Duke ITAC - March 17, 2005 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - March 17, 2005 Minutes


March 17, 2005

Members present : Owen Astrachan, Mike Baptiste, Pakis Bessias, John Board, Shailesh Chandrasekharan, Paul Conway, Dick Danner represented by Ken Hirsh, Nevin Fouts, Tracy Futhey, Michael Gettes, Guven Guzeldere, Paul Harrod represented by Alfred Truzzu, David Jameison-Drake, Deborah Jakubs, Kyle Johnson, Roger Loyd, Gregory McCarthy, George Oberlander, Lynne O’Brien, Mike Pickett, Rafael Rodriguez, Dalene Stangl, Molly Tamarkin, Robert Wolpert, Steve Woody

Guests: Jonathan Adams, OIT; Ginny Cake, OIT; Debbie DeYulia, OIT; David Menzies, OIT; Jim Rigney, Computer Store

Start time : 4:06 p.m.


I. Review of Minutes and Announcements:

  • None

II. Review of Voice Over IP Projects at Duke- Rafael Rodriguez, Dan McCarriar, Nhan Vo, Jonathan Adams

John Board says in two weeks, we are expecting Dan McCarriar's report on VoIP at Duke. Today we'll be reviewing the state of some of the current VoIP projects with DHTS and OIT.

Rafael Rodriguez explains that recently his function at DHTS moved into the Hock Building across from the eye center. Prior to that, his group had been collaborating with OIT and Cisco on wireless issues, looking at projects involving patient safety, patient satisfaction, and workflow. Cisco is very interested in moving into VoIP applications. As DHTS was moving into the Hock building, Cisco offered to supply all the equipment in the Hock Building that would make VoIP possible. This was an offer too good to refuse.

Nhan Vo hands-out documentation on network diagrams outlining VoIP, and explains the hand-out page-by-page. Rafael explains how his group has hooked-up PCs to the phones, and Nhan shows a wireless phone and explains how it picks-up IP addresses.

Nevin Fouts brings up the analog phone gateway mentioned on the second page of the hand-outs. Nhan says they support up to 16 analog lines, but right now they just have three assigned.

John mentions that it is not a truly redundant system.

Dan McCarriar explains how Jonathan Adam's group at OIT has been working with two major VoIP vendors and how OIT has a Cisco call manager cluster up and some phones around, but the cluster is not being used in a production way. He mentions that IP phones are becoming more commonplace. Jonathan says the current setup can absorb up to 30 IP soft clients and that right now it's more of an R&D type of environment, trying to get some trunking up and running. Dan demonstrates a wireless VoIP phone and says that a lot of vendors are looking at phones which access VoIP inside buildings but switch over to cellular providers once the phones are taken outside. Dan passes the phone around the room.

David Jameison Drake asks if VoIP is secure.

Michael Gettes says that in the case of a soft phone, if it's run on a compromised network, there are problems; if you can solidify network security, you don't have such a security problem.

Dan says video space is more schizophrenic right now; so far, it's being done in a proprietary way right now.

Molly Tamarkin asks if there has been thought given to staffing. She mentions that now the lines get blurred between desktop and phone support, and she wonders how VoIP would add to the mix.

Dan says support is a fundamental part of the debate, not just about VoIP, but he says there's a debate about the staff that handles desktop and phone support in the current IT environment.

Rafael says at the Raleigh hospital they have spectrum phones that are being switched to VoIP phones. The oncology group set-up an area paging system which is an old Motorolla paging system between doctors and nurses, and he wonders if it would make sense to use a VoIP phone with a browser as a solution.

Mike Pickett asks if in terms of reliability issues, including ringing, have there been any issues.

Rafael says in the six months he's had VoIP, he hasn't noticed any issues.

Dan says that anyone who's called him over the past year has been calling him on a VoIP phone. It has the potential if you do it right you have more potential, regarding bandwidth to provide even better sounding phone calls over a digital network.

Rafael asks what is meant by convergence; is it two different technologies over the same network? On the DHTS side, he says he needs more reliability on the data network than on phone.

David asks if we know of any places that have gotten rid of their phones and switched to VoIP.

Rafael says Bank of America has switched, about 30,000 phones.

Dan says Dartmouth and Stanford have committed to VoIP.

Tracy Futhey mentions that most places have trials like ours or have gotten farther ahead.

III. Duke Technology Advantage Program Update - Jim Rigney, Debbie Deyulia

Debbie Deyulia says OIT along with some other Duke groups like the Computer Store are revisiting whether TAP is meeting the needs of students. She outlines how this is TAP's third year and how every student who is returning this coming year has had the chance to participate; the program has run through a full cycle.

John Board asks what is the percent coverage for students, i.e. what percentage of students have TAP computers?

Jim Rigney says that, given sales, it's about a third.

Debbie gives an update on TAP statistics provided on PowerPoint slides. She says that most problems on TAP computers diagnosed by the OIT Help Desk are OS-related. She says that when TAP computers come in, by contract they are sent to the front of the queue, pushing all other non-TAP computer repair requests back, thus creating a disparity in repair times between TAP and non-TAP computers.

