Remote Access to Research Network Workstations — RCG Handbook

Remote Access to Research Network Workstations

SSHing to your Lab Workstation

  1. Install the SFU VPN client before proceeding.
  2. Windows users: download and install an SSH client like PuTTY or MobaXterm. Be sure to specify “Username: your_sfu_username” when connecting.
  3. ssh jsmith@your-workstation.(cmpt/engineering).sfu.ca (substitute “jsmith” for your SFU computing ID)

Warning

Users with older Ubuntu 16 workstations still need to SSH to their workstations via rcga-linux-ts1.dc.sfu.ca.

Remote Access Power Tools: tmux

tmux is ideal for keeping long jobs running on your workstation. It also allows you to freely disconnect and reattach to a set of shell sessions from wherever you are, and is ideal for monitoring long-running jobs. A brief introduction:

  1. Run tmux on your workstation.
  2. Start your job.
  3. Detach from tmux by pressing [Ctrl-B] [D].
  4. When you’re away from your lab workstation, SSH to one of our console servers (see above).
  5. SSH to your lab workstation and run tmux attach.

[ more tmux tips and tricks ]

Using Visual Studio Code Remotely

See https://code.visualstudio.com/blogs/2019/10/03/remote-ssh-tips-and-tricks. A “jump host” is no longer required if you are using the SFU VPN.

Using PyCharm Remotely

See https://www.jetbrains.com/help/pycharm/configuring-remote-interpreters-via-ssh.html. A “jump host” is no longer required if you are using the SFU VPN.

Ubuntu 20 Workstations: Graphical Remote Desktop

Warning

This solution is still in beta testing.

Starting April 26, 2021, users are required to use the SFU VPN to access their workstations. This impacts both SSH and RDP access.

Ubuntu >= 20 workstations have been configured for quick graphical desktop access via RDP. Run lsb_release -a to check which version of Ubuntu you have. If you’re not on Ubuntu 20, contact your school’s technical support staff to have your machine reimaged.

You will need an RDP client:


Mac

Connect to the SFU VPN service before proceeding.

  • PC Name: your-workstation-name.cmpt.sfu.ca:48555
  • Gateway => None

[Save], then double-click on the connection you just created. When prompted, enter your SFU computing ID (i.e., jsmith) and password.


Linux

Connect to the SFU VPN service before proceeding.

FreeRDP:

xfreerdp /u:jsmith /port:48555 \
         /v:your-lab-workstation.cmpt.sfu.ca
(substitute "jsmith" for your SFU computing ID)

Remmina:

  • Click the New Connection Profile button at the top-left corner of the window.
  • Protocol: RDP
  • Server: your-workstation-name.cmpt.sfu.ca:48555
  • Username/Password: your SFU computing ID (i.e., jsmith) and password

[Save], then double-click on the connection you just created. When prompted, enter your SFU computing ID (i.e., jsmith) and password.


Windows

Connect to the SFU VPN service before proceeding.

  • Computer: your-workstation-name.cmpt.sfu.ca:48555
  • Username: ADSFU\jsmith (substitute “jsmith” for your SFU computing ID)
  • Logon Method: Ask for password

Ubuntu 16 Workstations: Graphical Remote Desktop

Warning

Starting April 26, 2021, users are required to use the SFU VPN to access their workstations. This affects Ubuntu users using VNC as well as SSH and RDP access.

Workstations with older releases of Ubuntu can still be accessed remotely but setup is more complicated. See Graphical Remote Access for Older Workstations for instructions.

Ubuntu 20 Workstations: My RDP session is stuck

Run pkill -u yourusername to kill all processes belonging to you on the machine, then try logging in again.

My SSH sessions keep getting disconnected!

On your local computer (not your lab computer) add these lines to ~/.ssh/config:

Host *
  ServerAliveInterval 120

TeamViewer and AnyDesk

Warning

Running TeamViewer, AnyDesk, Google Chrome Remote Desktop or similar tools pose a serious security risk. Use SSH instead.

Contrary to popular belief, TeamViewer and AnyDesk are not free for academic use. You are in violation of their license agreements if you install them without purchasing a license.

Remote access solutions other than SSH (see below) are not supported due to serious security risks. If you are considering using TeamViewer, AnyDesk or similar products, you must contact the IT Services security officer to perform a Privacy Impact Assessment.

Transferring Files Directly to your Workstation

For SFU VPN Users: Direct Access

You should be able to SFTP directly to your workstation if you are connected to the SFU VPN.

Use your NFS Home Directory

SFTP to rcga-linux-ts1.dc.sfu.ca:/net/home/your_username. This directory is also available on your workstation, so it’s nearly as good as a direct SFTP connection but is limited to your 10GB of NFS home directory quota.

Multi-Hop SFTP

Also known as using a “jump host”. Use MobaXterm or WinSCP to establish an SFTP connection to your workstation through rcga-linux-ts1.dc.sfu.ca.