Duke ITAC - July 27, 2000 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - July 27, 2000 Minutes


July 27, 2000

Attending: Ben Allen, Ed Anapol, Landen Bain, Pakis Bessias, John Board, Jim Coble (for David Ferriero), Brian Eder (for Nevin Fouts), Mike Gower, Patrick Halpin, Ken Hirsh (for Dick Danner), Kyle Johnson (for Caroline Nisbet), Andy Keck (for Roger Loyd), Betty Leydon, Bob Currier (guest), John Oates, George Oberlander, Mike Pickett, Rafael Rodriguez, Robert Wolpert

Guests: Rob Carter, David Kirby

Review of Minutes and Announcements:

  • No changes to the minutes were requested.
  • Rafael announced that peering over Time Warner cable modems is now possible (allowing home cable modem users to access some Duke resources that are restricted to Duke).

Microsoft Faculty Forum 2000 report

John Board reported on the Microsoft Faculty Forum 2000 and on the areas of concern relevant for Duke. Microsoft has capabilities now for their .NET strategy. It will work if open ActiveX controls are allowed, though this has security implications. There are also cultural and PR obstacles to overcome. The Microsoft strategy includes computing on a spectrum of devices, for example, desktop PCs, notebooks, PDA's, cell phones. A lot of sophistication exists today for this strategy, including the ability to push and filter appropriate information to devices. John raised the question of the liability for information going out inappropriately.

Patrick Halpin commented that geographic information systems (GIS) is becoming a big growth area for PDA's. John noted that the MS strategy includes distributing work between low powered devices and high powered servers.

John discussed Microsoft's direction for operating systems. The Windows 95/98 line is going away after the release of Windows ME. Resources are already being reassigned to the development of the Windows 2000 successor. John commented on the complexity and diversity of the Windows 2000 product line with its dozen or so variants. The Windows 2000 design methodology has been driven by the desire to prevent the crashes and reboots experienced with NT and earlier operating systems.

State of The Network Report & Discussion

    • The new backbone is complete. Information is available on the Web page http://www.netcom.duke.edu/.
    • Gigabit ethernet is operational, there are two routers and it is fully redundant. Hot cutover has been tested. Engineering, School of Environment, and North Building are on gigabit ethernet. ResNet will be added shortly. There is a gigabit connection to MCNC and a redundant path will be available soon. Internet and Internet II are operating on the same path now.
    • There are four IPV6 boxes around the MCNC ring for each of the institutions. There are significant performance problems with IPV6 now.
    • Bob has successfully tested VOIP over his ADSL connection.
    • The wireless network is available at the Bryan Center in 3 of the 5 planned locations. Coverage is available to the atrium, patio, and breezeway. There were some issues with the network cards, but these were resolved. The LSRC wireless network was added last week in the cafeteria.

      Robert Wolpert mentioned it would be nice to have wireless available in the Duke Gardens.
      Bob answered that this is in the plans.

      Robert asked if there would be a problem going to 802.11A.
      Bob answered that it would not be a problem.

  2. Bob Currier reported on the state of the network.

    Bob noted that a renewal process for the campus wiring project has been developed and is awaiting final approvals. It will follow the original wiring project schedule and will provide for a four year replacement cycle amounting to about 6000-7000 ports per year.

    Kyle Johnson asked when we will be able to see the schedules.
    Bob answered that they would be available on the Web soon, after they are approved.

    John Board asked what percent is Internet II.
    Bob said it is difficult to say, but it is increasing.

    John asked what percent is 100 Mb to the desktop.
    Bob answered about 10%. All of ResNet will be 100 Mb with this summer's upgrade.

    Robert asked if the wireless network infrastructure is included in the renewal process.
    Bob answered that it is not yet.

    Patrick asked if there are training materials available for connecting to the wireless network.
    Bob answered not yet, but there will be.

    Kyle asked who decides where to stretch or replace sooner.
    Betty, the Deans, Jim Roberts, and Tallman Trask make these determinations.

