SRS Computing Support

Mark Enderby, FCIS Group
CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory, Warrington, UK WA4 4AD


The Synchrotron Light Source at Daresbury Laboratory is supported by a large distributed computing system which provides facilities for data analysis and storage as well as information services and facility administration.

While the majority of services are currently provided by UNIX servers, Windows NT is becoming increasingly important as the basis for running the facility.

This poster gives an overview of the main components of the distributed computing system, the technologies used and also the infrastructure required to support it. This poster supplements the Daresbury Computing Facility Report.


Facility Groups

There are 7 main facility groups - each specialising in a particular area of science - serving the SRS. Each of these groups has one or more "project programmers" who support computing for data acquisition and analysis.

Each group maintains its own computing resources and backup support for these is provided by the SR Facility Computing and Information Systems Group. These resources are formed into "computing villages".

A typical village comprises of ...

  • user PCs and UNIX workstations
  • login server (supporting X-terminals and remote login sessions)
  • file server
  • compute server

Servers consist of UNIX systems from IBM, SG and SUN. Digital Storageworks is used for the file server disk subsystems and backup is to DLT jukeboxes using Legato Networker software. Some file servers employ RAID 5 technology.

Facility Computing & Information Systems Group

This group provides computing support to the facility groups and also runs common SR computing facilities such as the Departmental Office.

Services provided to the facility groups ...

  • operating system support (UNIX/NT/MacOS/VMS)
  • system purchases and maintenance
  • planning and coordination
  • user education

Common SR computing facilities ...

  • departmental office systems
  • departmental intranet
  • departmental Ingres database
  • UNIX distribution and license servers
  • workstation and NT server backup
  • liaison with central services

The SR Departmental Office

  • SUN running Ingres - Used for SR administration data
  • SR NT Office & Intranet Server - Storage of SR documentation in both Microsoft Office and html formats
  • SR NT File Server - Provides backed-up file space for PC and MAC users
  • SR NTrigue Server - Provides PC services to UNIX users using Insignia NTrigue software

Department of Computing and Information

This CCLRC department provides "contract" services to SR which are more economically and logically provided on a laboratory-wide basis. These services consist of ...

  • networking infrastructure and support
  • mail (smtp/Exchange) and news
  • PC support and helpdesk
  • computer room facilities and machine monitoring
  • "CLEO" support (Microsoft Office and diary systems)
  • CCLRC web server
  • Ingres database server and support
  • print service
  • optical disk data archiving


Last updated 04/12/97 - M J Enderby : mail, homepage