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ITPG Meeting 2010-03-18

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Date and Time: 
March 18, 2010 - 9:00am - 11:00am
Location: 
Phelps 2536
Agenda: 

Minutes of 2010-03-18 ITPG Meeting

Administrative Items

  1. Minutes of 2/18/10 were posted 3/8/10

Informational Items

  1. Member Announcements
  2. CIO Report - Tom Putnam
  3. CISO Report - Karl Heins
  4. Subcommittee Reports
    1. Backbone Engineering Group (BEG)
    2. Security Working Group (SEC-WG)
    3. Web Standards and Content Working Group (WSG)
    4. ITPG Communications
    5. Identity Management Subcommittee (IdM)
    6. Calendaring Interoperability Workgroup
    7. ITLC E-Mail Outsourcing Project Workgroup
  5. Liaison Reports
    1. Information Technology Board (ITB) – Bruce Miller
    2. Academic Technology Planning Group (ATPG) - Alan Moses
    3. Enterprise Information Systems Planning Group (EISPG) -Deborah Scott
    4. Cyber Infrastructure

Action Items

  1. None

Discussion Items

  1. Voice over IP (VoIP) at UCSB – Bruce Miller
    See VoIP Presentations

Call for Agenda Items

Notes: 

Present: Michelle Adderley, John Ajao, Arlene Allen, Sean Bennett, David Bosso, Ted Cabeen, Michael Colee, Ken Dean, Bill Doering, Ann Dundon, Kirk Grier, Karl Heins, Richard Kip, Tom Lawton, Elise Meyer, Steve Miley, Bruce Miller, Alan Moses, Tom Putnam, Hank Ratzesberger, Andy Satomi, Glenn Schiferl, Kevin Schmidt, Jamie Sonsini, Heidi Straub, Paul Valenzuela, Paul Weakliem, Jim Woods.

Administrative Items

Minutes of the February 18, 2010 ITPG meeting were posted on March 8, 2010.

Informational Items

Instructional Computing (Steve Miley): GauchoSpace continues to run without a permanent budget. A request for more funds is being developed.

IS&C (Kirk Grier): Still working on mainframe and printing projects.

Student Affairs (Tom Lawton): There's lots of work, but it's the same stuff.

Solid State Lighting & Energy Center (Michelle Adderley): She’s observing our group.

LSIT (Alan Moses): They are busy with lab moves.

Physics (Glenn Schiferl): They are busy with end of the quarter stuff.

OIT (Elise Meyer): A team consisting of Ann Dundon, Kevin Schmidt, Daniel Youngberg and Elise Meyer presented a demo of a campus emergency blogging system to the Campus Emergency Planning Committee. The requirements for the blog came out of the events surrounding the Gap Fire. The system was well received; however, there was some concern that the event we used for our demonstration was a flooding event, and the EOC has a good track record of having the events that they drill for actually happen. Hence there was the suggestion to drill on the event of "money coming from trees."

UCCSC will be July 19 and 20 this year at UCLA. The deadline to submit a presentation proposal is April 8th.

Communications Services (Bruce Miller): Communications Services has started their budget process. They are going to do some new rate modeling. New format phone bills will be going out next week. They will put up a web application to determine how much detail customers want, and maybe have the option to not print the bills at all. Communications Services will still do the printing and distribution of phone bills. This service will start where printing is the default that one may opt out of. The detail options are: print billing information for one person per page, or for multiple people per page, or just a billing summary.

OIT (Kevin Schmidt): The core router evaluation is almost complete, and the next step is a purchase order. The change in core routers will necessitate a change for the wireless network. Kevin is part of a system-wide discussion regarding how to address the new requirements for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA).

Instructional Development (Sean Bennett): They are scrambling to get ready for the new quarter.

IS&C (Jamie Sonsini): Jamie is preparing budgets for rates. He's relaying project updates to the North Hall Tenants Association. He has found that the expense for Oracle Calendar support has gone up. UCSB is two complete versions off Oracle's main product. People are now asking about features that will never be available in this version. We are starting to see the end of the road for this software.

WSG (Hank Ratzesberger): The WSG elected Ann Dundon to be their new co-chair for the next two years, replacing Guylene Gadal, who completed her two-year term. Hank will continue as co-chair for another year.

UCOP continues to work on an accessibility initiative. Mark Grosch is our campus representative. The WSG is trying to work with him for one of their upcoming workshops. They are looking at holding a Web accessibility workshop, as well as brown bag sessions on content management systems, with help from the drupal users group.

