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ITPG Meeting Notes: 2011-03-17

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Attendees (23):

Michelle Adderley, Arlene Allen, Ted Cabeen, Michael Colee, Saturnino Doctor, Ann Dundon, Karl Heins, Tom Howard, Richard Kip, Dan Lloyd, Elise Meyer, Steve Miley, Bruce Miller, Tom Putnam, Andy Satomi, Glenn Schiferl, Henry Shatavsky, Jason Simpson, Chris Sneathen, Jamie Sonsini, Heidi Straub, Paul Weakliem, and Jim Woods

Administrative Items

  1. The 2/17/2011 ITPG Meeting Notes don't really need formal approval, but they do make interesting reading.
  2. We need to form nominating committee to help select candidates for the next ITPG vice-chair.  Please contact Richard if you are interested in serving.
  3. We will review the ITPG charter at our April meeting.
  4. Please review last year's annual report and forward topics that should be included for this year.

Informational Items

CIO Report - Tom Putnam

Student Affairs is in the process of converting their old Adabas & Natural code to Microsoft SQL Server & .net.  They have a good team that is eager to go.  Their team has capacity to deal with this.

The Financial Information System Implementation Project is in the final stages of detailed planning and budget estimates.  The 1st draft report should be done next Thursday.  It will be presented to the Chancellor's Committee on Budget Strategy and the Chancellor to seek approval on 4/11/11 with a subsequent meeting plan.  The plan is for us to use UCLA's e-procurement and financial system.  This includes the General Ledger and Procurement, but not PPS. 

Question: Some have heard that there wouldn't be a need for GUS moving forward, which supports research tracking.  Answer: No - GUS would continue to function.  GUS has feeds that go to/from the General Ledger, so those feeds would need to change.

Question: Is UCLA moving away from the system that we are embracing?  Answer: UCLA is evaluating what to do next (The New System).  We don't know whether that will be incremental changes, or a brand new system, or put SOA wrappers around system, and adding features, or online interfaces.  We don't know the outcome of the study.  The question is whether we'll have to convert and then convert again.  We have commitment from UCLA that they will run our instance for 7 years after we move to it.  Also UCOP folks are intent on moving UC system to single shared systems, e.g., Payroll, HRIS, and maybe finance.  Maybe RFP, maybe Kuali.  Better to team up with UCLA then stay on our own.  UCLA is also used by Merced and UCOP.  Plans to move to their next generation system should be part of our roadmap, and we should have someone sit at table for their next system review.  We are invited to the table, but so was Merced, but they didn't have someone to send. Does UCSB want to provide a supported shadow system?  Is the goal to eliminate shadow systems?  That would be a goal, UCLA does use shadow systems (of course).  Can't get away from them. For example, at A&M had one code for counting computer purchases, but IT needed separate codes for paper, toner, etc.  Reasons like that exist and they are different all over campus. 

The North Hall Data Center is chugging forward.  Service providers are getting ready to move their systems from the west end to the east end sometime during April 4-18.

Is there any information about expected cuts?  We don't have much.  We're expected to have $50M less than this year.  There are adjustments that lead to a number of $12M.  This assumes tax extensions are passed.  There is already scheduled to be an 8% fee increase this fall.  UC has said that there will be no additional fee increases if the tax increase goes through.  If it doesn't then UC share goes from $500M to $1B.  If no tax increase, then all bets are off.

Met with Gene and Steering Committee regarding the Operational Effectiveness Initiative.  IT has a plan compared to the other groups.  Collaboration suite, update telephone system and provide segue into VoIP, and thinking about outsourcing Student Email, which relies on completion of the UC Trust work.  iTOE needs to get back together to discuss organizational proposal.

CISO Report - Karl Heins

The renewal of research contracts involving PII now includes more emphasis on security.  We need to make our security process available.  UC requires certain controls to be in place. The Office of Research receives a contract, asks whether there is a CISO, and/or is there someone local.   There may need to sign that they understand their responsibilities.  They'll be asked for controls and they may be audited.  Greater responsibilities on researchers and system administrators.  Some data sets require the system to be placed off the network.  Please let Karl know so that we can make sure that we have all the pieces in place.  There have been researchers that have been refused data, because we weren't willing to implement all the requirements.

The bad guys are still out there.  We've had a couple of incidents now and then.  Caution everyone who has responsibilities to remain diligent and be aware, contact Karl if you have any questions.  Act as soon as possible, our window for forensics is short.

