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Virtual DICE support, releases and maintenance

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UPDATE 10th September. Virtual DICE for 2020/21 is not yet ready. We'll mail you when it's available.

Releases are made once or twice a year. Each release of Virtual DICE can be identified by the hostname at the top left of the login screen. This is the release history to date:

Hostname Release date OS version Support and Updates January 2020 SL7 until January 2021 January 2020 SL7 until January 2021 October 2019 SL7 until October 2020 October 2019 SL7 until October 2020 September 2018 SL7 No January 2018 SL7 No October 2017 SL7 No November 2016 SL7 No March 2016 SL7 No October 2015 SL7 No February 2015 SL6 (32 bit) No February 2015 SL6 (64 bit) No October 2014 SL6 (32 bit) No October 2014 SL6 (64 bit) No January 2014 SL6 (32 bit) No January 2014 SL6 (64 bit) No September 2013 SL6 (32 bit) No September 2013 SL6 (64 bit) No

Software Updates can be done in various ways. Major software updates are performed by releasing a new version of Virtual DICE. Existing users can download this new release and install it in place of their old Virtual DICE VM. Between releases update-vdice can update Virtual DICE to whatever software versions are currently recommended.

To install software which isn't on DICE, use the yum command. Type man yum for more details. yum search can find software packages; yum install can install them. We recommend that you do not use yum update as it will replace some core DICE software packages. If you do run yum update it may not have serious consequences; if it does, update-vdice can reset the VM's software to the latest Virtual DICE software set.

Beyond running update-vdice, Virtual DICE should not need maintenance. It is intended for short term use and for simple tasks. If you find yourself needing to make complex changes to it in order to support your work, please focus on DICE rather than Virtual DICE and please ask Computing Support for help. (On the other hand if messing about with Virtual DICE seems interesting in its own right, feel free to experiment. You have root access.)

Support timescale: Virtual DICE VMs are not designed for long term use. They should be used for a few months at a time then replaced by a newer image when one is released. It is expected that configuration data for each version will be provided for one year after release, after which update-vdice will no longer fetch new updates.

Replacement of VM: If you replace an existing Virtual DICE VM with a newer version, remember that the newer VM is logically a separate machine and does not have access to any unique data or software which you may have on the existing VM. Any data which matters should be copied off the old VM before the VM is deleted. (You might want to use your DICE home directory on AFS for this - here's how to access that from Virtual DICE.)

Contact: If you have any suggestions or comments to make about Virtual DICE do please get in touch. Thanks!

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