Purchasing requests #
As per university IT policy, all staff and PGR student IT purchases should be made via the CIS IT Support team. If you need to purchase any equipment, please contact us with detailed requirements and we'll evaluate your request.
University procurement rules require us to purchase from approved vendors (or provide strong justification in cases where this is not possible), so we may recommend specific (but compatible) models that differ from your original request. In many cases, we're able to provide higher-end equipment at less-than-retail price points.
If you're not sure what you need, please reach out and we'll do our best to recommend a suitable solution.
Monitors, accessories and other equipment #
In most cases, replacements for peripherals bought by the department (such as monitors, keyboards, mice) and items requested for accessibility reasons will be covered by a departmental budget. Additional equipment (like second monitors or a new laptop/desktop outside our normal replacement cycle) usually require you to provide us with a budget code.
Research workstations and servers #
We host workstations and servers for a number of research groups. The process for acquiring these usually works as follows:
- Research group contacts CIS IT Support with a list of requirements (e.g. highly parallel CPU with many cores, dual GPUs of at least X specification, n-GB RAM intended to train ML models and provide a shared space for research group software development).
- CIS IT Support analyses requirements and extracts any hard technical requirements.
- CIS IT Support works with approved vendors to gather quotes for suitable solutions (offering options at different price points, where possible).
- Research group selects option and provides budget code.
- CIS IT Support places the order.
- CIS IT Support receives, configures and deploys the hardware within our machine room.
- Research group gets access to workstation via SSH.
In terms of hardware requirements, it's more useful for us to understand what you're looking to achieve and what workload you're planning on running as opposed to specific makes and models of equipment; we have access to a range of procurement frameworks and are well positioned to make recommendations on infrastructure and software solutions.
The research machines are hosted on a managed basis, running our standard Ubuntu Linux deployment (latest LTS). In general, this means that research teams don't have root access on the workstations; the trade-off is that CIS IT Support accept most of the responsibility for ensuring that the machines comply with the university cyber-security policy, are regularly (and timeously) patched, and access control lists are properly enforced. This also allows us to provide better support as the machines are operating under a known, standard configuration.
If you or your research team have a suitable budget and would like to discuss the options for a managed research machine, please contact us.