Support for Managed/Self-Managed Machines

One of the key distinctions for the level of support that is given to users is that of managed and self-managed machines.

managed machines are those that are installed and automatically maintained using the School's automated machine management system (LCFG). Such machines are managed according to a centrally held profile and maintained in that state on a daily basis. Since this state is predictable and replicable it is both practical and scalable for computing staff to offer support for such machines.
An additional effect of the ability to control the state of such machines is that they are regarded to be secure enough to be connected to networks that have more privileges than networks where self-managed machines are connected.
if users require either special hardware or special software requiring particular install privileges that cannot be managed under the LCFG system a machine is deemed to be self-managed. The user then becomes responsible for installation of the operating system and any special software. Consequently, the state of such a self-managed machine is unpredictable. While computing staff will always try to give advice on issues with such machines it is neither practical nor scalable for computing staff to spend time resolving issues on such machines on a one-off basis.
Since the state of software on self-managed machines is unknown, their security and integrity is also unknown. Consequently they will only be connected to networks that have fewer privileges than managed machines.

What `support' for a managed machine means

With respect to support for managed machines, it is important to distinguish the sort of areas that covers. In general, it relates to the basic operation of the machine (ie, its reliability/robustness), its network connectivity and its ability to access standard Informatics services. It does not include support for every piece of software installed. The software packages that are generally made available on desktop machines for example come largely from standard distributions. It is not practical for computing staff to know about all such packages.

Examples of where support would be given include a machine's network connectivity, who can login to it, that any authorised user can access the usual Informatics services (eg, fileservers, printing, mail, etc) environmental issues (eg, fan or disk noise), keyboard and mouse operation.

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