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Helios: interactive login
Helios: interactive login
EOL - End Of Life
After more than 10 years, the helios server will be removed at the end of this academic year (2021-2022).
The HPC infrastructure can provide a full-fledged alternative to helios.
The new web portal on https://login.hpc.ugent.be offers a very user-friendly entry point for researchers and students.
This is described in chapter 8 of the manual at https://www.ugent.be/hpc/en/support/documentation.htm
With the advent of new debug/visualization cluster 'slaking' we can also offer interactive desktops, without the drawbacks of a queue.
Alternatively, you can also use the VSC Tier-1 Cloud setup.
This is a private cloud setup, similar to Amazon/Google, but on VSC infrastructure.
This offers you more tailor-made possibilities, but requires that you (or someone else in your group) maintain these virtual machines, do user management etc.
More information at https://www.vscentrum.be/cloud
Helios is the interactive unix / linux server, replacing allserv and genix/eduserv.
Helios is meant for students and for staff.
- You must sign up for an a helios account (once). This does not happen automatically.
Create your helios account using following online form.
(Note: only within UGentNet!)
- Helios is only accessible within UGentNet.
For access from outside UGentNet setting up a VPN connection is necessary.
- Helios can be accessed via Secure Shell. See: Interactive log in
Helios is a virtual machine with 16G ram and 12 Intel Xeon 2.9Ghz CPUs.
The OS on helios is Ubuntu. A selection of software from the (extensive!) ubuntu repositories is installed on the system. The list of software packages on helios can be obtained using the dpkg command:
The disk space allocated on helios is independent of the standard disk space quota for students and staff.
Users have a home directory on the /users file system with a fixed quota of 5GB.
The /work file system is available to users as temporary workspace. Typical use of /work could be as follows (the variable LOGNAME contains the login name of the user):
mkdir -m 700 /work/$LOGNAME
# do some work
The free space (~ 100GB currently) on the local disks assigned to the /work filesystem can be used at will. Note: if this file system reaches its limit, the system administrator can empty it without notice.
From Helios you can access personal disk space(H:-drive), shared disk space (shares), personal web space (users.ugent.be) and shared web space (webshares). See: Access to central disk space.
Maintenance and disaster recovery
Every Monday between 5 and 6 p.m. there is a maintenance window in which software upgrades and other regular maintenance are performed. Occasionally a reboot may be necessary. Reboots are announced (half an hour to several hours) in advance in the "message of the day" which you see at login. Authenticated users get a message on their (virtual) terminal.
Larger maintenance tasks are announced via the ICT helpdesk and may take place outside the maintenance window.
When helios would be unavailable for a longer period, a smaller server will take over its functions. Users can then access their files and perform basic activities. Heavy load jobs won't be possible in such circumstances.
The purpose of helios is to offer an interactive linux environment to UGent staff and students. It is not intended for virtual desktop environments or other (web, database, ...) services.
Setting up network services is not allowed, except by way of exercise, test or proof of concept. Take care not to use standard ports (eg 8080) so that helios is not erroneously classified as a service provider.
Helios can be used for daily work such as document processing and doing exercises. Batch processing via cron and atjobs is also possible. Computing jobs may be performed when these are intended for a thesis or an exercise, provided they are not too heavy.
Inhibing another user is not allowed. If you need heavy load jobs you should resort to our High Performance Computing infrastructure or ask advice from the systemadministrator via the ICT helpdesk.
When a new stable release of Ubuntu is out, helios will be upgraded to this new release in the following weeks.
The focus is on open source or free software. Extra software, commercial or free, can be installed on helios if it meets the following requirements:
- Preferably from the OS or server software catalog, currently Ubuntu. Use the command "apt-cache search" to search for software.
- A licence that allows using the software on this environment.
- Software that is appropriate within an education / research environment.