Duke ITAC - May 3, 2007 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - May 3, 2007 Minutes


May 3, 2007

Attending: Owen Astrachan, John Board, Tammy Closs, Angel Wingate, Stephen Galla for Nevin Fouts, Tracy Futhey, Susan Gerbeth-Jones, Michael Goodman, John Pormann for Craig Henriquez, Billy Herndon, Rick Hoyle, Bob Newlin for David Jamieson-Drake, Julian Lombardi, Roger Loyd, Varun Marupadi for Dmitriy Morozov, Dan Murphy, Tim Bounds for Caroline Nisbet, George Oberlander, Mark Phillips, Mike Pickett, Rafael Rodriguez, Molly Tamarkin, Robert Wolpert

Guests: Isabel Huffman, Lew Kellogg, Klara Jelinkova, Rob Carter, Mark McCahill, Ginny Cake, Debbie DeYulia, all from OIT

Start time : 4:04

RENCI – Julian Lombardi
The Renaissance Computing Institute has been working with Duke to negotiate a RENCI/Duke Engagement Center. It’s gone through a number of iterations, and we’ve been looking at space. Telcom has come up as the possible location. So we’ve gone back and forth on that building and renovations.
I’m pleased to say that we’ve received an estimate that is in line with what RENCI is willing to put into it for renovations of 2,500 square feet of space on the first floor of Telcom, right at the main entrance. The engagement center is upfit and all the costs of construction will be borne by RENCI. We are committing to use 2,500 square feet for upfitting and operation of that facility for three years and negotiating for longer depending on how much value that has for Duke.
John Board – Is it in line with the draft blueprint we saw?
Julian – There have been several around. One was for North. One was for the first floor of Telcom. That one would represent basically what that would be. This is dependent on the budget for that project. The design phase of this upfit is still taking place. Those were initial estimates. Now the team is working with our Facilities folks to get a good estimate.
It’s a nice, centrally located facility. Plans are for several work areas for more sophisticated visualization facilities and a conference room for teleconferencing.

The OIT website – Julian Lombardi
Thanks to the Herculean efforts of OIT, we now have a very nice website that’s going to go live on or before the 15th of this month. It’ll be made available for you to look at. It represents a significant overhaul. It’s powered by a content management system, which is a significant aspect of this. It’ll be able to be updated on the fly. It’ll be able to be updated by the people who are responsible for the content.
It also has provided a template that is being considered for use for other units around Duke. It’s exciting to see the long-awaited OIT website come to fruition.
I want to thank Ginny and her team and others who worked on it. It wasn’t an easy task.

Introduction to Mark McCahill – Klara Jelinkova
Mark McCahill has joined the senior technical team in OIT to work on e-learning systems and how do we leverage the infrastructure we already have as well as look at new infrastructure.
Mark McCahill – I’m interested in how we can leverage all the investments we’ve already made and some of the things I see coming, with prisms and learning studios. At this point I’m just getting oriented in talking to people and finding out what’s going on.
John Board – Welcome. We look forward to hearing from you.

Tracy Futhey – Two things that have happened in the last 24 hours in reference to file sharing and alleged illegal behavior. One is that there was an announcement hand-in-hand for RIAA and MPAA and Washington where bipartisan group from the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to 20 universities, the top 10 from MPAA and the top 10 from RIAA. You may recall that we were nowhere on the RIAA list, but we were on the MPAA list. Duke allegedly is receiving this letter. We haven’t seen this letter yet. It seems to be a letter that also asks us to complete a survey about what we do in reference to attempts to curb piracy or something like that.
We also got a batch of 35 settlement notices. We have the information on 11 of those students. There’ve been discussions here about what to do with those. So we’re passing them along but with a very clear cover letter that says we’re passing this along but not implying that you’ve done anything wrong or no suggestion about what to do. The letters went out today as paper and as email. We originally were going to do just paper, but given the timing and we’re right on the cusp of students evaporating from campus, so it’s being sent as a pdf so nothing is clickable.

Mike Pickett leaving
Tracy – The other news is to mention is that Mike is at his last official ITAC meeting. His last day at Duke is the end of this month. This’ll be your chance to give him a hard time. You’ll get an invite to his going away event in a couple of weeks. Ginny is roastmaster, so we’ll have a fitting farewell.

