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Managed Cluster Service (MCS)

Information For Users Of The Service Catalogue

The University IT Service Catalogue will be decommissioned in the Summer of 2021. This website is no longer being maintained.  

For the most up-to-date information regarding IT Services at the University of Cambridge, please visit:

The Managed Cluster Service (MCS) provides networked computers as well as printers and scanners to Cambridge University, University Institutions and Colleges for the use of students and staff. 

The MCS machines come with extensive software provision for Windows, Linux and Macintosh platforms and give end users access to a range of centrally managed applications (Desktop Services).

A a remote login option is available with Linux but Windows or Macintosh applications typically require the use of a MCS room. 

Features and Benefits

Features & Benefits 
  • networked PCs (some dual boot, Linux and Windows) and Macs 
  • Operating Systems Windows 7, MacOS X10.9, Linux Ubuntu
  • central provision of software for each OS (see listed applications for Windows, Mac and Linux)
  • remote access to printing and file storage via Managed Desktop Services (DS) on all OS
  • remote access to Linux applications

The MCS is available at the following locations:


How Much Does It Cost?

How much does it cost? 

The charges are per workstation supplied to client Institutions with a progressive discount applied to higher numbers of workstations. 

How Do I Get This Service?

How do I get this service? 

Obtaining the service requires the following process:

  1. An initial exploratory meeting where the Institution's requirements are reviewed to ensure they fit within the terms of the MCS.
  2. Subsequent confirmation by the client institution to UIS to proceed in writing, including a purchase order.
  3. A more formal meeting with the institution preceding the proposed installation date to agree specifics of the work involved.
  4. When the work has finished UIS will hand over the completed cluster to the Institution and billing will commence.

Please note the information on user responsibilities for using the MCS service.

To initiate the process, contact the service desk by email -

How Quickly Can I Get This Service?

How quickly can I get this service? 

Lead delivery times vary.  If no development work is necessary prior to delivery, acces to the MCS is typically available within one month.

Support Details & Contact Information

Support Details & Contact Information 

Please contact the Responsible Officer or Technical Operator within the participating institution for front line support on:   

  • all applications
  • the workstation operating system
  • user’s configuration files within personal file space.

Backup support to local IT officers is provided by the UIS Service desk during office hours only.

Tel : 01223 332999.

Please ensure that a full description is given to the Service Desk, including relevant information about the user, the workstation, operating system and application being used and the time the problem occurred. 

Calls are passed to the Desktop Services Group, the Mac Support Group, MCS Printing Support Team or MCS Linux support staff, as appropriate, by placing the UIS Service Desk ticket on the appropriate queue in the Service Desk system.

(For opening times see Supported Service Hours)


Available Service Hours

When is this service available? 

The service is available 24/7 once operational.

Supported Service Hours

Supported Service Hours 

The service is supported:

Monday - Friday: 8.30am - 5pm

(excluding UK Bank Holidays and University closures)

At all other times a best effort is made to support the service.

Service for:

Service supplier