Duke ITAC - June 5, 2003 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - June 5, 2003 Minutes

Minutes: June 5, 2003

Members present:
Ed Anapol, Mike Baptiste, Pakis Bessias, John Board, Paul Conway, Dick Danner, Angel Dronsfield, Brian Eder, Nevin Fouts, Tracy Futhey, Patrick Halpin, Craig Henriquez, Billy Herndon, David Jamieson-Drake represented by Bob Newlin, Melissa Mills, Caroline Nisbet represented by Kyle Johnson, George Oberlander, Lynne O'Brien represented by Amy Campbell, Mike Pickett, Molly Tamarkin

Guests present:
Phil Lemmons, News Services; Bob Currier, OIT; Ginny Cake, OIT; Ken Hirsh, Duke Law; Dan McCarriar, OIT; Cheryl Crupi, OIT; Chris Meyer, OIT; Peter Lange, Office of the Provost

Call to order: Meeting called to order 4:06 pm.




Review of minutes and announcements



eCommerce update



Supercomputing update



Q & A with Provost Peter Lange



Networking update



IVY+ update



Common Solutions update



Other business


I. Review of minutes and announcements

John Board, acting chairman in Robert Wolpert’s absence, welcomes everyone.

New Duke.edu search engine, staffing news
Dan McCarriar announces that July 1, 2003 is the roll-out date for the new campus-wide Google search engine. Dan also introduces Cheryl Crupi, the director of the newly created Office of Web and Video Services. Dan and Cheryl have been developing an agenda for the office and meeting people at Duke. Cheryl has been at Duke only four days, but she and Dan will eventually be around to meet everyone in the room.

Supported software review
Ginny Cake asks members to go to the supported software Web site (http://www.oit.duke.edu/oit/standards/pcmac.html) to review the listing of supported software for Fall 2003. At the top of each section is a paragraph detailing what has changed since last year. Send feedback to Debbie DeYulia.

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II. eCommerce policy update

Presented by Angel Dronsfield

Angel Dronsfield reports that to date there are health system and campus groups that accept credit card purchases online. Anyone violating the corporate agreement with VISA and MasterCard compromises Duke’s ability to accept Visa and Mastercard for payment.

Another part of the eBusiness effort is how to identify who is and who is not doing eBusiness at Duke with a merchant ID. Angel’s team is trying to determine if eBusiness can be done as a centralized service.

The team worked with the University of Delaware to develop a combined product called Dukepay. It consists of an online payment system and a check-out page referred to as ePay. The system is currently available in pilot mode. The pilot has already revealed useful information such as the majority of online purchases are internal and not by people outside the university. The pilot has also revealed the fact that there are firewall issues as well.

Some questions that have arisen are:

  • Who can sell what to whom?
  • Does Duke soccer camp have right to sell online using Duke name? Who determines that?
  • Who determines who can sell and what they can sell?

There are tax, copyright, and ownership issues also. A policy addressing these types of issues is in progress of being created and is currently in a draft stage, but there are still more pieces to add to it. Dan McCarriar, Cheryl Crupi, and the Web Services group will be the contact for campus entities wanting eBusiness capability.

John Board asks how confident are we that we've tracked down all Duke groups that accept credit card purchases.

Angel says if they have a merchant ID we have located them.

John Board asks, what if a faculty member wants hold a conference and needs to collect money from others? How do you handle that?

Angel replies that faculty just need to make a phone call to Dan’s McCarriar’s group and they will take care of setting things up. That's the plan now.

Chris Meyer asks if it is conceivable that we would have a template for conferences.

John Board asks if that is done gratis or do we charge and how do we charge?

Angel says a whole host of people need to be involved to make sure we do it right.

George Oberlander says he has been following VISA regulations, which are the de facto credit card regulations for the industry. One thing they posted recently was the requirement to store credit card numbers. They have actually backtracked on this requirement. Now they see it as necessary.

Brian Eder questions why you even need a credit card if you're using the Dukepay system? Angel explains that in the new model that requirement probably goes away.

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III. Supercomputing update

Presented by Michael Pickett

Mike says Duke used about 10 percent of the capacity at the North Carolina Supercomputing Center (NCSC). The NCSC is shutting down, but we have some strategies for how we will address the issues of the faculty and staff using time over there. We’ve talked about a 64-node system. UNC-CH has a similar set-up already and we're looking for a model similar to theirs.

OIT is going to provide more administrative support for systems work. We have access to computers loaned out to NC State and Carolina. Data stored at the NCSC will be available through December 2003. We have access to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory facility. They are willing to work with us.

John Board asks if we have a feel for how much data at NCSC is Duke’s?

Mike Pickett answers that Duke has about 1.4 Terabytes.

John Board asks how big is the Sunfire machine that's being talked about.

Mike Pickett says it has 32 nodes, 256GB RAM, 7.9 Terabytes of disk space. Every piece is redundant—you can actually take a CPU out of it and it keeps running. You can totally lock out access to it with the operating system.

Craig Hernandez asks where the Sunfire will be housed.

Mike Pickett answers in the Center for Human Genetics computer room, mostly for HIPPA compliance.

Mike Baptiste asks about storage requirements. Have we looked into near-line storage?

Mike Pickett says yes. It can be done, but we are going to have to reevaluate how to do it. A model we heard of that makes a lot of sense is expanding the AFS space for researchers.

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IV. Update and Q&A with Provost Peter Lange

Peter Lange says there are some broad initiatives that will affect technology on campus.

