Computing Service. Annual Report

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1 Computing Service Annual Report University of Cambridge Computing Service New Museums Site Pembroke Street Cambridge CB2 3QH 2012

2 Contents Contents 1. Executive summary 2. Introduction 3. Networks 4. User Services 5. Online Services 6. Directorate 7. Personnel 8. Professional activities Statistical appendix Contact University of Cambridge Computing Service New Museums Site Pembroke Street Cambridge CB2 3QH 2012 Director: Dr I.J. Lewis Phone: Fax: Service Desk: or

3 1. Executive summary Review The primary mission of the University Computing Service (UCS) is to maximise the productivity of teaching and research in the Collegiate University, and the services provided have continued to evolve to support this. The academic year required careful monitoring of our financial position, as announced budget cuts took effect and the forward planning guidelines required considerable belttightening. In part through a modest reduction in staffing levels and also through the successful delivery of charged-for incremental services, the financial position of the UCS remains sound. The year saw the introduction and enthusiastic adoption of the Falcon web contentmanagement service, initially under the aegis of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research in support of strategic cross-discipline research initiatives and rapidly expanding to general purpose use in departments. With a comprehensive library of templated page layouts adhering to the University style, the platform provides both efficiency benefits and also promotes the Vice- Chancellor s initiative for greater coherence in the University s external web presence. As with all programmes that have enjoyed success in Cambridge, the service provides the minimum constraints on any group adopting and adapting the service for their use while retaining the benefit of common central support. The University Training Booking System, delivered initially in the prior academic year, has gone from strength to strength during The design of the service, which assumes the engagement of a heterogeneous collection of training service providers across the University and allows them a high degree of control over their content and bookings, has proved particularly successful. With a dozen training providers using the system by the end of the academic year, for the first time it is possible to take a holistic view of the transferrable skills investment the University is making. Also in support of teaching and learning, the demand on UCS support for the Examinations under special conditions continues to grow, involving a rotating pool of 40 UCS staff for an intense period in May and June. Towards the end of the academic year, support for the CamGrid computing environment was transferred from the Department of Physics to the UCS. The transition was completed successfully with the service located adjacent to cognate disciplines within the UCS strengthening the support for the infrastructure. With the agreement of the researchers using the platform, the plan is to move forward with a cost-recovery model that will provide a secure financial base for the service. Collegiate Cambridge forms an exceptional networked community. Investment and maintenance of the e-infrastructure continued at a rapid pace throughout the academic year, with over 5km of additional routes for the optical fibre network being added, typically in sections of a few hundred metres. The Cambridge University Data Network continues to evolve and grow, with a substantial increase in the number of diverse routes provided during the year. The University s network infrastructure support for an essential new Internet Protocol (IPv6) was successfully tested during a globally agreed trial period. Hacking attempts on the University network resources remain in the thousands per year, and it is pleasing to report that an externallymanaged audit rated highly the University s response to the cyber security threat. 1

4 2. Introduction During the reporting period the University Computing Service (UCS) underwent an internal reorganisation as part of a proactive response to the challenges presented by evolving requirements and the prevailing economic climate. The overarching aim was to bring cognate groups of staff closer together, both in terms of management structure and office space, in four divisions: Networks, User Services, Online Services and Directorate. 3. Networks The UCS maintains, manages and develops the core information technology infrastructure upon which departments and colleges implicitly depend to conduct teaching research and administration. The UCS is constantly working to improve the functionality, resilience and efficiency of the infrastructure. Granta Backbone Network The Granta Backbone Network (GBN) consists of over 38km of duct network and 83km of multi-core fibre optic cable Review running throughout the city. This asset, which is jointly owned by the Collegiate University, is one of our most valuable infrastructure investments. It allows the cost-effective provision of high speed Cambridge University Data Network (CUDN) connections to the vast majority of University locations without the need for rental of expensive dark fibre from third party vendors. Since 1992, when the design and installation of the GBN was completed, the network has supported an increasing number of services, the most recent addition being the VoIP telephone system. The reliance on the GBN has placed increased emphasis on integrity and resilience, as damage to the network could result in the loss of both data and voice services. There have been many extensions to the GBN this year. The biggest expansion took place on the West Cambridge site where some 3,500m of GBN ducting has been laid in preparation for planned University buildings. Furthermore the GBN was extended into the Management Information Services Division s (MISD) new data centre in the Soulsby Building located in the Department of Veterinary Medicine and a GBN mini node has been installed at Merton Ownership of Granta Backbone Network circuits Ownership of Granta Backbone Network Circuits Ownership of Granta Backbone Network circuits CUDN Colleges Management CUDN Informa3on Services Division Departments Colleges Security Management Informa3on Services Division Other Departments Security Other Chart 1 - Ownership of GBN Circuits 2

