New York

LINUX system administration

Computational infrastructures built with off the shelves components and running under the LINUX operating system can be cost effective, performant, reliable, and user friendly. However harnessing their potential is not trivial, as it implies dealing with several vendors, and to cope with a relatively complex system administration.

We have the necessary resources to: integrate your computational environment, guarantee it runs seamlessly, and offer one point of contact for all your system administration needs.

LINUX system administration

Different flavors of LINUX: suse, red hat, debian, fedora, unbuntu

LINUX in a nutshell

LINUX is a Unix-like and POSIX-compliant computer operating system. Originally developed for the intel x-86 processor family, it has now been ported to a large number of computer hardware platforms. While it is an extensive commercial grade operating system, it has a small kernel and for this reason can run in small computers including tablets even cell phone, all the way to supercomputers. It is the ideal platform for cloud computing.

Development efforts started in Helsinki in 1990. Originally initiated as a single scientist effort by Linus Torvalds, the project became a community effort around 2000. Several thousands of programmers around the world most of them from academia but also from several firms, among the most notorious Novell, IBM, Intel, and SGI have contributed to the development of LINUX. Overall it is a very impressive community effort. Developed by renowned experts in operating systems, LINUX includes the most advanced features of a modern UNIX operating systems like for example a dynamically loadable kernel and dynamically loadable libraries, which limit the size of the kernel still allow growth to include a multitude of functionality required by large servers.

In the last 10 years or so LINUX has been supplemented with high quality: front end interfaces, tools to manage package installation, and security management facilities. The community effort is still on going, with refinement of LINUX and development of open source applications in about all fields. To this we should add the support of the National Science Foundation for the development of scientific libraries. To date LINUX, supplemented with adequate applications, is a complete, user friendly, reliable, and widely supported computational infrastructure solution.


The main advantage of operating a computational infrastructure with LINUX is to have access to computer hardware and peripherals offered by multiple vendors of equipment, all of them competing to offer you the best possible products. Indeed, the great majority if not all vendors of microcomputers and peripherals provide LINUX drivers. This reduces the cost of hardware components, and allows an enterprise to quickly integrate the latest innovations in its infrastructure. From year to year, the cost of disk storage decreases, while performance increases. Same with tapes the price per Terabytes decreases, the libraries capacities increases, and the tools to manage data are becoming more and more flexible. The most remarkable innovations are in the area of computational components. Now that we have reached the limit on clock speed, hardware vendors incorporate more and more cores in a chip and more and more chips on a board. In addition we have now access to specialized chips for extensive computation like GPUs, and co-processors. All of which dramatically impact data processing and management capabilities.

LINUX is a commercial grade robust operating system. It effectively manage large memory and disk space, and does so without noticeable performance degradation with increases in storage size. Process management is also quite effective. For example memory access performed by the OS is well protected. This way the malfunction of an application does not impact overall operation. Therefore if well administered, there are practically no down time with LINUX. Finally by itself, LINUX is a much more secure operating system, thus no need of antivirus. In addition it does include facilities to seamlessly incorporate a firewall protection

An important advantage of a LINUX based computational infrastructure is the access to an immense pool of open source software. Over the years we have developed a culture of community development. As a result of this effort the large pool of open source software is now available. The quality of Open Source software is also getting better and sometimes of higher quality, than commercial equivalent. One of the reasons for that is the emergence of scientific groups regulating development. This is for example the case for OpenGL.In addition one should note that while LINUX/UNIX Open Source software could be theoretically installed on any UNIX based computers, installation is usually much easier on LINUX platforms. The extensive LINUX documentation makes developers life much easier, and for this reason has become the platform of choice for many developers. This is certainly the case for academia. Consequently Open Source software is usually tested on LINUX platforms.

Finally, due to a more advanced memory and process management, event driven software, like front end graphic user interface are more performant on LINUX or UNIX based computers. One can build on high quality libraries, like X11, X Toolkit Intrinxics (Xt), Xmotif, and openGL. The first three libraries support the: communication with computer devices, scheduling of even driven tasks, and display of widgets on screen. They are the result of few decades of research on the subject. They are integral components of the LINUX and UNIX operating systems. Smaller OS have equivalent libraries, but they are not as performant and as robust. The Open GL library supports the display of complex scenes including lighting models and is available on most platforms. It is also the result of extensive research efforts by several vendors of graphic hardware, the most important contribution being made by SGI. However a Graphic User Interface (GUI) includes call to lower layers, among them the first three libraries. Thus the performance at that level affects the overall GUI's performance.

Transiting to LINUX

If you are new to the LINUX environment, we can assess your needs, formulate the architecture of a potential computational infrastructure, and then make predictions on its benefices. We also offer the possibility to run some key applications on our hardware for a trial period. Finally we will work with you a transition plan where you will be able to run in parallel your applications on your current infrastructure with the new one.

Experienced with LINUX


We install the operating system in servers and workstations, and all drivers controlling the peripherals. We also install the applications listed in the agreement. If requested we write user manuals for various tasks, e.g., tuning back ups, retrieving information from back up, archiving data on the tape lirary, lunching batch jobs on a server, how to replace parts, or any task related to the operation of you infrastructure. Support after sale can be in various forms. Phone support can be purchased by the hour, or by a bank of hours. Another form of support is through remote access. In this case an Engineer from our office logs on your network to solve various problems. A reference person on-site and remain available to describe the issues and attest they were appropriately solved. The last form of support is full on-site support where one of our engineers is present at the site to address issues raised by the customer. Finally for customers which prefer to administer the computational infrastructure with their staff we offer system administration classes. All our services are warrantied. If we install the infrastructure we warranty it will function according to pre-established specifications. For system administration, we charge only after the issues have been solved, and solved at the customer's statisfaction. See our brochure for more details