do I run MWS applications from home?
  • What do I need to access HEP Linux software from Windows?
    • For command line applications you will need an SSH client. PuTTY is an easy to install SSH terminal. For more features such as X Windows support MobaXterm has a free home edition.
    • Graphical applications will tend to be more responsive if run in a VNC session. You will need an SSH client to set up the session. You should configure it to connect via gateway.ph.liv.ac.uk. More info in the HepVNCGuide.

Mac OS X Access

  • What do I need to access HEP Linux software from Mac OS X?
    • OS X has a Terminal application supporting SSH as standard. Alternative terminals such as iTerm2 may be more convenient (lots of extra features).
    • To access graphical applications with X11 you will need to install XQuartz. You may need to enable 3D support by typing in a terminal
      • defaults write org.macosforge.xquartz.X11 enable_iglx -bool true
    • For VNC access OS X should have a VNC viewer built in. Easiest way to access it is to type into Safari
      • vnc://hostname.of.vnc.server:port
      • See the HepVNCGuide for more info on setting up tunneling etc.

Phone/Tablet Access

  • While Phones and Tablets have access to apps for SSH, VNC etc we don't recommend trying to use them for extended remote access outside of an emergency.
  • If you do not have access to a laptop or desktop capable of running a terminal and/or VNC viewer please contact helpdesk and we will try to organise something.

Alternative Computing Resources

If there is a serious problem with the HEP or University CSD systems there may be extended disruption to local services. Many people also have access to computing resources at other institutions. It is advised to check that your accounts on these services are up to date and you know how to use them.
  • Liverpool University CSD run some generic Linux shell services. SSH to unix.liv.ac.uk then to lxa.liv.ac.uk, lxb.liv.ac.uk or lxc.liv.ac.uk. These have access to your M drive files, but no HEP software or data.
  • CERN LXPLUS provides general shell access and SWAN services provide various data analysis environments for anyone with a CERN account.
Topic revision: r9 - 09 Nov 2020, JohnBland
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