5 Review Hall Farmhouse. The new Medical Research Council (MRC) building on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus is nearing completion, with the duct, cabling and node installation all due to be completed by December Major GBN diversions owing to building works at Peterhouse, Queens College and Girton College have all been completed. The GBN Manager has also been working with the colleges to help improve connectivity to some of their off-site student hostels. Extensions have connected The White Cottage at St Edmund s College, houses on Lensfield Road for Pembroke College and on Gresham Road for Gonville and Caius and further along Glisson Road for both Emmanuel College and Gonville and Caius. This work, along with plans for further expansion will greatly improve data connectivity to a significant number of student rooms. One of the major goals for 2010 was the development of a second physical fibre link to New Addenbrookes. This much-needed second link would provide geographically diverse, resilient network routes for the Clinical School, Cambridge University Press, the MRC, Cancer Research UK s Cambridge Research Institute, Homerton College, Botanic Garden and the Faculty of Education. However progress has been delayed by the wayleave application; negotiations are on-going between Estate Management, Addenbrooke s Trust and the National Blood Transfusion Service There are currently 514 issued GBN circuits, compared with 436 last year. The CUDN is by far the biggest user of the GBN and this year it has added a further 45 circuits to complete the Point of Presence (PoP) secondary connections and a reconfiguration of the CUDN backbone. MISD s GBN usage has also seen a significant rise owing to their new data centre coming online earlier this year. Network Installations The Network Installation team manages the underlying physical infrastructure that supports the operation of the CUDN. This includes a variety of activities: maintaining and installing network cabling and equipment together with wireless surveys and wireless deployment. The work is conducted primarily for the University and colleges, however the network extends to various affiliated institutions and external partners where appropriate, such as the MRC Research Institutes on the Addenbrooke s site. Currently, the primary focus is the implementation of new optical fibre backbone and associated cable plant to support the expansion of the CUDN. This work has been ongoing during 2010 and 2011 and is expected to conclude by the end of Furthermore, building on a close working relationship with Estate Management, future CUDN installations and upgrades are being planned, for example on the West Cambridge site providing the supporting network equipment for CCTV and building management systems alongside the needs of the resident departments. External contractors occasionally need the UCS help in locating cable plant and assistance is provided when possible. The University s network infrastructure has evolved over a period of several decades and this brings other challenges associated with changes in building footprints and internal structures that serve to restrict access to legacy network installations. Health and Safety issues associated with asbestos contamination are often a feature of older buildings, which can cause significant access issues and delays to repairs or upgrades. Looking forward into 2012 sees the University s network services in a strong position with enhanced topology and resilience. The Network Installation team are key to this future growth. 3