In the next year, we expect to see a renewal of attention being paid to scientific computing. We’ve eased off in the last year because one of the things we pushed didn’t work well. John Hare is devising a strategic plan for scientific computing. We have not lost our fervor in that area, in fact, it has probably built up more. Several things have occurred to enhance our opportunity. They are:

  1. The collapse of high-performance computing at MCNC.
    While we believe that will be a short term inconvenience to a small number of our users, longer term this is a big opportunity for Duke. The money that we won’t be spending on MCNC can be spent elsewhere. We think our scientific computing has given us a real injection of energy on the cluster side.
  2. We received a new supercomputer with excess capacity.
    Sort of like manna from heaven we had a supercomputer drop on the Center for Human Genetics Research. It provided more capacity than they can use. We have a win-win situation in that now we have a high-powered computer on campus that will be a campus resource, not solely a human genetics resource.
  3. Strategic alliances.
    At MCNC we had an enormous amount of cooperation between NC State, UNC, and Duke. The two machines at MCNC migrated: one to UNC and one to NC State. Those at Duke who need supercomputing resources will be able to get them from NC State and UNC because of our relationship with them.

We apologize to people who feel inconvenienced by this.

Another part of the scientific computing push is thinking again of whether we can make better use of the North Building. Perhaps over next year or year and a half, the North Building will become a campus scientific computing center. Both the Medical Center and the university will be able to use services there.

Peter Lange adds that Tracy Futhey and Mike Pickett have been providing fabulous service and facilitating our ability to integrate computing on campus.

Craig Henriquez asks if there is any thinking on how to support a financial model? How do those of us writing for grants handle supercomputing needs?

Peter Lange says you need to talk with John Hare. With decentralized operations it is easy to have more capacity and service than is necessary. We need to learn how to exploit that.

John Board asks if Peter Lange has any comments on other aspects of academic technology. Are you comfortable with the level it has permeated?

Peter Lange replies that he thinks we are doing pretty well. In terms of ownership we’re good. In terms of wireless we’re doing well. It took us a while to get there, but now that we are there it will move fast. I think we are doing better at getting courses online with Blackboard, but I think we could be doing better, but at what level we want to be at I don’t know.

File sharing is an ongoing issue where we’re caught between a rock and a hard place. RIAA is really trying to turn up the heat. We haven’t gone around advertising ourselves as the technology campus, but I don’t hear anyone complaining.

Brian Eder asks what are you striving for on the academic side? Tallman Trask used to say we rated a C+.

Peter Lange says we have to ensure that we can push our capabilities and train faculty. Technology is not an end in and of itself. We’re not like Carnegie Melon University (CMU). At CMU technology is an end to itself because CMU is a technology school. But I do think our needs are outstripping our capabilities.

Chris Meyer asks how are potential faculty recruits taking that?

Peter Lange says we don’t have anyone turning us down because of it, but we used to.

Molly Tamarkin says she’d like to see a discussion on ways to approach getting faculty to buy into and support some type of centralized computing approach.

Peter Lange says from a provost resource side it is uncomfortable to see a lot of unused capacity sitting around on campus. I understand that there are some problems with granting agencies also where it is easier to buy equipment than it is to rent time on equipment. One of the things that's happening at Duke is that we are getting into a matrix structure and computing is one of the columns.

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V. Networking update

Presented by Bob Currier

Bob reminds members of the network traffic issues and determining who was using the most bandwidth discussed at the last ITAC meeting.

The top 10 consumers of bandwidth on ResNet are shown on a graph. The number 1 largest bandwidth consumer used 40GB in 24 hours. If we need to limit bandwidth in the dorms, we can automatically generate network traffic tickets because we are able to determine the user and location. But it is now a policy issue. We need to decide how much bandwidth consumption is too much, how many times before something happens, etc.? We can turn their port off if necessary.

Another interesting thing is that we can do an aggregate of NetID traffic rather than by port so a user can’t run 10 machines at a limited bandwidth.

We can also do a pretty good job of identifying hacked machines based on the nature of the traffic.

We will be implementing NetReg on the wireless network on June 16, 2003. The first time you bring your machine up on Duke's wireless network, a Web browser will open to a page where you will enter your NetID and password. You'll then be prompted to restart the computer and that's it --you’re ready to go until next semester.

If you have a device that is not capable of running a Web browser, you'll go to the Manual Network Registration page (https://udc.duke.edu/manual) and enter your NetID, password, and hardware address. We developed this method in response to the fact that there are a number of devices that will run on the wireless network but aren't necessarily computers and can’t run Web browsers.

Bob Newlin asks if we can do this as a proxy for someone else because some people can’t remember their NetIDs.

Bob Currier assumes systems administrators would be responsible for registering several devices.

George Oberlander asks if we can renew registrations before they expire.

Bob Currier says yes because it is a manual process to flush out the registrations.

Bob Currier says that since the supercomputing effort was discussed we've been watching 10G Ethernet for a while and it's still pretty expensive.

We would like a policy that says there will be no vanity names on ResNet. It's becoming a problem. It makes it more difficult security-wise to track down individuals.

John Board says we will probably want to get student input before we do anything drastic and develop a policy.

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VI. IVY+ update

Presented by Ginny Cake

Ginny Cake gave an overview of her recent IVY+ meeting attendance.

VII. Common Solutions Group update

Presented by Michael Pickett

Postponed until the next meeting because of time constraints.

VIII. Other business


Meeting end: 5:30 p.m.