Duke ITAC - March 13, 1997 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - March 13, 1997 Minutes

ITAC Minutes

March 13, 1997

Present: Bill Auld, Pakis Bessias, John Board, Peter Brauer, Ginny Cake, Janis Curtis, Dick Danner, Peggy Davis, Jim Dronsfield, Brian Eder, John Eisenmenger, David Ferriero, Paul Harrod, Donna Hewitt, David Jamieson-Drake, Mark Johnson, Jay Kamm, Betty LeCompagnon, Paula Loendorf, John McCann, Melissa Mills, Michael Pickett, Alex Reutter, Leslie Saper, Evan Scheessele, John Sigmon, Robert Wolpert.

The meeting was called to order by Robert Wolpert at 4:10 PM, and began with those present indentifying themselves for the benefit of guests. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved. There were no announcements.

Sprint Internet Performance Update

Mark Johnson and Peggy Davis of MCNC began the discussion by listing the several elements that can affect Internet performance, noting that for any given problem it is difficult to identify the source, but that most recent problems have been occuring at interconnect points. David Jamieson-Drake asked who owns the interconnect problem; if it is not a problem within Sprint's control, how do we know whether Sprint is serving our interests? PD responded that Sprint's investments in improving its backbones shows a service interest, but Robert Wolpert noted that investment in the backbone does not necessarily show concern with interconnect problems. MJ noted that the interconnect problem is an industry-wide issue.

MJ described current tools for measuring Internet performance (Ping and Traceroute), both of which are ICMP-based and which may not accurately show problems, making analysis difficult.

PD reported on the recent decision of the NC-REN Advisory Committee to explore going to a multi-vendor gateway environment as a solution to the problems posed by increased demand. By providing access through multiple routes, routing efficiency should be improved, as should overall reliability for the NC-REN community. The multi-vendor solution would be more costly and would presumably require varying cost methods (based on both flat and usage rates). The added complexity of supporting more than one provider would also increase support demands and perhaps risk. The increased costs of supporting a multi-vendor environment will be substantial and hard to predict, but in the new Internet environment, cost alone can no longer drive choice in light of the need for improved and reliable performance.

RW and Betty LeCompagnon both noted that reliable access was mission-critical for Duke. John Sigmon pointed out that, measured over the past 8 years, the projected cost increase is still a good deal considering increased demand and improved performance.

John McCann asked why, if the problem (as described initially in the discussion) is at the interconnects, will doubling the size of the pipe help resolve it. Won't everything still go to the same chokepoint?

PD responded that the second line will go to other interconnect points, thereby relieving the pressure. If MCI were selected as one of the vendors, academic traffic might improve also, because most users are on MCI.

DJD returned to the question of monitoring performance and problems, noting that there must be other ways than individual complaints to identify problems: it is hard to be systematic in monitoring problems relying on intermittent users to report intermittent problems. BLC said that this was more a Duke problem than an MCNC problem: Duke needs to figure out how better to handle this issue.

OIT TeleVideo Update

Paula Loendorf, director of Tele Video Communications, began by stressing her office's commitment to working with campus users to identify new applications and technologies useful in meeting broad needs at Duke. Duke's services will not be at the bleeding edge. A major need is for better marketing of services; the larger Duke community doesn't know about all services offered. Another current priority is to streamline and improve turnaround time for services.

Recent work has included upgrading the Ericsson wireless phone service in the medical center and the installation of a BellSouth PCS cell site on campus. The office is interested, too, in talking about wireless data pilot projects with schools and departments. A new paging system is being implemented. The University's 800 megahertz trunk radio system is being merged with the city/county systems. The office is beginning to look at integrated voice/e-mail messaging systems, and can establish menu-driven fax on demand/fax back accounts to support delivery of frequently- requested information. In April, staff will be meeting with student focus groups to discuss enhancements to residential phone service.

PL also noted the upcoming need to expand the telephone switch due to Hospital/Medical Center growth, renovation and building projects and their decision to switch lines from analog to ISDN as well as University building projects and growth.

Draft Vision for IT at Duke

BLC distributed copies of a draft vision statement for technology, which would be issued by the senior officers. Comments should be sent to BLC. The draft should not be distributed beyond ITAC at this time.

Concept Papers on IT Issues

BLC distributed an outline that will be used to develop position papers on four major IT areas at Duke (remote access, administrative reform, technology in support of teaching and learning, desktop technology renewal). Responsibility for each area has been assigned and outlines for the papers are due on March 27.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:32