He's working on security of the UCLA FIS system.  Both their Identification and Authorization parallels us.  Our DSAs will continue and may have more responsibilities.  Concepts and structure are similar, although the technology is different.  Key will be UC Trust or Shibboleth.  Contact Henry or Karl with questions.

UC systemwide payroll project:  6 RFP responses have been received, including local, hosted and cloud solutions.  Ratings are due by the end of next week.  If the cloud solution is selected, the vendor will maintain the entire thing online.  We'll just get a monthly bill.  We'll become experts in Service Level Agreements rather than System Administration.  The Payroll work group is looking at standardization and centralization.  How much can the University do, and what makes sense in future environment.  The direction should be defined by the end of May.  That will be incorporated in the process re-engineering and implementation.  Don't know who early adopters will be, but likely that one will be UCLA, so we may be swept along with that. 

Subcommittee Reports

Backbone Engineering Group (BEG) - Glenn Schiferl

We met and talked about VoIP and basic capabilities and the telephone switch update.  We want to make sure that it is compatible with existing installations.  We need to schedule our next meeting.

Security Working Group (SEC-WG) – Kevin Schmidt/Karl Heins

They met and Kevin covered network security issues.

Web Standards and Content Working Group (WSG) - Ann Dundon

Hank Ratzesberger completed his 2 year term as WSG co-chair.  Heidi Straub is the new co-chair.  Last Monday 5 people attended a useful web accessiblity training at UCSD, sponsored by a UCOP committee.  It was run by Web AIM.  The Mobile Web Brown Bag is on 3/23 and is being given by Joe Sabado and Justin Mead.  They will be discussing how to adapt or build a website to deliver content to mobile devices.  They will be using UCLA's mobile framework.  Registration is required.  The WSG Using Social Media workshop will be April 25th.  It will have a broader focus. 

Stephen Lau, UCOP Policy Directory at IR&C, thought our Web accessibility web pages are ahead of the rest of UC.  UC policy efforts will use a lot of our stuff.

ITPG Communications - Ann Dundon

On the topic of IT Training we are focusing on IT professional development.  We want to get information on current IT training going on around campus, to find out what's out there and what are the challenges.  How many are doing training within their organization.  Karl noted that we should keep in mind that training is a huge area for the new FIS, both for DSAs and endusers.  The tradition is that endusers need training before they can use the FIS.  HR & EH&S provide some training.  CNSI hired staff member who needed basic computer training but there wasn't anything available for them.

The way training is provided by both the Drupal Users Group and the WSG is via peer-to-peer training.  Is there a way to bring classes to UCSB for .net?  Harry uses Safari Books Online but there are less over time.  Do we have a current license?  It may have lapsed.  What are other campuses doing for training and professional development?  We should look at Davis and San Diego, since they have a stronger in house program.  They collective study on it, and then do a practicum.  Steve ran summer sessions, and we discussed continuing something like that.  But the hardest part is wrangling volunteer presenters.  We should talk to Extension.  Studies have shown that 10 days after a training session there is only 30% retention of the material.  So student must be allowed the time to practice what they just learned.  Need follow through.

Identity Management Subcommittee (IdM) - Matthew Dunham/Karl Heins

They didn't meet, but the project is moving forward.  They are looking to activate that group, with a possible meeting in 4 weeks.  The system is up and in test mode.  It is very close.  The conversion will be sometime in June.  It's time to talk with people about how to use it.  The next milestone will be to have a public LDAP that people can point to and test.  This is not production for purposes of code testing.  Steve has 7 different LDAP authorized systems, so he needs to know how he should use it sooner rather than later.

Campus Calendaring Workgroup - Jamie Sonsini

Doug Drury has now joined the group.  Issues with outsourcing will be folded into their product evaluation.  They have formed a workgroup to investigate Microsoft Exchange interoperability, who talked with ? and got good information.  They are looking at Google Apps (outsourced), Microsoft Exchange (locally), Microsoft-hosted Exchange, Sharepoint, Links (360), and Zimbra (local).  Their evaluation criteria is now completed (and it includes spam filtering).  This should produce sets of paragraphs for each product.  The product evaluation should include a basic understand of the product and what are the important issues, e.g., backup.  They have formed 4 groups to begin evaluations.  They've made lots of progress for only 6 months of existence.  They started by looking just at an Oracle Calendar (CorporateTime) replacement, and then they realized that they needed to involve email, and then iTOE asked them to expand their effort to include Collaboration.  When they are done, we'll still need to understand how people can just use calendaring.  Evaluation results should become available to this group.  Richard Kip is participating virtually.

Liaison Reports

Information Technology Board (ITB) – Jim Woods

The ITB is meeting tomorrow.

