Published April 17, 2012
By Rick Lesniak, email@example.com
The concept of "time-sharing" computing resources was first made
practical in the early 1960's. It allowed multiple people access to
costly computing resources by swapping their "jobs" in the
processor queue, instead of limiting just one person/program on a
computer. This model persists as a cost effective strategy for
sharing computing resources.
But with the ubiquity of technology devices in today's ultra-connected society and proliferation of "cloud" resources, is the concept of time-sharing still legitimate? Is there still a place for this remote access model for instruction and research at UB?
It's true that virtually all computing done today is focused at
the personal computing device level, including smartphones and
tablets. The economics that drive resource sharing focus on
scarcity, but also on managing vast resources accessible through
UB has provided UBUnix, a central time-sharing environment, for over 20 years without much change - except for some security updates. Over the past few years, usage statistics reflect an increasing interest in this environment for instruction and research, owing to the retirement of similar environments at UB. UBUnix provides access to costly analysis and synthesis software that requires more processor power than personal devices can provide, so in a way, UBUnix represents one of UB's first "cloud" services.
This past winter UBUnix received an update to the Red Hat Enterprise Server operating system, for which software developers continue to develop their products. The new UBUnix, retaining the same name, now has six times more CPU power and double the memory of the older system. UBUnix-old—the name of the old system— will remain available until mid-March 2012 to assist the migration process, barring unforeseen circumstances.
For those devoted to UBUnix there have been some obstacles. The Pine email program, for example, is no longer supported or available, but for the most part migration has been a simple and transparent process. For the devotees, knowing their UBUnix environment will continue to be supported may be reason enough to celebrate!