Duke ITAC - April 24, 1997 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - April 24, 1997 Minutes

ITAC Minutes

April 24, 1997

Attending: Betty Le Compagnon, Mike Pickett, Robert Wolpert, John McCann, Caroline Nisbet, Bill Auld, Paul Harrod, Bill Scarborough, George Oberlander, Alex Reutter, Jeff Lamoureux, Jay Kamm, Evan Scheessele, David Jamieson-Drake, Jim Dronsfield, Matthew Kotler, Theo Michel, Pakis Bessias, Roger Loyd, Dick Danner, John Board, Ginny Cake, Janis Curtis, Susan Simko, John Sigmon, David Ferriero, Nevin Fouts, Landon Bain, Les Saper

Remote Access discussion

The Remote Access discussion reflected much interest in the issues associated with what should be done vis-a-vis the Duke ACPUB Modem Pool.

Many questions arose, such as:

  • Who should have access to the modem pool?
  • What is the scope of the questions surrounding remote access (i.e., are we talking just about access from home or also about access while on travel)?

Betty suggested that we should consider how we could leverage an ISP. Mike reminded the group of the frustrations associated with waiting in line for modem access. Betty suggested that we must look at ways of providing services for less cost.

John Board suggested that we review experiences/models faced by other institutions. Betty said that many institutions are getting out of the remote access business, freezing the number of modems in their pools, and encouraging access via other sources.

Several ITAC members described their experiences with poor availability of IDSN in many parts of the Triangle area.

John described "squatter" reports of users camping out on Duke's model pool by using utility programs which generate periodic line activity in order to remain connected.

David raised the question of whether we should be providing resources to enable Home/Virtual office.

John reported that the Dept. of Computer Science is using their own modem pool to guarantee access.

Carolyn suggested that we document current and planned services/capabilities.

David suggested that we consider different support for users at home vs. users at office. Ginny concurred.

Demo/Discussion of Proposed Duke Home Page

Matt Kotler and Theo Michel provided a "live" demo of the proposed new home page and web structure for Duke University. The demo was well presented and displayed the results of several objectives included in the requirements, such as:
  • Reduction of clutter on main page
  • Removal of "fat" layers (e.g., moved Sports page and other pages down one level)
  • Provision of organized search capability
  • Addition of a section called "About the Site"

Discussion about Department Search functionality. Comments included desire for this search to be easier and more obvious to external entities (e.g., faculty/students outside of Duke wishing to learn more about Duke).

Discussion ensued about need for multiplicity of access (web vs. tree approach) to make it easier to find information.

Security Issues and Policy

John Sigmon described need for basic standard for security which includes a minimum level across LANs.

Mike suggested that all network administrators should remain current on security techniques.

Many agreed that a baseline describing what security measures we have in place would be good.

Evan stated concerns about seriousness of the potential exposure (hackers could sniff out passwords, for example).

Susan suggested that the new approaches to remote access could drive password changes.

Robert stated that many of our network/system administrators are knowledgeable of good security practices.

Paul reinforced the concerns/risks associated with the potential for password sniffing.

Evan suggested that we could set up systems to require identity at all workstations.

Robert suggested that we should elevate the priority for security and possibly form a subcommittee to further address security issues.

IT Vision

In the interest of time Betty decided to postpone the IT Vision agenda item until the next ITAC meeting.

Update from CIO Ivy+ Conference

Betty provided some very interesting information coming from her recent attendance at the CIO Ivy+ Conference attended by Betty's counterparts from the Ivy League schools plus Duke, Chicago, and Stanford.

Comparative information being compiled on the schools' IT landscapes is forthcoming.

There is a need across schools to quantify total IT expenditures, not just central expenditures. However, as a comparison, schools spending the most central dollars on IT spent between $25M (Yale, MIT) and $50M (Harvard). Most schools spent between $14M and $19M annually. However, Duke and the University of Chicago were lowest with Duke at ~$11.3M.

Currently OIT has 114 positions in the computing job family with 21 of these vacant. Recruiting and staff retention is a common problem across the Ivy+ schools.

Duke's strategy and approach (as described in recent IT principles) looks good in light of other schools who are jumping and buying-in too quickly for some technologies.

Standard configuration for new PC workstation purchases across Ivy+ schools is typically P166 with 32meg and a 17" monitor.

Windows NT is deployed as the NOS at Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.

Most schools have a three to four-year client technology renewal cycle.

Many schools are leveraging outsourcing to address their Year 2000 conversions. Yale has budgeted $10-12M for this initiative.

Network funding among IVY+ schools:

$20-25/port/month seems like a standard charge for faculty and staff populations (excluding students). Duke's cost recovery approach is a surcharge apportioned by telephone distribution. Changing to a standard per port charge might create some budgeting challenges.

Except for Stanford, Duke is the only Ivy+ school with a residential medical school.

Many schools are charging technology fees (~$400) to students to recover costs.

Wiring uplift projects are high on many schools' priority lists. Duke is ahead of other schools in this area.

PC's vs. Mac's:

Yale plans on stating PC as standard in letter to students. Other schools have decided to take a more laissez-faire approach and let natural forces take their course.

Clusters as a way of servicing student computing requirements continue to be an important approach used at all schools.

Some schools have established stores for used computers.

Three schools have established lifetime mail forwarding services for alumni.

MIT and Dartmouth require their students to purchase computers; other schools do not.

Columbia is the only school where the library organization reports to IT.

Several schools have given grants to faculty for developing educational applications, including Yale, Princeton, Chicago, Harvard, and Columbia.

Duke's ITAC concept was well received by Betty's peers.

The computer store is part of the IT organization at some schools.

Ranking of top 6 issues:

University Presidents CIO's Year 2000 Dorm network access Sustaining the infrastructure Sustaining the infrastructure Dorm network access Administrative system redesign Administrative system redesign Using technology in the curriculum Access to research materials Access to research materials Using technology in the curriculum Remote access


Betty offered closing remarks; we adjourned for food and drinks and celebration for a year of hard work, collaboration, and successes.