IT Infrastructure Funding Committee - Tom Putnam

The group reached some consensus on an FTE fee.  So now we know what is in the denominator.  Will we see charges to our accounts?  We will use payroll runs to allocate expenses.  One of the questions will be whether the cost is allocated at the department level or at the control point level.  There will be shifts in cost, for example the Writing Program has few IP addresses or phones, but many FTE.  In some cases the differences are small amounts of money but when you have none, any change is a big deal.  There will be cost increases to RUAC & DNS.  Do we put phones in there?  The OE Collaboration suite solution could be included.  The current scope is defined as what we're doing plus IdM.  There is discussion of forming a governance structure – who should be on that committee?  There is sensitivity to not form an entrenched central organization selling buggy whips.  There was early discussion of making this a direct charge to Contracts & Grants, but the current direction would charge indirect return.  We want to set a baseline so that services beyond that can be directly charged.

IT & Communications Operating Effectiveness Working Group - Tom Putnam

A note was sent out to CSF to let people know about their efforts.  Since the 2/14 OE Report Out – some of the things coming out of the other groups have IT implications.  For example, ticketing impacts Student Affairs.

Enterprise Information Systems Planning Group (EISPG)

At their last meeting they are still developing what the EISPG wants to do: are they a planning group or an information sharing group.  Lubo proposed that they do more strategic planning and develop a vision.  This wasn't well received.  Their conversation will continue.

Academic Technology Planning Group (ATPG) - Alan Moses

Research CyberInfrastructure - Arlene Allen

The North Hall Finance Group (NHFG) will pre-empt the CyberInfrastructure group regarding the North Hall Data Center.  The NHFG consensus is that we should do some general university funding for basic services in the room, to not provide decentitives to using NHDC.  They are talking about allocation at the Control Point level to pay for base services.  Base Services would be a standard rack without cooling, rack space, floor space, 8-5 staff person.  You would still have to pay something to connect up power and networking.  Someone needs to do network design and get compensated for that.  How do high level allocation of funds.  Their next meeting is 4/8.  Everybody gets to participate in the funding and use of the facility.  The project starting point looked at research systems vs non-research systems.  Funding for research would come out of indirect overhead, i.e., they've already paid, so they might as well use it.  There should be 30-35 racks to support business functions.  There is room for a total of 110 racks.  When buying something new, that would be the time to consider moving to North Hall. 

What are the best practices regarding Disaster Recovery (DR) backups?  Do we need offsite backups?  We don't have policy or guidelines.  A general management audit is ususally the vehicle to resolve these questions.  How far offsite is offsite?  It's subjective through audits.  Auditor expects you to define your target objectives and approach.  It would not be a bad idea if people put something together.  How long can you live without that data?  Would the group benefit from developing a DR guidelines?  UC Ready provides a good framework to itemize impacts.  EH&S expects every department to be in UC Ready by 2014.  Look at industry standards.  If localized disaster, store backups in hardened backup facility or far enough away to be out of localized disaster.  UCOP is storing data at UCSD.  Is it critical.  Warn against bank or home.  Banks won't be open during a disaster.  And it is embarrassing to ask survivors for data stored at home.  Is anyone interested in starting a best practices?  Major work is identification of business processes and outcomes.  What are tools available to us.  Implementation of mitigations.  The emphasis this year is on academic departments, and last year the focus was on administrative departments.  Look at the department, the department asks the IT person to fill in the IT information.  Karl would be happy to help.

Project Reports - a brief report or location where projects will be located

Financial Information System (FiS) - Doug Drury

Student Information System (SiS) - Lubo Bojilov

Collaborate - Alan Moses

Discussion Items 

Member Announcements

Instructional Computing (Steve Miley): Gaucho Space now features a Photo Of The Day.  There have been 600+ student submissions.

Communications Services (Bruce Miller): Here's a highlight of some of the telephone switch issues presented at the BEG meeting:
- The telephone switch processors and software are no longer supported by the vendor.  (pentium pro 200s)
- There is a large installed base of analog phones that is not going to be replaced soon (+300 emergency phones)
- Updating the switch provides the capabilities to do VoIP, since the CPU update leads to IP networking within the switch.
- We do not expect existing functionality will be impacted.

CNSI (Paul Weakliem): The new research cluster is due in 2 weeks.  It will consist of 100 intel dehaliums and a couple of 12 gpu nodes and a couple of nodes with half a terabyte of memory.  He's working with Stefan to move bigger jobs to UCSD or Teragrid.  People are publishing papers referencing the system.  The Dell cluster resulted in 130-150 papers.