I. Announcements

Next Friday: our annual TechExpo event.  This is a convention amongour IT folks with presentations on services and projects.  The keynote isGuillermo Diaz, CIO at Cisco.  It’s an all-day event.

Our next meeting, April 21, will be the last of this semester.

II. Agenda Items

4:05 - 4:20 – Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercise, Richard Biever (10 minutepresentation, 5 minute discussion)

What it is: Duke’s Emergency Management Team organizes annual tabletop exercises to test our emergency preparedness through scenarios such as past tabletop exercises involving bomb threats, active shooters and others. This year’s tabletop exercise involves a scenario arising from a cybersecurity attack impacting operations at Duke.

Why it’s relevant: Cybersecurity has become a significant threat in recent years, and this tabletop provides an opportunity to examine our response and communication structures, as well as to raise awareness of cybersecurity risks beyond the highly exposed areas of data breaches.

We just completed our inaugural cybersecurity tabletop exercise.  The focus of the exercise was on how Duke's emergency management team would respond to a security incident, including both the steps to resolve the incident as well as the communication procedures.

4:20 - 4:45 – NCNGN, Tracy Futhey, Kevin Davis (15 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion) 

What it is:  The North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) is a regional initiative focused on stimulating the deployment of next generation broadband networks in North Carolina.  The coordinated effort is led by six municipalities and four leading research universities and supported by local Chambers of Commerce and businesses in the Research Triangle and Piedmont regions 

Why it’s relevant: Affordable, ultra-fast broadband connections can allow Duke faculty and students engaged in data-intensive projects to work more seamlessly between the classroom, office, lab and home.  Increased availability of these networks can also transform the way Duke students and faculty engage with one another as well as the community and world around them.  We will provide an update on the progress of the project. 

As much of a disruption as the laying of fiber has been, it’s also economically disruptive.

Durham, like many other cities, participated in the Google Fiber competition several years ago.  There was an effort called GigU involving a former FCC chief of staff; Tracy and others were also involved.  The idea was to say, “If Kansas City gets fiber from Google, who’s next?”  At the time, existing providers weren’t interested in offering something similar. 

NCNGN presented RFPs to the various providers, including streamlined permitting, leases, construction of fiber huts, etc. 

Six municipalities (Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Cary, Carrboro, and Winston-Salem), plus the R1 universities in those cities, formed this organization. 

Once AT&T announced its GigaPower network, other providers (Frontier, Time Warner, Ting, and CenturyLink) began to expand or enhance their services.

Since our earlier work, many other cities have been announced for gigabit networks; but since the NCNG cities (Durham, Triangle, Winston-Salem) were at the front of that list, expansions are happening here far ahead of many of the other cities.  That lets us be early innovators.

AT&T’s early buildouts have been in south and southwest Durham; they’re also building out other areas.

Google has seven fiber hut sites, and has been working with the city on its buildout plans. 

Now that the network is being constructed, what do we do with it?

We want to figure out innovative uses for these networks, and we have four areas of focus:

    • Health, medicine, and wellness
    • Education / workforce development
    • Smart cities
    • Arts, culture, and entertainment

We’re partnering with local organizations in connection with these areas. 

Following our local efforts, other North Carolina communities are pursuing advanced broadband.  Asheville and Wilmington are interested; Greensboro, High Point, and Burlington have launched TRI-GIG, based on NCNGN. 

Digital Inclusion: AT&T is providing free gigabit broadband to some community centers.  Several public housing units will receive 3 Gb service.  The Kramden Institute is involved in bridging the digital divide. 

US Ignite: Facilitating new applications and cloud infrastructure to take advantage of the increased bandwidth; identifying seed funding and grant resources; and improving collaboration.

Questions and Discussion

Question:What about local network resources (such as low-bandwidth routers)? 

Answer: Seems that there needs to be some kind of communication to homeowners that upgrades may be in order.

Comments: This also has implications for capacity for our own infrastructure, such as the capacity of our VPN concentrators.

