Duke ITAC - October 9, 1997 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - October 9, 1997 Minutes

ITAC Minutes

October 9, 1997

Attending: Mike Pickett, Robert Wolpert, Nevin Fouts, Leslie Saper, Rafael Rodriguez, Jim Dronsfield, David Ferriero, Neal Paris, Hank Tomlinson, Pakis Bessias, Donna Hewitt, John Board, Paul Harrod, Ken Hirsh, Mellisa Mills, David Jamieson-Drake, Kyle Johnson, Peter Bauer, Roger Loyd, Marion Shepard, Alvin Lebeck, Johathan Luebbers, Matthew Kotler, John Sigmon, Susan Engelbosch, Kevin Lee, Michael Blum


Bulk Email is now in place. Tom Black of the registrar's office is heading up this effort and is in charge of processing requests for student mailing. There is a separate process for requesting bulk emailing to faculty. David Jamieson-Drake has agreed to be the contact for these requests.

How Duke should proceed with enterprise general ledger, human resources, and payroll systems are now being investigated in the context of the upcoming merger with Durham Regional Hospital. The current procurement system project is undergoing a detailed planning effort which should be completed the first week of November. A date for starting the pilot efforts will be determined at that time.

As an immediate alternative to the modem pool, Duke has established an agreement with IBM to offer ISP (Internet Service Provider) services at special competitive rates to Duke users. IBM provides over 500 toll-free lines in cities worldwide, making service especially attractive to users who live outside the Durham local calling area or who travel frequently. Detailed information about and instructions for obtaining this service can be found at the following OIT web site:


Some restricted web pages at Duke may not be immediately available via this service.

Email status and planning

Charlie Register provided an overview of the changes that have taken place in upgrading the email system and future plans. In general the approach is to move from single servers to multiple servers and more secure Kerberos-authenticated systems. ACPUB servers are now completely detached from the email system. Message delivery can be delayed when primary servers become overloaded and messages are diverted to overflow servers. Approximately 5% of messages are diverted and experience an average delay of 5 hours. Bulk mail is more likely to be delayed since the number of recipients is used in determining delivery priority for delayed messages. The number of messages handled per day has grown from around 60,000 to over 300,000 in two years.

Shared mailboxes can now be used for departmental distribution lists, but these need to be advertised more. These mailboxes can not be used by POP clients.

There is a great deal of information available on the OIT web pages on various usage patterns, including email.

In moving to secure email clients, customized versions of PINE are developed to support Kerberos. Some users have complained about not having the most up-to-date version of PINE. Alternatives are to provide both the latest PINE version and the locally modified version. It is hoped that future releases of PINE will include Kerberos and the problem will disappear.

It was noted that two key constraints to keeping up with the growth in demand are limited space for servers and a short supply of qualified system administrators.

Lotus Notes and Related Issues

MCIS and OIT are working together to optimize the deployment of Lotus Notes at the institutional level. An advisory council has been established to provide necessary guidance. The primary challenge is balancing the benefits of centralized control and scalability against the flexibility required to support individual needs. MCIS is currently emphasizing email and has identified key groups that want to have the latest technology. MCIS is observing significant benefits from the use of common applications and a centralized support system versus fragmented support for each group and the use of different applications. The work-flow components of Lotus are expected to be very useful.

IT Support Planning Update

The primary result of an IBM survey of computing at Duke was that end user IT support varied significantly across the University. OIT is currently midway through a more detailed 4 month study. Data has been gathered and currently being analyzed. Proposed solutions are expected the end of November or early December. There were no significant differences from the IBM study. A partial list of problems follows:
  • haves vs. have-nots with respect to IT support
  • there is not a one-size fits all solution
  • local IT support people need more support from "global" community through better communication to OIT help desk and use of other local heros expertise
  • documentation
  • training
  • home support
  • students want more printers in dorms and clusters
  • students would like formal help (e.g., consultants in clusters)

Discussion of haves vs. have-nots concerned IT investment made by the department and that incentives should be in place. It was also noted that many departments only have one good person and no backup personnel.

Other issues

Brief discussion of the effects that possible purchasing of GTE would have on negotiations for remote access.

Many students do not want bulk email to be used for official confidential information (e.g., grades). SIS information is to be delivered via web pages with passwords and it will be encrypted.

Previous minutes were approved.