6 Review Network Systems Network Systems plans, procures and maintains the active network equipment servicing the entire University. This includes the management of distributed core routers and over 200 PoP switches. Increasingly the group is taking on the management of networks traditionally run by department or college IT staff, for example several school offices in Mill Lane. Additionally, this group continues to provide support and advice to computing staff inside and outside of the UCS, a core activity for the team. During the past year, Network Systems has focused on a major re-design of the CUDN to allow for redundant links to all points of presence and redundancy amongst core routers. In the event of the failure or shutdown of any one or more of the core routers, during maintenance for example, service is maintained for all users. In achieving this level of resilience, a substantial programme of work has been undertaken to replace router equipment with updated models thereby improving performance and extend their operational lifetime. The backbone has been reorganised to remove single points of failure, improve traffic flow and introduce more redundancy with the addition of a second core router. The number of routers on the CUDN backbone has increased from 8 to 16. The network feeding the UCS data centres has been separated from the backbone improving resilience and drastically shrinking the areas affected by any single failure. A number of the backbone routers have been relocated to more suitable locations thereby improving access, power and environmental conditions. The new network topology is depicted below. At the moment, approximately 50% of the connections to the CUDN have backup circuits that provide diversity. The majority of the remainder should be completed early in One project that has been completed is the simplification of the routing across the CUDN, reducing the number of VLANs (virtual local area networks) spanning the network from 256 to 58, simplifying administration and providing much more flexibility in service delivery. Furthermore as E0F(GHII&II&IJ(=K,GG( -"#$%["!(!%;/*$!/:#5+<(7'\Y(!"#$%*( 7)*$7E3L(M.37N()+;(4+$%!+%$( %!"#$%!(AIB( ]UH^( %)*$%!+(,-),+%$(!"#$%&%+%$( PQ.3(IRGH( IRG,SK,J,SHTUH( GHHIVWUHVGIHVGHVVTIGW( ]GJ^( ]3^(abYF=GT=U(C"*$( E"#5+<(;"9)/+( 0123(!"#$%!*( 4+*5$#5"+)6(!"#$%!*( 78$%!+)6(!"#$%!*( %,<,(PQ.3(IRHI( IRG,SK,J,KTUH( GHHIVWUHVGIHVIVVTWIGW( %,<,(PQ.3(IRGI( IRG,SK,J,SKTUH( GHHIVWUHVGIHVGIVVTIGW( ]_^( ]J^(!"#$%&C%+$( ]UH^(!"#$%&9/66( ]GH^( 8629(!"#$%!*(AGB( ]IG^( ]G_^( ]J^(!"#$%&+"!$O( Z6$%!( D"6/C>(!"#$%&'(!"#$%&0(!"#$%&'(!"#$%&*C%+$(!"#$%&*9/66( ]WK`^(!"#$%&.,/+*$( =/)(Y"Y( 2>+)9/C)66>&!"#$%;( 4+*5$#5"+( ]WK`^(!"#$%&',/+*$(./012/34567%!"#$%!*(AIIB( 5.6'-'$0%789:%-1)0'-/%&)0%/#('%;<=% 092)92% *?/$COT!"#$%!*(AGB% 2)$)(C%+$!%( Figure 1 - CUDN topology and protocols 4

7 Review noted under Online Services, IPv6 has been implemented and tested across the CUDN in preparation for its future adoption across the Internet. The Lapwing centralised Wifi system, delivering pervasive, protected access to the University Data Network for students, staff and visitors, has grown dramatically and now hosts up to 10,000 distinct users in a single week during peak periods via nearly 800 access points spread across the University and colleges. This service has been adopted by over 100 institutions to date. A victim of its own success, the Lapwing web and authentication systems will be overhauled at the end of 2011 and beginning of This overhaul will bring about a more stable system with new features, including eduroam tickets, full web-authentication capability for ipad and similar mobile devices and improved reporting. The following charts depict the growth and usage patterns of the system since its inception in 2006: % 100 Lapwing Authentication Methods Chart 2 - Dsitribution of Lapwing authentication methods Lapwing - unique users per week Chart 3 - Unique users of Lapwing per week 5