I. Update on strategic plan implementation, Angel Wingate and Ginny Cake

Angel Wingate – I’ve been working with Ginny and Tracy on this. It is the IT strategic plan. It includes 17 strategies and three main goals.
One thing is to put this out on the website and make it more public. We’ve assigned volunteers or draftees as leads within and outside OIT to spearhead each of these. We have outlined the ones where OIT already is making internal efforts. We went to the detail level to list all the things it will take to achieve these strategies.
Molly Tamarkin – One is to bring greater university-wide consistency to equipment and scheduling of equipment and spaces.
Angel – We want her to tell us how she will know how we have achieved that. We’ve asked for periodic updates and reports. We’re still working on how we’ll communicate this. We’re working on the communication plan, both now and ongoing. One thing is a biannual update to this group, like this one. Maybe get a little more time on the agenda and bring in some of the sponsors or leads.
Ginny Cake – One thing is, this is a five-year plan. We realized a lot of the leads are aggressive and we’re trying to get things done in a year and a half, so we had to step back and look at that. Also the strategy or objective could change. So another component of being the lead is to be sure you’re communicating with constituents to make sure what the needs are.
Robert Wolpert – We had a handout of what the 17 things are. I recall one is that we would get more faculty or people to help with advanced computing. But we’ve lost the one person who was doing that.
Ginny – Part of that is, you’ve got the visions. Then the leads are taking that and finding out what the objectives are. What tasks are associated with that and where is the funding. That’s a big piece. That’s the kind of thing that will go back to Tracy. This is the big IT plan, not just OIT.
Angel – In a lot of cases until the tasks are identified, the costs can’t be determined.
Robert – It’s great to have you guys doing this.
Molly – Some goals are easier than others. One of mine was to increase the number of specialized classrooms. That’s pretty easy to assess. But others – like where you’re creating new programs – I think those are much more in the formative stages.
John Board – Is there a sense that we risk backpedaling on any of the other 16?
Angel – There are some that are very specific. Ssme others are like formulating funding models, where you’re not really sure if you’re there. I think what is intended in most of these cases is to put these things at a level of importance for the institution and to bring them back to the table.
Ginny – A lot of this, too, is for us to understand that we need better processes in place to be more nimble and quick to respond to things. One of the intentions is to put us in a position where we are more flexible.
John – I think the idea of selecting one or two for an update every six months or so is a good one.
Tracy – Maybe we should think about one we can report good progress on and a second that we think there’s challenge on.

III. Student cell phones, Debbie DeYulia

Debbie DeYulia – We are talking with Alltel and Verizon. Right now we offer cell phones to students and we’re considering whether or not that makes sense, looking at costs internally and overhead and bad debt. Most schools don’t offer cell phones to students like we do, where Duke’s assuming liability and gives the discount.
The vendors don’t have anything quite in place that we felt was really good enough to give to students to take away what we’re doing.
John Board – In history, this was to allow international students to get cell phones because Verizon wouldn’t give them one.
Angel Wingate – In general, we wanted to offer an attractive dialing plan then they could do that. But the administration would have to track down students who are calling to New York to make a call.
The issue is, we do have international students who can’t get service because they need a Social Security number. But for the other students, it’s some credit history and also the rates. We’ve let them benefit from our collective bargaining. So there’s not a similar rate that they can get.
Debbie – Verizon is looking at doing something just for universities that would try to meet some of needs we have. But we didn’t have enough time and they aren’t ready in their program to do that. Alltel doesn’t have anything to offer other than just a discount with a signer. Verizon is piloting a university offering with five schools and we’re looking at that for 2008. We’re looking at whether it makes sense to get out of the business or looking at whether it makes sense to continue.
Robert Wolpert – Maybe we should look at other vendors.
Angel – Contracts are up in about a year. Sprint, Cingular have established a big presence on campus. Students are really liking their phone service. We’ll be adjusting our rate service over the summer.
Tracy Futhey – The reason they like it is we may be pricing below cost once we load in all the services.
John Board – How big is the program?
Angel – 1,300 students?
Tracy – They can go right here, get good rates, the contract is more flexible, they can change plans any time. But there’s a misunderstanding about roaming, so they might get a phone in good faith and end up with a $600 phone bill. The prospect of canceling with Verizon hasn’t always been as smooth as we’d like.
Robert – Could we lower the costs by offering only plans that don’t have roaming?
Tracy – We’re looking at that. It’s not that we don’t want to give the service, just that the way we’re doing it may not be best.
Julian Lombardi – With respect to roaming, keep in mind that as we’re framing learning as doing it through ways outside the classroom, this may counter those efforts.
Angel – We save Duke in excess of $100,000 a year if each person went on their own. By those terms we’re a model plan that other institutions are looking at.
Rafael Rodriguez – I heard that Tmobile is switching from wifi, for $20 a month. That would be something I’d be interested in looking at. The challenge with Verizon and Alltel, and the reason for Cingular in the health system, is the international crowd.
Debbie – Verizon is soon to announce that their BlackBerries will reach 60 countries.

Angel – Tammy’s group is negotiating with Cingular to improve signals in the hospital. We have so many people that aggregating those people together would be good.