CIO Report – Tom Putnam

Bill Doering and the GGS have done interesting things with their classrooms in their new building.

North Hall Data Center: An asbestos abatement project is scheduled to start next week. The Data Center upgrade project is scheduled to go out to bid next week. This project is now 6 months behind schedule, so it won’t be done until Summer 2011 at the earliest.

Our administration is assembling a list of the effects of budget reductions for the last 2-7 years in order to show big pictures that can be shared with legislators. For example, the number of core-funded FTE is down 9.4% or by 300 FTE. The total number of faculty and staff is down 216. This call is currently with deans and control points to contribute big picture items. Please pass along to your control point, what has been the effect on what you're doing. It was asked whether there has been a ratio change of faculty to support staff. The answer for L&S is that the number of faculty supported by IT staff has slightly declined.

EISPG: They had an interesting meeting trying to figure out what can be done about the aging mainframe-based systems. They discussed the current Financial and Student Information systems, and the other things that feed into them, e.g., BARC. The status is that everyone knows there's a problem, but nobody knows what to do about it, like re-prioritizing campus funding goals. Their meetings reflect a campus-wide frustration.

A request was made at the last ITB meeting for operational funding for the Identity Management System. The ITB agreed to provide interim funding for it, and the long-term plan is to fund it along with network operations and connectivity via an FTE fee. ITB approval doesn't mean that the funding has been allocated. The CIO expects it still needs to go to a Chancellor committee.

CNSI has submitted a proposal to replace their existing Dell cluster with a new cluster to be used by any researcher on campus. All news is positive. Paul Weakliem can't support all potential users, so he needs to look at models where some of the local department folks can provide support for their own faculty on machines supported by CNSI.

CISO Report – Karl Heins

Our IS-3 assessment has been submitted to UCOP. The UC President has written to the Chancellors asking the campuses to look at how they are using SSNs. This means another assessment is on the horizon, but he wants to build on the previous assessment rather than re-do it. [Note: A copy of the IS-3 assessment is available by contacting Karl Heins.]

Security training is now available. There are a couple of departments lined up to do test the new tutorial. It is available online through the UCSB Learning Center. Feedback is welcome.

Andrew Bowers has identified a scanning tool to work on desktops, and he has written a description of how to use the scanning tool. This effort is currently in beta test mode. Please use the survey to help improve instructions for using the spider tool. Andrew is willing to do a shoulder surf to see how improve the instructions. Once the beta test mode is complete, a note should be sent to ITPG and CSF.

Steve Miley commented that they had a lab with servers that crashed every weekend. Upon further investigation they found that the servers had an old version of FLEXlm that was bound to an old process, and OIT security scanning caused the crashes. Our scans are randomized. If you think this is happening to a system of yours, Todd can check his logs to see if a crash due to a scan.

Subcommittee Reports

Backbone Engineering Group (BEG)

There have been two meetings since the last ITPG meeting. At the first, Kevin provided information on the evaluation of the new core routers, and the BEG gave their approval of the OIT plan. At the second, the BEG finalized the draft of the Communication Infrastructure Standards. Please review your areas of interest. We hope to get approval to pass it on to the ITB and also to hire the consultant to convert it to a format that can be used in bid documents. We hope this will be endorsed at the next ITPG meeting.

Security Working Group (SEC-WG)

As mentioned earlier, there was discussion of data scanning tools. There was also a discussion of the security impacts of the core router replacements, e.g., how ACLs will change. DNS was a major topic of discussion, with the plan to regroom all DNS servers to implement additional security. The next meeting is 3/25 in Broida 3302 at 10:00. (NB: Beginning in April the meetings will occur on the last Wednesday of the month.)

Web Standards and Content Working Group (WSG)

Update was provided during member announcements.

ITPG Communications

New content has been added to the site. We encourage those with Departments, Services, Groups or Projects to fill out a web request form so that their item can be included. At the last ITPG meeting Kirk mentioned the idea of providing a project archive. You can see an example of how we implemented this for the Intra-Building Wiring Projects.

New hardware for the site has been ordered, and once it.ucsb.edu has been moved over, there will be a push to get more content before the official site launch.

Identity Management Subcommittee (IdM)

The group met and facilitated the identification of a number of issues, which will provide the basis for the group to look at these issues and move forward. The results will be set out via Powerpoint to the committee. (NB: The next scheduled meetings are: 3/31, 4/21, 5/26, 6/23, 7/21, and 8/25, all in SAASB 2201A, 2-3:00pm.)

