Key Features of the New Computer Lab

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  • New and improved technology
    • We replaced five year old PCs with brand new thin client and virtualization technologies. Thin clients have no local disk, use far less power than traditional PCs, and run server-based operating system and application software.
    • Operating systems and applications run on powerful new blade servers. Thin clients use only about a fifth of the power required by our old PCs. Thin client and blade server technologies significantly reduce energy consumption and environmental impact, producing much less heat and minimizing the cooling required. This allowed us to install many more stations at Mugar than we could have using conventional PCs.
    • This technology allows us to provide improved service and a broader range of applications. Each server is highly redundant and problems can be addressed centrally, systematically, and sometimes automatically without visiting individual PCs.
    • A defective thin client can be swapped out in minutes with no need to load and configure the operating system and applications locally. If a station malfunctions, you can simply move to another and pick up where you left off.
    • We installed a new high-speed network in the Library, capable of transmitting 1 billion bits per second.
  • Enhanced and expanded applications
    • We updated applications and added many new offerings, including Microsoft Office, Mathematica, MATLAB, SAS, and Adobe Creative Suite 4.
  • Disk storage for working files and persistent personal settings
    • The new platform offers 250 MBytes of transient file storage, primarily intended to preserve documents across sessions and even station, power, or software failures. In certain circumstances, you may also be able to recover files you deleted by mistake.
    • Although you’ll be able to use this storage for files you’re working on currently, you shouldn’t use it as a document or email archive since you would quickly run out of space.
    • Files will not be backed up, so permanently deleted files cannot be recovered. We recommend keeping your backups current and storing copies of working files on flash drives or your own PC.