The rapid increase in the availability of high performance, cost-effective RISC/UNIX workstations has been both a blessing and a curse. The blessing of having extremely powerful computing engines available on the desk top is well-known to many users. The user has tremendous freedom, flexibility, and control of his environment. That freedom can, however, become the curse of distributed computing. The user must become a system manager to some extent, he must worry about backups, maintenance, upgrades, etc. Traditionally these activities have been the responsibility of a central computing group. The central computing group, however, may find that it can no longer provide all of the traditional services. With the plethora of workstations now found on so many desktops throughout the entire campus or lab, the central computing group may be swamped by support requests. This talk will address several of these computer support and management issues by discussing the approach taken at the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory (SSCL). In addition, a brief review of the future directions of commercial products for distributed computing and management will be given.
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