Calendaring Interoperability Workgroup

The group met last month. Their first interoperability meeting focused on how people using different systems could expose information about their calendar to others. The various systems represented were: Oracle Calendar/CorporateTime (Jamie Sonsini, David Alix, Ann Nomura, Sandy Benson, Bruce Miller), Ical (Fuzzy Rogers), Google Calendar (Noah Spahn), Exchange (Chuck Haines and Kip Bates). Their second interoperability meeting will focus on how to exchange invitations, e.g., how does it look on the recipient side.

ITLC E-Mail Outsourcing Project Workgroup

This group hasn't met in past month.

Other

It was reported that Joe Sabado (Student Affairs) is exploring applications running on mobile devices. They are seeing increased access from those platforms based on Web statistics. They would like to set up a meeting to discuss where the campus is regarding mobile application development. It would be helpful to share what's underway, what's been asked for, what are the issues, technical policy, and how to move together in a collaborative manner. This effort may become a subcommittee.

Liaison Reports

Information Technology Board (ITB)
Bruce Miller

Highlights covered in CIO Report above.

Academic Technology Planning Group (ATPG)
Alan Moses

Their next meeting is scheduled for 3/25. Currently GauchoSpace is the only known agenda item. There may also be a request to pass the hat for collaboration tools documentation.

Enterprise Information Systems Planning Group (EISPG)
Deborah Scott
http://it.ucsb.edu/groups/eispg

It was reported via email that a team of 7-12 members of the campus community will be traveling to UC Merced next week to take an initial look at how the UCLA system works for Merced, and to discuss directions that UC Merced may see. We will also be taking a side trip to UC Davis to receive an update on their progress with the Kuali Financial System.

Cyber Infrastructure

Management of the North Hall Data Center project is continuing. The North Hall Data Center Governance Committee has not yet been formed; they are still looking for faculty to join

Action Items

None.

Discussion Items

Voice over IP (VoIP) at UCSB – Bruce Miller, Glenn Schiferl, Ted Cabeen

Bruce Miller provided the background on telephone technology, what's going on around campus, and the big picture issue items from Communications Services perspectives. Highlights from his Overview of VoIP at UCSB presentation (pptx) follow.

  • A trunk line is a shared facility between telephone systems, and it allows a large number of phones to communicate over a small number of resources. There are 24 separate time-slots available on a trunk line, and one is usually reserved for signaling. So each trunk line can support 23 simultaneous phone calls.
  • The campus underground wiring plant was installed in the 60's to support the old military barracks and for instructional TV. Most of the earlier cabling was above ground. The first fiber was installed in the early 8'’s to provide Token Ring service to the Library.
  • Unlike other campuses, UCSB did not centrally provide (or charge for) telephone instruments, and there is no campus standard for telephone instruments.
  • If an 893-telephone instrument dials 911 or 9-911 the same thing happens, the call is originally routed to Verizon, who then routes it to the UCSB PSAP.
  • Packet-switched VoIP technology can be more resilient than circuit-switched POTS, for example over radio, although quality may suffer.
  • KITP, Physics and Chemistry are using VoIP over their department network to a department VoIP gateway that is connected via trunk lines to the UCSB PBX for access to the PSTN. UCSB uses Qwest for toll calls and Verizon for local calls.
  • If one uses a VoIP service like Vonage or Magic Jack, one must get a new telephone number, i.e., a non-893 number.
  • What does the future hold? It could consist of people having powerful tools to use when they are sitting at their desktosps, and cell phones when they aren't.
  • Communications Services hasn't determined whether the true costs of VoIP are really cheaper, and our distributed local area network support model would make it difficult to support a centralized telephone service to the desktop.

Comments from this presentation include the following.

  • Today when one tries to reach faculty on the phone and their phones are disconnected, it makes it very difficult to accomplish work.
  • There was a question about whether Communications Services plans to make any rate changes. The answer was that all rates would be revisited this year during their budget process. The $24/month/trunk line channel and the $1.68/month/893-telephone number rate that were currently being paid by departments using the department VoIP gateway to the UCSB PBX model are definitely going to be re-evaluated. At a later point in the meeting it was noted that there was no predisposition to raise rates.