8 Review Telephone Network and Systems Over the past year, the telephone system has been subject to a series of upgrades to introduce new features and retain reliability. These upgrades began in late 2010 with server hardware modifications and progressed throughout the year via a series of software upgrades. By Easter, the central CallManager was running the latest available version of the system. The voic system was also upgraded at the end of 2010 requiring the migration of over 9,800 voic boxes without major incident. The new system has proved to be much more robust and has had very few outages since launch. It s enhanced scripting capabilities have enabled the provision of automated call handling features which users have been requesting since the new telephone system was installed. One of these new services is the College Early Warning System used by the Security Office to provide emergency notifications to college members in a rapid, automated and confirmable fashion. Additionally, multiple greetings can now be enabled for single voic boxes. In June 2011 the web interface for voic , speed dial and phone options was revamped significantly and re-branded as my.phone. This work enhanced the functionality available to institutions and users alike, including improved methods for managing phones and users, as well as providing an easierto-use interface for individual extension holders. There are several new features being investigated in 2011 and 2012, including a trial of a fax-to- service, call logger enhancements, enabling Presentation Number and additional self-service features for my.phone. In addition the UCS along with Cisco & Oxford University, has been investigating an add-on to the phone system called Intercompany Media Engine (IME). IME enables enhanced phone services between the Universities, including support for video phone calls (from suitable handsets) at no additional cost as the calls are routed over the Internet. 4. User Services Desktop Services The Desktop Services team focus on the support and development of the Managed Cluster Service (MCS) which primarily delivers a large number of applications to designated desktop machines (Windows, Macs and Linux) found in open access areas and classrooms throughout the University and colleges to support teaching and research. The MCS also provides centralised data storage, printing and scanning capabilities for all students and staff; during the year some 20,000 users logged in a total of more than 1 million times across the MCS as a whole. Desktop Services applications The programme of installation work arising from requests for new and upgraded Desktop Services applications for the academic year was completed with some 50 application changes made for MCS Windows, 23 for MCS Linux and 36 for MCS Macintoshes. Software required for teaching accounted for nearly two-thirds of requests. The UCS contributed to the MATLAB site licence; MATLAB and 16 of its toolboxes were made available at college clusters. Camtasia was made available on the PCs to support a UCS course; it can also be used to facilitate screen-casting of lectures, which can then be uploaded to the Streaming Media Service and viewed via Apple s itunesu. The list of changes planned to MCS application provision for the next academic year ( ) was published on the UCS web site in May. There were some 43 responses to this year s call for requests published in the Reporter in early February. All but one were cross-platform requests, resulting in 19 for Linux, 23 for Macintosh and 42 for Windows; 15 requests were for new applications, the remainder for upgrades. 6

9 The demonstrator system for improved Windows application delivery (internally named DS-Apps or Applications Anywhere, and intended to support individually owned Windows laptops and PCs, including those of students) has been transferred to new hardware which was procured in June/July with a HEFCE Capital Investment Fund (CIF) grant. Infrastructure support for the application delivery Terminal Servers is being transferred to a new Desktop Services VMware server farm. Mathematica, MATLAB, Filemaker Pro, Office 2007 and Office 2010 were made available using application virtualisation on the demonstrator system for evaluation of the technical issues involved with the Remote Desktop/Terminal Services environment. The remote applications system was tested successfully by a number of staff in other institutions through a working group of the College IT Management Group and by the Departmental IT Managers Group. The system employs Microsoft Remote Desktop Services and a bespoke client providing a simple yet powerful interface to the service to deliver applications to Windows clients. It Review is planned that one element of the Terminal Services farm will support Macintosh and Linux clients. Plans for the running of an initial service for students with Windows systems, focusing on teaching-related applications for a number of departments, are at an early stage. Desktop Services Infrastructure Following a HEFCE CIF funded purchase of servers and VMware licences, a 6-node VMware vsphere cluster was established in November The cluster, with the computing power to run 60 concurrent server-class operating systems, provides a resilient platform on which to host the majority of server technologies needed to support Desktop Services in the future. The existing server-base of some 30 physically separate servers is scheduled to be migrated to this cluster, with new services taking advantage of it immediately. Migration of the MCS DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) service from NetWare to a Linux platform within the VMware cluster has been completed supporting all MCS Propor%on of Managed Cluster Service users by ins%tu%on Propor%on of Managed Cluster Service users by ins%tu%on Colleges Humani.es & Social Colleges Sciences Other General Board Humani.es Insts & Social Scien Physical Sciences Other General Board Insts Arts & Humani.es Physical Sciences Technology Arts & Humani.es Chart 4 - MCS users 7 Clinical Medicine Technology Biological Sciences Clinical Medicine University Miscellaneous Biological Sciences Council Ins.tu.ons University Miscellaneous Affiliated Ins.tu.ons Council Ins.tu.ons Other External Insts Affiliated Ins.tu.ons Other External Insts

