I am in Stockholm at the moment, working at KTH, and for the project I am working on I will need to share a database with a department in university of Göteborg, so I thought it would be nice to have that database on a server somewhere. I had pretty much the same need for a different project at the university of Brescia in Italy and, when I actually went asking for resources to the local sysadmins, they told me that the faculty’s DB (oracle) was running on a remotely hosted machine (i.e. the university, an engineering faculty, does NOT have any kind of internally-owned server) and, understandably, there was no way I could get my hands on that. The only feasible option was to hook a standard desktop machine into the local network but, of course, it then would have been accessible only from the university network. That would have been enough for me but, by the moment I asked, there was not a single machine available and, as soon as they get one, they will let me know.
Now back here in Sweden: last week I went to the network support offices to have a talk with the sysadmins about the possibility of having a database share available somewhere on the university servers. I was already prepared to receive a bold ‘no’, since in Italy it took quite some effort just to have a talk with the powers that be and I was going to the KTH support office with no appointment and no professors backing me up, so I was a complete stranger to them. Surprisingly, they actually received me on the spot and so I explained what the situation was, what I needed and why; after the talk they dismissed me with a ‘we’ll let you know’ and I walked out the office with the feeling I was not going to hear from them again.
So, I was quite surprised when, the day after, I found the following in my inbox:
I'm done with the server, at the moment you only have a MySQL account on
it, but we can arrange shell access if needed. I've created the
database ****, your account has full access to it.
OS Ubuntu Server 8.04.3 LTS
CPU 2 x Intel Xeon E5310 @ 1,6 GHz
MEM 2048 MB RAM
DISK 15 GB, all on /
It’s a virtual machine all just for me, I have an account with superuser privileges on it and I can access it via SSH.
By the way: I don’t feel like this is should be taken into account when describing what the general situation is like in both Italy and Sweden, as I’m sure there is a wide range of qualities of service in both countries. Anyway, thanks a lot to Felix and the other guys here at the KTH tech support for their excellent work: they’ve surely made my job much easier.