IV. Storage Initiative Update

Billy Herndon – Our last update was in January. Kevin Davis identified 13 needs. Now we’ve transitioned this to the Project Office, where we’ve set up a team with Lew Kellogg and Isabel Huffman. They’re at the point now where we should be getting recommendations on the solutions. The first step was trying to identify the needs. The second phase was coming up with solutions. Then we’ll be coming up with recommendations.
Lew Kellogg – The approach we took was to speak to vendors, Ivy+ members, look at installed technology in three areas – personal computer backup and recovery, hosted long-term storage and personal network storage. The focus was on trying to get things in that would be available in fall, as well as to get things started with storage in a broader sense and see what we were getting into.
In talking to vendors, other schools, and Gartner Research Inc., we came up with things that were consistent among all three services.
There is a lot of technology here and in most places it’s working well. There’s significant overlap, or potential for it, in the services we’re studying.
When you back up, what does that mean? Is it personal network allocation, a school’s service, a vendor providing a service, or a USB drive. There is lots of overlap and difficult to tell where those lines need to be drawn.
There seems to be no one single answer, and constant change was quite obvious. We saw yesterday where you can get a 64GB flash drive.
Our recommendations – with personal backup and recovery, the recommendation is to fully outsource it. We’re talking to a few vendors.
For that solution and others we looked at, PCs were supported and others were supported to various degrees. Macs initially weren’t supported, but it’s coming in the near future.
For personal network storage, we revisited the requirements and it appeared that some of the issues people had with AFS was the difficulty using it for some people, and the quotas were too small. So the team looked at what was available and the investment we had made already and determined that with some added front end we could most likely make it easier to use and with the available space we could raise the quota. We recommend a 1 GB soft quota.
The more complex service is hosted long-term storage. We’ve been able to team with Pratt for a pilot, basically a two-tiered effort: the levels of storage that would be provided, and it would solve a problem Pratt has with their service that is with Novell.
We should have contract signed by the end of May. It should be available off our website in coming months.

Robert Wolpert – Most notebooks have 100 GB. Why is this better?
Lew – It saves things differently. However, it won’t save mp3s.
Robert – So students have to sort through what to save?
Lew – Yes.
Billy Herndon – Other services would be available for more cost.
Lew – The recommended vendor started by protecting priceless assets like photos. They have an underground facility in Colorado that meets the highest security levels.
Robert – Do they have a Playtex version of our files? Or do they just have encrypted?
Lew – Only encrypted.
Billy – Chris Cramer is involved and is comfortable with the service.
Klara Jelinkova – The one thing we have been asked about is whether we can get information out if we want to leave there, and they said yes.
Statement – We also foresee that we may establish protocols that certain types of information should not be backed up offsite.
Klara – The team talked about policies that state what can and can’t be backed up outside, but this was a technical team.
Tracy Futhey – I thought this service was for students. It’s offered to individuals for personal systems and data, in which case you might want take this at your own risk.
Rafael Rodriguez – The challenge is research data. Is it institutional or not? That’s debatable. Particularly in the medical center it includes information that may be regulatory. We have policies about that. I have a lot of researchers that are interested in having backup.
George Oberlander – Are we going to be prevented technologically from having institutional stuff going there.
Billy – Part of the sign-off could be to read and sign off on the policy.
Klara – The target was home use machines, personal machines. Another service we’re talking about is departmental backup, but that’s part of the next phase.
Rafael – Many researchers will not view their systems as departmental machines. And it’s being funded and they’re paying it out of their discretionary funds. That’s the area where we have a significant exposure.
Tracy – The challenge is there, but that’s not a technical issue.
Rafael – It’s a policy issue. But it would be good to have a solution to offer them. This would provide the right level of encryption to go along with that policy.
Molly Tamarkin – The solution would be a different service.
John Board – Money will be an issue. If this is six times more, that will be a premium on that.

Molly – The Web front end, will that interface allow the customer to manage permissions?
Answer – Yes.

Lew – One last comment on the security part. We required them to agree to the HIPAA and all of the requirements that have been required in the past. Of course, that doesn’t fix the rogue researcher.
Ginny Cake – You had those discussions with them. DHTS was in on it.
Rafael – I’m talking more about our requirements. If you’re persistently storing data that’s PHI or financial info, it has to be encrypted by certain standards. That goes beyond what HIPAA requires.
Billy – Eeryone was looking at this as personal.
Rafael – We’re getting hung up on the word institutional, and I’m going back to the researcher. The machines were bought with the discretionary side of grant money.
Tracy – Maybe best thing is to introduce it as a student service. Maybe over time we can determine whether it’s good to introduce to others.
Billy – This is supposedly non-university institutional data. We don’t know how many people will use it.
Ginny – We’ve heard from other schools that uptake is slow. That’s why we didn’t want to invest any money.
Lew – The advantage is you don’t have a hard time figuring out how to use it. Folks who use technology won’t use this. But if you don’t want to worry about where it is and how to get it, you will use something like this.
I think we’ve done personal network storage in terms of what we’re going to do. We’re working on changing the process of letting people know how to increase their quota. We’re also helping people find out if they have the right storage assets to increase their storage.
Where we’re going to run into issues is with this overlap. We’ve got a digital initiative and other initiatives. These quickly blend together and all look like the same thing. Our costs appear to be competitive there. We’re looking at more detailed analysis. For that and hosted long term storage we’re in line with other schools and what you can get from an outsourcer.

John Board – Was there any student input on the team?
Billy – yes. There were students involved in Kevin’s team. We’re still pressing to get some of this delivered by July.

End time : 5:30