Duke ITAC - June 3, 1999 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - June 3, 1999 Minutes


June 3, 1999

Attending: Ed Anapol, Landen Bain, Pakis Bessias, John Board, Jim Coble (for David Ferriero), John Kent (for Nevin Fouts), Patrick Halpin, David Jamieson-Drake, Betty Leydon, Roger Loyd, Melissa Mills, Caroline Nisbet, John Oates, George Oberlander, Lynne O'Brien, Mike Pickett, Rafael Rodriguez, John Sigmon, Matt Brown (for Clark Smith)

Guests: Paula Loendorf, Joe Massey, and Charles Register

Review of Minutes and Announcements:

The minutes were approved as written.
There were no announcements.


David Jamieson-Drake presented a demo of the web site that will be implemented for course registration next fall (for spring registration). He indicated that the original plan of the SISS project was to have both voice and web registration available. However, the vendors (PeopleSoft and Paraphonics) have not been able to deliver an acceptable product. The SISS project sent a survey to all students who use ACES (~8,000) to gauge their satisfaction with current registration methods and willingness to move to web-based registration. Approximately 1,600 responses were received: 48% UGs, 8% professional school students, and 45% graduate students. This distribution is similar to the actual proportion of each population in the student body. The response distribution by school also corresponds to the actual distribution. Survey results indicated that nearly 50% of our students are less than satisfied with the current registration system. 95% have access to a PC with a web browser and 96% are very familiar with using a web browser. 68% indicated a preference for web registration. 10% said they would have a problem if web registration were the only option with their primary concern being access, e.g., modem pool and public clusters. Dr. Jamieson-Drake emphasized that we need to have a better understanding of how our current resources would map to the new registration process in order to determine whether students' access concerns are warranted. The web registration demo is available at the following URL: http://irplan.provost.duke.edu:437/SISS_Web_Registration.PDF The demo can be accessed using the following: ID # 0039646 and PIN# 12345. Since the site is under construction, it will not be available 100% of the time.

Mike Pickett asked whether there are any other web-based systems used by a large number of our students and if so, what we can learn from those experiences?
Caroline Nisbet noted that all undergraduates enter their preference for housing on a web-based system that has been in operation for four years.
John Board asked what windows are used.
Ms. Nisbet stated that various windows have been tried, however, there is an attempt to parallel the ACES process as much as possible. The biggest problem is students who fail to register during their windows causing a large volume on the make-up day. Although e-mails are sent to students who fail to register within their windows, a small percentage of students fail to register every year.
Dr. Board asked what the largest window would be?
Dr. Jamieson-Drake responded that it would be seniors. He noted that the Registrar's Office sets windows, so these can be adjusted as needed. Current thinking is that Ph.D. candidates who've finished all their coursework may not be required to complete their registration via the web, which would decrease the load on the system. It is likely that the web registration system will also be called ACES. Dr. Jamieson-Drake highlighted a special feature of the web system that allows students to pick their courses in advance and add them to their "backpack." If this is done in advance, they will be ready to submit their choices when their registration windows open, thus reducing the amount of time they will be using the system. The act of placing the course in a student's "back pack" does nothing to post his/her registration in the course. It is possible (and likely) that students will have to alter their choices depending upon when their registration window occurs. They will receive real-time information on the number of seats available during the registration. If a course has a discussion section or lab, those sections will be included automatically when the course is selected. The system will honor the current load rules, i.e., it will not allow a student to exceed the course load s/he is eligible to take. If a course requires a permission number, that information will be required to complete the registration. eventually, the advising checklist will be on the web site as well In terms of security, the system has no cache and issues no cookies. The developers have tried to incorporate the best elements of web registration sites at other schools. There will be 500 concurrent licenses as opposed to current 40 phone lines so it can accommodate many more students during the same windows.