Robert Wolpert says that one of the early arguments about having a distinction between TAP and non-TAP computers with regard to repairs is if we have a configuration we're familiar with, the expectation of the service time would naturally be less as technicians wouldn't spend a lot of time triaging, figuring-out what specific drivers are installed, etc. He asks if this has proven true.

Debbie says that over time, the difference in repair time between TAP and non-TAP computers has grown shorter because most people coming in now have the same type of computers with different set-ups. Technicians now are more familiar with the Dells, IBMs and Apples they regularly see.

Jim mentions that from a hardware perspective, the Computer Store can turn around a computer in 24 hours; if not, they have to look for parts, depending on the model of Dell, for example.

Debbie says that if Duke declared that it makes no difference if you bring in a TAP or non-TAP computer for repairs, all repairs would take 5-7 working days. She says if Duke decided to keep TAP but look at other vendors to service non-TAP computers, Duke would need to do put more time and effort into educating students on how to take better care of their computers.

Debbie explains how the Help Desk provides software support while hardware support requests go to the Computer Store.

Ginny Cake explains how OIT is trying to educate students, and says the big question is how to get students to be more attentive to taking better care of their computers, especially with regard to security.

Tracy Futhey says stats reflect that students are fundamentally careless when it comes to using and caring for their computers.

John says that roughly one third of undergraduate computers cycle through the Help Desks, asks if there is any comparative data out there.

Ken Hirsh says he sees roughly the same percentage at the Law School .

Robert Wolpert suggests considering a co-pay for non-TAP computers.

Kyle Johnson suggests having a set of hardware that we promise to support rather than the computer.

Tracy says she sees no problem funneling money through Duke; if you spend your $5 here, we'll get you two days turnaround; if you spend $5 elsewhere, you're on your own. If everybody bought them through Duke and the university was price competitive, she doesn't see a problem.

Ken points out that for those who've already bought TAP computers, if the support model was changed, Duke would still have to honor the original TAP agreement.

Jim says that last year, computer repair did 4,765 hardware calls; students only 727; last semester, there were 2,860 service calls, 430 students, 156 were student TAP. He says total sales since TAP began show that Mom and Dad appreciate TAP, but he says the question is how do you convince Mom & Dad it's a viable program.

Tracy suggests focusing on the difference in the service piece that goes home to students and their parents.

Molly asks if the expectation students may have that they get free support for their personal computer is reasonable. She wonders if peer institutions are providing that free service.

Tracy says that by and large, no. She mentions that Duke doesn't fix students' televisions or stereos. She mentions that for students who may complain about being without their computers while they are being repaired are free to use Duke's 24/7 computer labs available on both East and West Campus.

David Jameison Drake asks if there is much difference between TAP/non-TAP computers with regard to the ability to not provide problems.

Ginny cays we do not preload anything on the TAP computers, but we educate the incoming class on what they have to do to access the Duke network, etc.

John says we need to revisit the preloading issue, it might be worth it

Tracy says a relevant question to that one is how many return customers come back in.

Jim says one of the challenges we have is to get students to take ownership of their computers.

Mike Pickett mentions that one of the meetings we've been having was talking about patching computers; could we have students run a patch control system? [general consensus in the room was no]

John mentions sensing dissatisfaction in the room with the two tier system, with no consensus on the current format. He says we either have to say we don't support computers at all, or get the repair time down.

Ginny says if a non-TAP computer comes in, we should tell them the wait time and then point-out alternatives.

Tracy asks Debbie to come back with some proposals.

IV. Why is Authentication Hard? (part II) - Michael Gettes, Chris Cramer

Michael Gettes says that two weeks ago, we gave an idea of what authentication at Duke is, and this is an update.

Chris Cramer asks rhetorically what options are available to us as Duke people in writing applications to deal with authentication measures. Why use NetID authentication? Chris then presented slides detailing this topic.

Michael mentions that while building Webauths may be hard, on the duke.edu server Webauths are already built-in and you just need to turn it on with a simple htaccess code.

Ken Hirsh asks what the recommended process is for folks to get consultation from security to walk through the extended flowchart.

Chris says people can e-mail security@duke.edu .

John Board asks if Chris can put his presentation on the Web.

hris says he would like to put his presentation on the Web as well as other supporting documentation.

V. Arts & Sciences and OIT Collaboration - Mike Pickett

Mike Pickett Explains that about a year ago, he and Melissa Mills started to look at services that might move over to enterprise uses, such as linux@duke, which started in physics but is used elsewhere. A&S doesn't want to purchase servers that everybody else uses. Mike is beginning to have meetings with A&S and OIT staff to work through which services make sense to move over; he says he is about halfway through 14 topics. Mike says he'd like to get this back in front of the faculty over at A&S, and he would like to see these pulled together by end of term. Mike also says there is an A&S faculty committee that has been meeting.

VI. Other Business


End time : 5:28 p.m.