We’re also interested in use cases that would be possible with increased residential connectivity that haven’t been possible until now.  As you find these, let us know.

The School of Nursing is aware of many projects related to telemonitoring of rural populations.

4:45 - 5:10 – IT Strategic Plan Update, John Board (15 minute presentation/10 minute discussion) 

What it is:   Under the direction of the Provost, Duke is undertaking its first institution-wide strategic planning effort in about ten years.  Strategic planning around the evolution of IT systems and services, both central and distributed, will help inform the larger university planning process. 

Why it’s relevant:  Following the model successfully used for the last plan, seven IT strategic planning groups have been formed to address specific aspects of the IT evolution on campus.  The next step in the process is to collate and distill the good ideas from the various planning groups into a coherent higher level IT plan; we will hear an update on this effort. 

Seven planning groups received an initial charge.

55 specific recommendations came from those planning groups.  From those 55, there was some duplication.  We identified 23 broad ideas, distilled to nine themes, with further refinement likely. 

    1. Enhance mobile access to IT systems and services We should be thinking mobile-first, both for adapting our services and systems and planning our network.
    2. Enhance network and other infrastructure services.  Computing demands increase constantly.  We’ve had a lot of success; we need to be prepared to scale up our services to meet user demands.
    3. Improve service delivery through enhanced data analyticsDuke can do better at using the data available to us many areas.
    4. Enhance IT security and information stewardship.  Rather than hiring lots more security people, we need to turn everyone into a security person to some degree.  Every IT worker and every user has a role to play.  Research and institutional data needs good stewardship.
    5. Promote IT innovation.  Duke has been a leader in this area.  We want to further instill excitement in new technologies to our communities and discover how these technologies fit into our larger mission.
    6. Improve user experiences across all IT systems and services.  This includes improving the human interaction layer, as well as improving communication between systems so humans have to perform fewer actions to get things done.
    7. Increase opportunities for IT education and training.  Continual learning is necessary for general users and for IT staff.  There’s a lot of opportunity for further learning in data sciences.
    8. Increase the level of automation of IT systems and services.  We’ve made great strides in moving from artisanal work to automation.  Yet, there’s great opportunity in improving discoverability through service catalogs, and in improving problem tracking and support communication.
    9. Improve physical IT facilities.  Classrooms are primary: not just media dissemination, but content capture.  Internet of Things and SCADA networks: many devices now come into scope for IT which previously were not IT’s problem.

 We should also review our progress toward last year’s strategic plan.

 Of course, our IT strategic plan is a part of the larger Duke-wide strategic plan.  We’re going to look at that plan to see how IT can inform the larger university  goals.

 We hope for our plan to be done by the end of this academic year.  It will then “bubble up” to the next level of the hierarchy.

Questions and Discussion

A lot of these seem to be related to comfort and lifestyle, and not so much to IT driving research. 

In quantity, perhaps.  In investment, much will go to infrastructure.

5:10-5:30 – Duke Regional Fiber Build out, Bob Johnson. (10 minute presentation/10 minute discussion)

What it is:  The opportunity to own the assets that are of a strategic importance to Duke University and Duke Health System has come into focus with the regional fiber build out.

Why it’s relevant:  Bob will discuss the expansion of Duke’s regional fiber presence and how this will give us better control over our access to our own remote sites, and to Internet 2 and other network providers. 

We have an opportunity to greatly expand our regional fiber presence throughout the Triangle: Durham, Orange, and Wake counties. 

We currently have about 30 gigabits via MCNC.  A major carrier has also made conduit available to us.  Getting conduit in the ground is about 80% of a project like this, so using existing permitting is a great benefit for us.  For example, getting fiber from East to West campus took about nine months.

(Map of available conduit routes.)

There are several existing local carriers (Google, AT&T, Frontier).  By having our own fiber, we reduce the risk of future cost overruns due to changes to carrier business; we also gain advantages for our distant sites.