10 Review subnets; the cross-cudn VLANs required under previous arrangements have been abolished, helping clear the way for improved CUDN resiliency developments. The resulting infrastructure service, relied upon by MCS imaging and platform powersaving services, is simpler to manage and will improve system resiliency. Occupancy of the Desktop Services filestore for home directories at the end of September was 2.8TB, consisting of some 32 million files. This is an increase of about 350GB since last year. In addition, occupancy of the shared filespaces on the UX volume was about 280GB, in some 1.5 million files. Following evaluation of a number of new storage technologies to replace the existing IBM DS-4800 SAN-based file-store (on which all MCS home directories, shared group file-spaces and personal web pages are stored), procurement of a replacement filestore took place in May utilising HEFCE CIF funding. The new system provides networkattached storage accessed by Common Internet File System (CIFS) as the common communication protocol for MCS clients (Apple, Windows, and Linux). The system is founded on NexentaStor and ZFS running on Supermicro hardware with an initial capacity of 30TB and will provide greatly increased storage capacity (enabling the doubling of the standard user disk quota to 1 GB), ease of administration, reliability, resiliency and improved end-user service with point-in-time snapshots. Desktop Services Managed Printing Service Archaeology, Land Economy, Trinity College and the Mathematics MCS cluster joined the DS-Print Common Balance scheme which enables a user s print credit paid for at any participating MCS site, or through the MCS ecredit system, to be used at other participating sites. Deployment took place of new infrastructure to support all Desktop Services printing services using the VMware server farm and Windows-based print serving with PaperCut for page accounting instead of Novell s NDPS and Pcounter. 8 All institution printers in the DS-Print Common Balance scheme were migrated to the new system together in a single step in mid-january and the other printers (covered by institution-specific charging) were moved progressively thereafter. A webbased delegated management console, permitting institution administrative staff to manage their own environments, was developed to take advantage of the new database-orientated system. Some significant enhancements to PaperCut have been commissioned to provide additional features to support the accounting flexibility required by institutions. Additionally, migration to PaperCut has enabled the integration of photocopying on multifunction devices, which is now in operation as a production service at four institutions under the Managed Print Service. Charging is integrated with the Common Balance and authentication is controlled by swiping a University Card at the copier device. There has been considerable interest in this service with several additional institutions scheduled to participate throughout the Michaelmas term. A number of institutions have adopted the Managed Print Accounting Service for departments and colleges outside the Managed Cluster Service, which was announced in the spring. The service enables users in participating institutions to utilize networked printers from their own machines via the same mechanism that is currently used for MCS printers. A new web-based version of the DS-Print ecredit system was launched, with the advantage that users are no longer restricted to purchasing print credit from an application installed on an MCS workstation but can now do so from a web browser on any computer using a suitably encrypted and secured website. Desktop Services Operating Systems A new MCS Macintosh image including an upgrade to OS X 10.6 and Final Cut Express for video editing was deployed during the year. As part of the UCS rolling replacement programme 28 older Macintoshes in the Balfour Room were replaced with 15 new

11 Review imacs to support teaching. A new instance of MCS Linux was released in October, based on OpenSuSE 11.2 and an updated Windows image was deployed while the PCs in Titan Teaching Room 2 were replaced with new Dell workstations, purchased from HEFCE CIF funds. Developments to prepare for the optional deployment of Windows 7 for Managed Cluster Service PCs are progressing with the core components now ready for testing. Desktop Services Participation dual boot both Windows and Linux; Linux is provided at 11 departments and 18 colleges, as well as in the UCS. Desktop Services Power Saving During the reporting period, the MCS PC power saving service is estimated to have saved 200,678 kwh of power (based on an average PC power consumption of 50W/ Hr) which at a typical 10p per unit gives a monetary saving to the University of 20, institutions, 16 departments and 23 colleges subscribed to the Managed Cluster Service (MCS) for During summer 2010 Hughes Hall joined the while the Clinical School left; the total number of managed stations at the start of October was about 1,730 (a reduction of about 7% on October 2009). Around 1,475 stations (626 in colleges, 715 in departments and 133 at the UCS) are end-user Windows stations and 135 (67 in colleges, 44 in cepartments and 22 at the UCS) are Macs. Of these, some 85 are kiosk-mode stations. About 860 PCs Service Desk Propor%on of support calls by ins%tu%on During the reporting period a twelve month project was initiated to merge the various front-line contact points for the UCS into a focused and rebranded Service Desk located in the Cockcroft building. In September, the reception point for the collection and return of customer s equipment for Hardware Support work was moved from the less accessible Arup Tower to the more user-friendly Cockcroft floor 2. Members of the Help Desk and the Propor%on of support calls by ins%tu%on Colleges Clinical Medicine Colleges Council Ins0tu0ons Clinical Medicine Humani0es & Social Council Sciences Ins0tu0ons Physical Sciences Humani0es & Social Sciences Biological Sciences Physical Sciences Technology Biological Sciences Chart 5 - Service Desk - calls by institution 9 Arts & Humani0es Technology Other General Arts Board & Humani0es Insts Affiliated Ins0tu0ons Other General Board Insts University Miscellaneous Affiliated Ins0tu0ons Other External University Insts Miscellaneous Other External Insts

