LSAIT Monthly Status - January 2013


Jan 15, 2013

Happy New Year!  Below is this month's status report for significant projects which LSAIT is leading or participating in, as well as reminders of services available via LSAIT.  Feedback and questions are always welcome.

New 1PB of data storage - The single greatest request IT has had over the past few months is for large volume of storage for increasingly big data used by faculty.  Responding to that need, we are pleased to announce LSA will be centrally funding 1 petabyte (PB) of replicated storage in collaboration with ITS.  We are committing to providing 2TB of storage per faculty member, with opportunities to transition larger amounts of current local storage to this new offering, as well as purchase additional storage.  We are still working through details.  Look for more information soon.  In the meantime, if you have immediate storage needs this solution can address, please contact us.  How big is a petabyte of storage?  That’s 1,000,000 gigabytes (GB), or roughly 15.4 billion research articles, 13.3 years of high-definition video, or the equivalent of 20 million four-drawer filing cabinets full of text.  That’s a lot of data! (Contact: Marissa Green, David Sweetman)

Flux 101 - Here's an opportunity for Flux cluster users and potential users to learn more about the Flux computing cluster, creating and submitting jobs, understanding the available tools, and avoiding common pitfalls.  This will be a hands-on experience, in which you will log in to the cluster and work with jobs.  Basic Linux command-line skills are prerequisite, as the Flux cluster is implemented on Linux.  The class will be offered Wednesday, January 23, from 1 - 5 PM in Room B745 East Hall.  Full details at http://unix.lsa.umich.edu/HPC101/ .  Course registration link at https://www.engin.umich.edu/form/hpc101_20130123. (Contact: Charles Antonelli)

LSA IT Contact Information - Wondering how to contact the various teams within LSA IT? Wonder no more.  The email addresses listed below will reach our respective service queues and you will receive a response within 4 business hours. As always, if you are unsure who to contact or need immediate assistance, please call our helpdesk at 936-3279 or your department’s advocate, if applicable.  

Advocacy and Research Support - lsait-ars@umich.edu
Computer Support Group (desktop support) - lsa-csg@umich.edu
Infrastructure Support - lsait-infrastructure@umich.edu

PC Helps - Do you have a complicated question on how to use a piece of software?  Help is available!  LSA continues our contract with PC Helps, a third-party vendor specializing in 24x7 detailed assistance for over a hundred applications including titles from Microsoft, Google, Adobe, Apple, and more.  To access this resource, simply call our Helpdesk (936-3279) and select option 2.  While this service is available without direct cost to LSA faculty and staff, it costs LSA per minute of use, so please be sure to have a well-defined question ready when you call to help keep the service affordable to us. (Contact: Greg Beyer)

Tech tip emails - Today we started twice-monthly tech tips emails.  Each email contains 5 quick and simple tips designed to help you more fully leverage our IT environment.  To receive these emails, simply add yourself to the lsa.it.interest@umich.edu email group (you can do so at mcommunity.umich.edu).  Please let us know if you have ideas for topics you’d like to see included in future emails.  For those of you who received today’s email, know that in the future we do not plan to send both this update and tech tips on the same day (Contact: Eric Pinaud, David Sweetman).

IT in LSA vision and strategy - IT leadership from across LSA continues work on our IT vision and associated strategy.  After identifying key strategy areas to focus on, we have now turned our attention to developing detailed plans surrounding each of those areas.Over the past month, we have identified and prioritized key strategic areas to focus on to further increase the value of IT in LSA.  This month’s focus has included culture, IT governance and prioritization, cohesive catalog of IT services, and rationale user contact interfaces. (Contact: David Sweetman)

IT Advocacy visioning - A major change in LSA IT has been the creation of advocacy roles specifically designed to enable us to more effectively partner with departments, understand needs, and navigate the UM IT ecosystem to best provide for those needs.  So far the group of initial departments include Political Science, History, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Anthropology, Economics, and Linguistics.  Throughout January and February we will present to faculty and administrators in those departments about the Advocacy role and launch the program  (Contact: Erin Dietrich).

MiWorkspace - Following on the recent MiWorkspace updates we have been providing in this monthly email, a big question we have been asked is timeline of this new desktop environment support service.  To date, roughly over 1,200 administrative staff have transitioned, with many more planned between now and summer.  This summer we plan to begin early pilot of MiWorkspace and complete rollout in LSA by the end of calendar year 2014.  If you have thoughts regarding a representative sampling of LSA to include in the pilot, please let us know (Contacts: Greg Beyer, Eric Pinaud, David Sweetman).

Server Room Consolidation - We have continued migrating servers to the ITS cloud server offering, MiServer. We are still defining the project in detail by completing a thorough server inventory, prioritizing the list of server moves, and scheduling appropriate resources and maintenance periods. We continue to work with LSA Facilities to finalize an analysis of energy costs of our existing server rooms/closets. (Contact: Marissa Green)

Wireless antenna upgrade –  The last remaining upgrade is the Angell Hall complex of buildings and completion is still targeted by the end of this month.  (Contact: Marissa Green)

Red Hat Satellite Server – We continue to work to migrate the Satellite Server, our Linux software repository and management system, from standalone LSA hardware to ITS MiServer cloud service. We will complete the move by the end of February. (Contacts: Karen Pachla, David Rhey, Marissa Green)