Data Services Guide > 1 Introduction > 1.4 Connecting to the servers of CSC
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1.4 Connecting to the servers of CSC

You can connect the servers of CSC either by using the web based Scientist's User Interface extranet service or through linux terminal connections.  While the Scientist's User Interface provides an easy and intuitive way to connect to CSC, is allows you to use only a very limited set tools for working with your data. Thus the terminal connections and linux command line usage still provides the most versatile and efficient  tools to manage and analyze data in the servers of CSC.

1.4.1 Scientist's User Interface

Scientist's User Interface is an extranet service that allows the customers of CSC to access the CSC computing environment through a normal web browser.  The Scientist's User Interface (SUI) can be used for following tasks
  • monitoring and managing you user account at CSC

  • managing files in the servers of CSC ( at the moment only in Hippu and Murska)

  • Launch SSH console sessions

  • Use the Soma2 drug discovery environment

  • Download software and data sets provided by CSC.

  • Create batch job scripts for the computing servers of CSC.

The user account and password, used to log into Scientist's User Interface are the same that are used also for normal terminal connections. The My Files file manager is discussed more in detail in chapter 6.1 and chapter 5.3.1 in this guide.


Figure 1.1: Scientist's User Interface extranet service.

1.4.2 Terminal connections

A terminal connection to CSC should be  opened using a secure terminal program that encrypts the data traffic between the user and CSC. In Linux and Mac OSX systems you can use ssh program to connect to CSC. In Windows machines you can use for example the PuTTY open source program to open the connection to CSC. If you don't want install a local ssh terminal program, you can use the SSH console tool in Scientist's User Interface (more details in chapter 6.1.2).

 For example to log into Hippu, open a new terminal screen and give command:
 ssh -l csc_username
If you wish to use also X11 based graphical tools give command:
 ssh -X -l csc_username
or in some cases, if the command above does not work, try:
 ssh -Y -l csc_username

1.4.3 X-term connections

X-term connection is normally not necessary to be able to use the services of CSC. However, X-term connection is mandatory if you wish to view image files or launch a graphical interface on the servers of CSC. To be able to use X-term based tools your local computer must have an X11 server (often called as X window server program) installed and running. In linux machines X11 is normally installed and running automatically. In Mac OSX machines the X11 software is not installed by default, but it can be installed from the Mac OSX installation disks. In Windows machines, an X server program must be installed to the users local machine. In addition to several commercial xterm programs there are also some free ones like Xming.

Once your X server program is running, open a terminal connection to CSC ( remember to use the -X or -Y option or Tunnel X11 setting), and test by running command:

xterm &
This should open a new xterm connection to your screen.

When you stop working at the servers of CSC, you should first close the connections to CSC with command:

and close the terminal and xterm commands only after that.

1.4.4 FreeNX Remote Desktop

FreeNX Remote Desktop provides an alternative way to use remotely graphical interfaces at the servers of CSC. The service works with a NoMachine client which is installed on the researcher's computer. No X-term software is needed in the local computer.  The NoMachine client first connects to a FreeNX server running at After the login, a remote desktop opens to your screen. From this remote desktop you need to further connect to the actual computing servers (by right clicking the desktop) and then start the applications with normal terminal commands.

We recommend FreenNX in for  remote usage of graphical interfaces in stead of X11 connections. It often speeds up the graphical response 10-100 fold with respect to the normal X11 connections. Further FreeNX client is often easier to install to a Windows machine, than an X-emulator.

Insructions how to set up and use the FreeNX remote connection can be downloaded form the Scientist's User Interface:

FreeNX Remote Desktop

Figure 1.2
Matlab opened in the FreeNX remote desktop.