CSCF Infrastructure group maintains a standard platform list for use within the SCS. The intent is that CSCF should be able get some economies of scale in obtaining, installing and maintaining these platforms, because they are standard.
SCS faculty are free to acquire and use non-standard equipment. CSCF will support both standard and non-standard equipment. However, standard equipment has several advantages:
Support will be optimized for standard platforms. Purchasing, installation, and setup will be streamlined. CSCF's desktop support pool will give priority to simple, routine support requests, and requests for standard machines are more likely to fall into this category.
Owners will have the option of having their standard machines centrally administered by CSCF. CSCF is responsible for the security of machines that it administers. Otherwise, this responsibility lies with the machine's owner.
The CSCF Standard (Infrastructure) Supported Architectures list will evolve over time. However, platforms will remain standard for a reasonable equipment lifetime, even if they are no longer on the list.
Note that the platforms on the list are very specific. Only the particular CSCF-selected hardware/software combinations listed are standard. Other systems, though they may be similar to those listed, are not standard.
Standard platforms are either user-administered or CSCF-administered.
On user-administered machines, one or more users have administrative or "root" access. This provides maximum flexibility for these users. However, the owners of such machines are responsible for ensuring that they are secure and protected from misuse. Owners are responsible for regularly applying security patches, and backing up their data. While system administration is the responsibility of the machine's owners, they may purchase research computing support from CSCF if they wish to obtain assistance with these tasks.
On CSCF-administered machines, CSCF takes responsibility for ensuring that the machine is secure. Administrative ("root") authority is held exclusively by CSCF.
CSCF-administration may not be an option on all standard platforms. The list of standard platforms indicates which platforms may be CSCF-administered.