    Kyle noted that he wouldn't want to get "stretched" without being able to provide input.

    George Oberlander asked if there are statistics on the bandwidth used for IPX/SPX traffic.
    Bob answered this is still an issue and we need to get away from IPX/SPX.
    Mike Pickett suggested setting goals for accomplishing this.
    Rob Carter said that a year would be good since our Netware site license continues for one more year and that University departments can upgrade to Netware 5.1 at no cost.
    Kyle noted it would consume a lot of resources to make the changes needed to eliminate IPX/SPX.
    Bob Newlin commented on the PC and server upgrades needed to deploy Netware 5.1.
    Dave Kirby mentioned the security implications of changing protocols.

    Robert Wolpert noted that Internet communications work fine some days and experience delay and latencies others and asked if this would be the same for VOIP.
    Bob answered that it would.

Updates from Futures Forums

    • Bob Currier reported that security, authentication and coordination were the big issues identified during the wireless forum. He also noted that optical networking was the hottest topic for networking and is moving rapidly.
    • Rob Carter reported that the security forum was well attended. It was apparent from the forum that there is a desperate need for better training in security concepts and dissemination of information for network administrators and users.

      A big part of security is social rather than technical - getting people to "do the right thing." Rob noted that the Math department has deployed a firewall that only permits HTTPS and SSH protocols.

      The interplay of security and privacy was discussed at the security forum. Rob noted that the need to watch packets for security could result in privacy concerns and that the group was largely divided on this issue. Rob also noted that virtually everyone was in favor of a public key infrastructure at the institutional level rather than distributed.
    • Brian Eder reported on the client computing forum and the Fuqua School of Business's next generation client computing initiative. Their plans are to have devices in students' hands this fall so the students can provide input. The vendor participant list is beginning to grow. Some of the devices are hard to hold with one hand, but they are getting smaller. Some are CE based and there is some talk about using Linux.
      Mike Pickett noted that Linda Martinez brought several e-books to the forum and he was amazed at how comfortable they were to use.
    • Dave Kirby reported on the emerging information technology in health care forum.
      In medical informatics and technology, one of the main issues is the volume of data that imaging technology will create as physicians use more detailed imaging as a means of avoiding invasive surgery. Dave noted that two way satellite communications, ultra-wide band to the public wide area network, and security (driven by HIPAA regulations) as other areas of focus. Mobility will also be important as handheld and wearable devices are used as aids to workers and patients.
  2. Mike Pickett started the reports on the recently held Futures Forums:

    Five forums were conducted, including wireless, networking, security, emerging information technologies in health care, and client computing.

PKI-Digital Certificates Seminar Update

Rob Carter reported that CREN is working on a certificate signing service for University certificate authorities. CREN would like to have universities establish certificate authorities and CREN would facilitate usage of certificates between universities. Rob attended the CREN seminar two weeks ago and gained a better sense for how PKI would be useful at Duke. It's something Duke will want as other universities start to use them. Duke is behind what some other universities are doing to issue, manage, and get new certificates. For example, MIT and Georgia Tech.

CREN is trying to get recognition from top level owners of certificates like Microsoft and AOL to agree to start including CREN certificates in their browsers. So far this has been greeted with no response and high fees.

John Board asked if the real motivation was the cost of VeriSign certificates.
Rob answered that it was.

Rob posed the question of whether Duke should be able to trust VeriSign for the identities of individuals at other institutions or would it be better to do this at the institutional level.

George Oberlander asked if a certificate was assigned by Duke, would it be accepted in Web browsers.
Rob answered yes, but the browsers will "complain."
John Board discouraged relying on locally modified browsers.

Ken Hirsh suggested taking a close look at decentralization and mentioned Novell's certificate server.


Other Business

  • Mike Pickett was approached by an internet startup about a product they want to give Duke. It interrupts browser flow to send out announcements. Committee members advised against accepting this product in light of recent policy discussions.
  • John Oates asked about the status of Duke Web mail. It is in beta testing, production hardware is here, and customer support staff are testing it.