12 Review Reception teams (incorporating front-line User Administration & Software Sales) have undertaken cross-training in each others areas so that they are collectively able to provide an improved service to users. As usual the combined UCS front-line services were busy during the Michaelmas term providing support and assistance to the user community. Towards the close of Full Term the location of reception for Photographic & Illustration Service (PandIS) work was moved from the first floor of the Old Exams Hall to the more accessible UCS Service Desk, on a trial basis. The success of the trial lead to the relocation of the customer contact point for PandIS to the Service Desk and the arrangement of a new bulk packet handling service with the Royal Mail enabled speedier processing and a reduction in overheads on PandIS Graduation Services photograph distribution following General Admission and other degree ceremonies. From mid-april to mid-june the Service Desk was temporarily re-located to the third floor of the Cockcroft Building while its usual location on the second floor of the same building underwent refurbishment. The refurbished and reconfigured area now provides improved facilities for visitors and has further enabled the development of a counter service for all UCS services in a single location. Videoconferencing The videoconferencing studio underwent extensive refurbishment and now offers High Definition (HD) videoconferencing over IP (H.323) utilising a Tandberg C40 codec, cameras and plasma screen, plus digital visualizer and new computing facilities for web-conferencing. Free registration with the JANET Videoconferencing Service (JVCS) bridge enables us to offer ISDN conferencing, multisite conferences including Windows PC connections, videoconference recording and streaming. The studio was booked some 165 times for a total of 290 hours use during the reporting period, compared to 90 sessions lasting 157 hours in the previous year. The availability 10 of the videoconferencing studio can now be viewed online via a Google calendar. In addition to a portable Tandberg MXP 990 videoconferencing codec, the service also offers a Polycom Roundtable camera for hire for use with web-conferencing solutions. The UCS makes available an audio mixer and a variety of headsets and microphones primarily intended for the creation of production quality screencasts. Desktop videoconferencing interest continues to grow with a steady increase in demand for Skype, Webex and LiveConnect sessions throughout the year. Studio staff have been closely involved in the project to investigate possible University-wide web conferencing solutions; a pilot service based on Adobe Connect is expected soon. Assistive Technology The Assistive Technology Service has extended the range of hardware offered with a variety of new ergonomic input devices including ambidextrous mice. The latest version of voice recognition software Dragon NaturallySpeaking is also available. In conjunction with the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) the Service is now providing a facility for conversion of media between different formats such as audio, text and Braille using EasyConverter software. During the year the Assistive Technology Service organised the University s first Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH) Workplace Assessment professionally certified course. There was a 100% pass rate from the 13 attendees for this externally-presented and verified course, which included UCS and Disability Resource Centre staff and college nurses. Technical User Support During the reporting period the Mac Support, Windows Support and Hardware Support teams were merged into a new team, the Technical User Support group. The remit of the new group is to deal with cross platform queries in the most efficient manner. In September the DS-Repair