Paula Loendorfdistributed a handout of her presentation and began by noting that Duke has a #5 ESS Central Office (C.O.) switch that handles 4,200 student/patient lines, 9,800 analog lines, and 10,100 departmental digital lines. Duke is one of a very few organizations (<20 in the U.S.) with this type of switch, so we have little negotiating clout with the vendor. When she arrived, the switch was at capacity and Betty Leydon charged her to examine emerging technologies to determine whether there might be a better technology strategy available at lower cost. Ms. Loendorf noted that most organizations have one PBX serving the entire organization. In addition to the #5 ESS, Duke has a G3 Enterprise PBX (1,000 stations), a G3 PBX at the Thomas Center, Nortel PBXs at DCRI, Center for living, Morris Building, and Busse Building) and 90 other small PBX switches and Key Systems. There are 65 systems of various types located off-campus. Many departments bought their own systems over the years in an effort to reduce their monthly costs and a few departments received systems as gifts. Some of the systems are as much as 30 years old. The costs to support these varied and aging platforms are high and differing feature sets confuse mobile users.
Ms. Loendorf explained that C.O. systems are designed to provide basic dial tone and features to support very large station sizes such as a phone company. PBXs are designed to rapidly roll out a variety of features and services to business users who may be located over a wide area. Further, the PBX market is dynamic and user-focused. Several features offered by PBX are needed by and of benefit to our users (see handout). Telcom converted the radiology owned Lucent G3 switch into a central switch platform making it the basis for the enterprise PBX. They found this switch easier to maintain than the #5 ESS and that technicians require less training. Duke has a large investment in the #5 ESS, so there is no plan at the moment to move everyone off that service. However, that system is once again at capacity for digital lines, so it is timely to further explore the G3 PBX technology. There are definite plans to implement the G3 PBX system in the hospital labs and tentative plans to switch over First Union Tower, University Tower, Mill Bldg., and Peoples Security. Telcom is now developing a migration for the users of the other 90 campus PBX and Key Systems.
Joe Massey, a consulting engineer, was introduced to address converging technologies. Both major platforms (#5 ESS and G3) are addressing voice/data convergence. Both have migration plans based on the concepts of gatekeepers and gateways. PBX is already there, but their target market is small business, so the technology is currently not scaleable for our needs. The #5 ESS has just announced the packet version. This will maintain Duke's investment in old hardware, although there is a cost to support the packet functions. It is inevitable that Duke will have a mixed environment for some time, probably 5-10 years. (Reasons listed on the handout.) There are some pilot initiatives underway into VOIP (Voice Over IP) to determine cost, features, and maintenance issues.

Dr. Boardasked whether Duke had explored sharing service with Time Warner or ATT, both of whom have #5 ESS switches.
Ms. Loendorf indicated that there had been some conversation, however, these organizations want Duke's trunk line business and are not interested in supporting individual users.
Dr. Board followed with another question asking about downtime for the G3 PBX.
Mr. Massey responded that the PBX will experience more downtime that the #5 ESS.
Ms. Loendorfemphasized that Duke is not planning to phase out the #5 ESS and commented that there is no good data yet on the level of reliability people expect with data and voice. Most people still value voice over data, but this is changing and a few departments have come to value data over voice. She stated that Telcom also needed to get more data regarding users' expectations for cellular service and will be developing an RFP for cellular services. She does want to limit growth on the #5 ESS and will add new lines via the G3 PBX.
George Oberlander asked what network traffic would look like when Voice/Data are integrated and questioned whether major infrastructure changes would have to be implemented to make this technology implementation successful.
Mr. Massey responded that major infrastructure changes would be required and that the cost and charge back models would need to be revised.
Ms. Loendorf said that now is not the time to make a definitive decision between the #5 ESS and the G3 PBX. That decision is at least five years down the road.


Charlie Register stated that his purpose was to introduce some topics for further discussion at a future meeting. He has been concerned that Duke doesn't have a well-developed set of policies regarding computing and electronic communication. The IT security advisory group has been discussing this issue and Mr. Register drafted at their request an acceptable use policy document for ITAC consideration and review. (Copies of this document were circulated and the URL was later posted to the ITAC list.) Mr. Register emphasized that the acceptable use policy should be broad and apply to all Duke systems including voice, video, and data. The policy should be sufficiently flexible to allow specific systems and services to require an additional End User Agreement. He said that if ITAC supports the document, he will go forward with a review by University Counsel and also will work with Human Resources and Student Affairs to get the statements incorporated into employee orientation, policy manuals, and rules and regulations. He observed that we are doing little to insure that users are aware of our acceptable use policies and that Duke needs to do a better job of educating users about policies and their responsibility to adhere to them. In some cases, this will mean citing specific examples of things one should not do.
Dr. Board asked how this draft differed from other use policies that ITAC has reviewed.
Mr. Register replied that the present draft is designed to be the umbrella statement under which other policies and guidelines would fall. He concluded his remarks by noting that this topic would be on the agenda of a future ITAC meeting.
Dr. Board asked that all relevant policies be collected for review prior to that discussion.