Duke ITAC - February 13, 1997 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - February 13, 1997 Minutes

ITAC Minutes

February 13, 1997

Attending: Robert Wolpert, Paula Loendorf, Annette Foster, Pakis Bessias, Alex Reutter, John Sigmon, David Ferriero, Michael Pickett, Melissa Mills, John Board, Ginny Cake, Landen Bain, Betty Le Compagnon


Sun Orders: Betty Le Compagnon(BLC) announced that SUN is offering a discount price for Sun Ultra 140s. OIT will be ordering a number of these machines for the cluster upgrades this year. An email will be sent out that will include the contact person for ordering, price, and configuration information for those who would like to get in on the order and get the volume discount price.

Futures Fora: Mike Pickett (MP) reported that these are meetings designed to look at technology changes and how they affect Duke as an institution. The meetings last year were attended by about forty people and are open to all Duke staff. He proposed that their focus should be on the following issues: Email, Application and Web Development tools, Database and Query tools, and Security.

ITAC Agenda: Robert Wolpert (RW) reported that in response to ITAC member suggestions we should keep ITAC's focus on IT policy issues rather than IT operations. Additionally, email should be used more effectively for communication and dissemination of information.

Paula Loendorf circulated a handout about the Student Paper Competition sponsored by ACUTA ( Association of College & University Communications Administrations). Papers should cover topics in Telecommunications technology, applications or management. The deadline for submission is April 2, 1997 and papers should be submitted to pscott@acuta.org. There is a $1000 cash award. For more info see http://www.acuta.org.

Discussion of Wiring Project Subcommittee - Draft Charter

MP distributed the Draft Charter for the Wiring Project subcommittee for review and comments:

John Sigmon (JS) commented that it is a good idea to reconstitute the subcommittee membership every year. There was discussion revolving around the issue of physical wiring and network architecture as both being part of the charge of the subcommittee. Landen Bain (LB) suggested "Network Architecture Design Committee" for a better naming alternative. Melissa Mills (MM) pointed out that Network Architecture and choice of electronics is where the need for guidance and planning resides. She added that if physical wiring is part of the charge, then maybe there should be a different membership. BLC pointed out that there is a deadline for the subcommittee to produce a concept paper and present it in the March 13 ITAC meeting.

Making the Strategic Plan Operational

BLC distributed a copy of a letter from President Keohane regarding her recent presentation to the senior officers and the Academic Council. She stressed that we need to have position papers on each area of important IT topics for the senior officers. For example: Remote Access to computing resources. Is it something that needs to be promoted? What technologies and issues are involved with providing it to Duke employees? What are the costs and benefits associated with it?

The four major areas selected for position papers are: 1) Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning, 2) Year 2000 ( for which there is already a short executive summary paper), 3) Remote Access, and 4) Technology Renewal and Support ( e.g. replacement of hardware/software and who is responsible for providing it, user support etc.)

The Year 2000 and Technology renewal issues produced many remarks from various ITAC members. LB thought that elevating the former to this level is an overkill. This has to do with how quickly we replace vs. modify the old administrative systems. He suggested that the SAP implementation be part of the position paper.

The discussion then turned to desktop renewal - enterprise desktop management. MM: We need to provide some help with desktop renewal to people/departments that are behind. BLC: We need to better define the issue. Why buy bigger/better desktops if we are going to be moving to web browsers? John Board (JB): We haven't answered yet if this is a central IT or departmental responsibility. MP: there are three ways of managing technology: centrally, distributed or a mix of the two. RW: The cluster computers were replaced in the past , but there is no budget item for future replacements. JS: Saving money in the short term should not be the driving force in buying decisions. David Ferriero (DF): SAP is a case in point in putting more money now for better results in the future. BLC: The senior officers want savings and cost effectiveness. They are not interested in just doing our job better with new systems. DF offered to bring in a paper from MIT's desktop renewal effort.

BLC is currently preparing the overall vision statement for IT at Duke. It was suggested that Betty, Landen, Mike Pickett, Janis Curtis will be members of the core group that will flesh out the vision statement and the four position papers. Additional help will be sought for producing the four position papers. We will revisit this issue in the next ITAC meeting.

Review of Recommended Student Systems

The revision of last year's Student Computer Recommendations will be mailed out to students. A copy of the new version for 97-98 containing the purchasing recommendations was handed out and was passed unanimously. Additional comments and suggestions should go to Ginny Cake at OIT.

Review of Recommended SAP Systems

Annette Foster (AF) handed out a hardware/software configuration guide for SAP and PARIS procurement systems. It should help the departments identify current workstations that can be used and also provide buying guidance for purchasing new workstations to be used with these systems. The guides are also available on-line at www.adm.duke.edu/admsvcs/purchasing/technical MP noted that the SICC/CORE team will be coming up with recommendations for administrative and academic workstations.

Other Business

RW: John McCann recommended that ITAC solicit volunteers for committees through the Web and ads in the Chronicle. A sample Web page is being developed.

RW: Pointed out that computer cluster performance is an issue at Computing-At-Duke newsgroup. Inadequate memory and the current software combination are resulting in poor performance. Additionally, the switch from MCI to SPRINT seems to have slowed things down considerably and has created a lot of comments. Charlie Register and other OIT personnel are aware of this problem.

BLC: Dick Danner will speak to the faculty regarding computer use policy. Also, on 3/19-20 BLC will go to a retreat with her managers to take stock of OIT goals and accomplishments.

Minutes taken by Pakis Bessias