Glenn Schiferl discussed how and why Physics has been using VoIP, and the issues they discovered. (Ted Cabeen also chimed in with his experiences doing this in Chemistry). Highlights from Glenn's Physics Implementation of VoIP presentation (pptx) follow.

  • Jennifer Mehl was on the VoIP line from Santa Maria to answer any additional questions.
  • Physics had a potentially unique opportunity to pursue this option, since they had recharge carry forward funds that needed to be spent, and being an early adopter of the service they benefitted from potentially lower rates. They spent $120/each for telephone instruments. He has a two-year window to recoup their costs.
  • They have 140 instruments and 12 trunk lines. The maximum number of simultaneous connections they have seen is ten. (Chemistry has seen eight for their installation.) They have one trunk line reserved for outbound 911 calls, and they also have three analog lines as backup and for testing purposes.
  • Customers need to adjust their expectations from five nines (99.999%) availability for POTS, to the reality of three nines for the Physics VoIP system. (They are working toward four nines.) Their users expect that the mail service needs to be up more. They have provisioned equipment to provide two hours of uptime during a power outage. Chemistry found that 40% of their users had cordless handsets that would't work during a power outage anyway.
  • Physics wanted to invest in developing this expertise in their staff, and that cost has only partially been factored into the cost of this service. To replace their current expertise, it would take someone with no VoIP experience six months to develop the required expertise.
  • The Physics faculty wanted to maintain their DID 893-telephone numbers, but if the cost to do so rose too much, they would be willing to give them up.
  • When you run a VoIP service like this, you are becoming a phone company, and there are specific laws that must be adhered to if you are a phone company.
  • Communications Services has been a partner in Physics efforts.
  • Troubleshooting VoIP is nothing like troubleshooting computers, it is much more difficult.

Comments from this presentation include the following.

  • It would be a tragic mistake if Communications Services didn't offer a viable solution for the campus, forcing departments to run their own telephone services. It is wasteful to have all the email systems that we have, but there hasn't been a central email service, so departments had to do their own.
  • Communications Services always tries to engage their customers in big decisions. Currently there is an internal brainstorming effort underway to look at the options. Communications Services was formed in 1983 to manage the recently deregulated telephone service, they can fold if their services are no longer needed.
  • It was observed that the departments who have implemented these VoIP systems haven't done things behind a wall. Instead they've been open, and there's the expectation that they would sit down at the table to collaborate on future discussions.
  • There was a question about whether the main driver for going with a VoIP system was cost or features. The answer, for both Physics and Chemistry, was cost. However, Glenn noted that the 15 faculty who had soft phones were really appreciating the features. Since there is infrastructure being funded by the telephone line charge and the data network surcharge, these items may become funded by another mechanism (e.g., the FTE fee). For Physics, they were able to cut their monthly phone costs from $3,000 to $2,000 a month, and half of that stays in house to amortize the equipment costs. It was noted that many departments were going this route, because they had no money. The result may be a reduced level of service for the campus.
  • Computer Science was looking to move to VoIP, but they didn't have the economies of scale to make it worthwhile, so instead they went from 65 telephones to 15, resulting in annual savings of $12-15K/year. Now the College of Engineering is looking at moving to VoIP, and at that size, and at the current rates, it may make economic sense.
  • There was a question about whether any departments had seen a migration to cellular phones. Student Affairs said they cut 2/3 of their telephone lines for staff who were already using university-paid cell phones.
  • Campus telephone lines have been cut by 12% for the year, at a rate of 2% per month. Communications Services has been working with departments to judiciously pull out phones, e.g., to identify the phones that aren't being used. They also encourage them to put the lines on temporary disconnect to reserve the number first (there is a $1.68/month charge).
  • If we look at this issue from a University perspective, rather than a departmental savings perspective, then what we need is less expensive communications costs, which could mean providing a different level of service. It was noted that there were items needed regardless of the level of service, e.g., 911 emergency phones, and infrastructure.
  • In response to the question of what other campuses charge: Other campuses do different things; their particular rate models and what is provided differs a fair bit among campuses.
  • There is a lot of overhead in a recharge billing system; a flat fee would be easier. There is a lot of effort to provide flexibility. However, if you bundle all your services, there will be someone who doesn't want to pay for all of it.
  • There is an opportunity to do something different. The switch is paid off. We are actively thinking about what the future looks like. Maybe it's mobile devices, not fixed phones; however, fixed phones would still exist. Maybe it's the convergence of WiFi and cellular. (Physics doesn't want wireless RF in the building because it could impact experiments.)