Duke ITAC - June 14, 2001 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - June 14, 2001 Minutes


June 14, 2001

Attending: Ed Anapol, Pakis Bessias, John Board, Angel Dronsfield, David Ferriero, Nevin Fouts, Ed Gomes, Patrick Halpin, Donna Hewitt, David Jamieson-Drake, Ken Knoerr, Roger Loyd, Melissa Mills, Caroline Nisbet, George Oberlander, Lynne O'Brien, Mike Pickett, Rafael Rodriguez, Robert Wolpert. Guests: Rob Carter, Nhan Vo, Bob Currier.

Review of Minutes and Announcements:

  • CIO Search Update: Robert said the search committee had met, and was charged to emphasize academic computing this time around. He said three members of ITAC are on the committee, and asked people to pass along suggestions for candidates.
  • Schedules: In the summer, we'll meet less often, perhaps once/month instead of every two weeks. Based on show of hands, the first half of July (probably the second week to avoid 4th of July vacationers) and second half of August are when the most people will be here. Exact meeting dates will be circulated when meeting dates are finalized.

Wireless networking status and overview

Mike Pickett indicated that the CITIE steering committee is reviewing wireless networking possibilities.

Ed Gomes said the specific question is: what can be done with wireless? How would people use it? A document called "Draft Proposal for Wireless Networking" was circulated that answers this question, and then discusses wireless network architecture to support those needs. One-zone/one network is the best way to support roaming with wireless portable devices. How would this be supported centrally/by distributed departments, and who funds what? OIT has provided most tech support for pilots so far, and has purchased all central and some distributed hardware, while some departments have helped fund distributed hardware. Early pilots in high student use areas in Perkins and the Bryan Center have been successful so far. Board/conference rooms and areas in Divinity will be added soon.

Rafael noted that wireless will be a key enabler for services in the future. He indicated that the health system has deployed wireless devices extensively so far (~200 wireless nodes to date), and HIPAA requirements have had to be dealt with. He expressed the need for a vision document from the steering committee, and feels that funding should be considered as a second order question with needs and solutions coming first.

Dave Kirby pointed out that there is sufficient "cross traffic" between MC and campus that we need to figure out how to provide for its support. Also,a commitment to ubiquitous coverage enables activities that aren't possible when coverage is localized and unpredictable.

Nevin Fouts emphasized the need to provide a strategic concept and vision for wireless connectivity that would leverage wireless technology with its lower bandwidth to provide access to information in places where higher-speed wired access is not possible or feasible.

Patrick Halpin raised a question about effectively utilizing 802.11a vs 802.11b. Cost vs. coverage and demand for bandwidth, as well as availability of devices that allow access to both 802.11 a and b, are planning factors.

There was consensus on the need for ubiquity, the question on the table now is where to start. Library, LSRC, Sanford Institute and DUML were recommended. The need for guidelines to help integrate distributed departmental services and home use was also affirmed.

Overview of the Academic Strategic Plan

    • Rob Carter presented summer upgrades by system:
    • Mail:
      major upgrade to all post offices to Cyrus 2.1.x, which provides IMAP and POP access. This version will support native SSL, improved mail filtering via SIEVE, LMTP (a lightweight SMTP with faster performance between mail servers), and improvements in security. Also replacing two oldest mail servers and SPARC 5 mail gateways so performance will be quick enough to allow virus scanning at that level.
    • WEB:
      Two SPARC 20's serve as www.duke.edu web gateways, with 1.3M hits/day performance is degrading; similar problems affect the web mail gateway and www.oit.duke.edu. These machines are being replaced and/or servers added to nominally double or triple performance above current levels. Authentication services will be improved. CGI generally and Perl support specifically will be enhanced; PHP 4 support will be added.

    • LABS:
      upgrade to Solaris 8 in Unix labs and Win2k in PC labs, as well as authentication and security upgrades in the latter case. Win2k machines are being authenticated through existing Kerberos servers. OIT will offer W2K solutions it's figured out to departments. 85% of the way to getting AFS file services deployed using open source AFS, which is far less expensive than purchasing commercial AFS clients. Patrick Halpin asked about AFS-based applications. Web-based gateway to Virtual Network Console (VNC) support being installed.

      is moving forward, with authentication piece moving toward taking advantage of LDAP; coordination of these is needed. OIT is trying to move toward providing institutional authentication services,not just ACPub authentication.

  • Mike Pickett underscored the summary statement in the last paragraph of the executive summary of the strategic plan. The plan puts teeth into implementation, including how goals are to be achieved and measured. He reviewed overall document flow as well as the nine strategic goals as outlined in the executive summary. David Ferriero indicated that a figure of $25M in new IT investment has been agreed to as a starting point, but that it is expected this figure will change over time. Robert noted that even absent goal 6,which explicitly references IT, more than half the other goals also involve significant IT commitments.

    Details of Goal 6 in the Academic Plan
    Mike also led the discussion of Goal 6. A mass storage pilot, student training in computing, and "Blackboard" pilots have already received funding and are underway. Mike described some of the ongoing efforts to obtain input from faculty and students.

    Systems projects and upgrades this summer

    Rob assured us he can do all this in only a 90 hour work week. Mail and authentication infrastructures have highest priority; hardware deliveries are a concern.