13 Review service was launched; a hardware support service aimed at institutions who wish to cover out of warranty desktop computers that are less than six years old against hardware failure. After an assessment of demand and costs it was decided to cease the printer hardware repair service to focus on the primary areas of desktop and laptop support. Following the procurement of a two year contract with McAfee to provide the University with antivirus software, the Technical User Support group has continued to develop the infrastructure used to manage and deploy this essential utility. The group produced the annual Security Disk for distribution to colleges and departments at the start of the academic year and runs University-wide WSUS (Windows Update Server Services) and KMS (Microsoft Key Management Service) servers. The WSUS platform has been upgraded to Server 2008 and moved to new hardware; this service continues to provide Microsoft updates to systems across the University. A McAfee epolicy Orchestrator (epo) hosted service has been made available on a trial basis. The service allows institutions to manage the security of their desktop computers (Windows, Mac and Linux) using a range of third party applications and utilities. The team has developed and run a new Mac OS X Security course and put on an extra Windows Active Directory course owing to demand. On-going specialist technical support has been provided to numerous institutions with increasing demand for help with integrating the UCS provisioned Google calendar solution into existing environments. The Institution Support Service has continued to provide contract support to several institutions including taking over the management of the Gonville and Caius College network from 1st September. The service has also assisted with the installation and configuration of IT systems at the Agronomy Centre. 11 Art & Humanities Computing Since arts and humanities computing support was transferred back into the main UCS with the closure of the Literary and Linguistic Computing Centre (LLCC) in 2010, the main focus has been supporting users of reference management software. Demand for this continues to grow and another reference management program Mendeley was added to the Managed Cluster Service in summer Three introductory EndNote desktop courses, two introductory Zotero courses and one each of EndNote Web and customisation of EndNote styles are given each term, plus individual consultations on the use of EndNote, EndNote Web, Zotero and Mendeley. One session on textencoding, mark-up and programmatic analysis of electronic texts was given as part of the Modern and Medieval Languages Faculty lecture series for their Certificate in Humanities Computing for Languages. Support for the indices of the archives of St John s College continued although it is planned that these will be entirely transferred in-house to the College by the end of Support for the Benjamin Constant Letters project (the last of the former LLCC major projects) continued at a reduced level as this is almost now selfsufficient. There remains a low-level number of requests for help with converting documents in non-latin scripts created using older character encodings and setting up personal computers to create non-latin documents, but this continues to fall as users acquire current machines on which Unicode is the default. Training Services The UCS Training Services group provide a wide ranging programme of IT training, both instructor-led and self-taught, to support academic teaching and learning within the University. The group provides customised training to University institutions and IT staff, manages the New Museums site

14 Review Propor%on of IT training course a3endances by ins%tu%on Propor%on of IT training course a3endances by ins%tu%on Physical Sciences Chart 6 - IT training course attendances training & teaching facilities and oversees the University Training Booking System (UTBS), which provides a central web portal for University members to find and book training and a centralised web application for University training providers to publish and administer their training programmes. There was a record number of 5,510 attendances which accounts for a 20% increase on the previous year s record figure. The majority of this year s increase can be attributed to additional provision of specialist training for IT staff and with one exception, all course categories/themes saw an increase from last year. The number of late cancellations and no-shows resulting in unfilled places continues to be significant. Feedback forms completed by course participants show the overall satisfaction rating achieved as a very positive 99%. The most popular courses by session attendance figures were Python: Introduction for Absolute Beginners, Unix Introduction, LaTeX, R an Introduction for Beginners, Matlab, Excel, SPSS, Endnote and HTML. 12 Clinical Medicine Physical Sciences Humani3es & Social Sciences Clinical Medicine Colleges Biological Sciences Colleges Technology Technology Humani3es & Social Sciences Other General Board Insts Biological Sciences Arts & Humani3es Other General Board Insts Council Ins3tu3ons Council Ins3tu3ons Affiliated Ins3tu3ons Arts & Humani3es University Miscellaneous Affiliated Ins3tu3ons Other External Insts University Miscellaneous A number of new courses were Other offered External which Insts were all well received. The most popular were R: Introduction for absolute Beginners, Falcon: An Introduction and Zotero: Introduction to a Reference Management Program. A specially commissioned course IOSH: Assessing Risks for Computer Users was also organised by the group. The total number of loans for self-taught materials was 216. The most popular were Access and Excel. In addition to the core UCS Training Programme, Training Services have delivered a number of bespoke courses for institutions totalling 42 sessions and 425 attendances. Working closely with Estate Management, a training programme was customized to support a migration to a new file records management system, and a course on Upgrading to Office 2010 was designed and delivered for Trinity, Gonville and Caius and the Computer Laboratory to support application deployments. The range of courses for University IT staff continues to be very popular with a MacOS X Security course complementing

15 Review the existing provision with the successful Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) programme currently in its fourth iteration. The Windows System Administration and Active Directory courses also remain popular with over 300 IT staff participating since their introduction eight years ago. The UCS maintains four central, New Museums site training and teaching facilities: the Phoenix Teaching Room, the Balfour Macintosh Room and Titan Teaching Rooms 1 and 2, which are used both by the UCS and by institutions to support their teaching programmes. A total of 308 teaching sessions were booked by institutions during the academic year. Major customers included Examinations Under Special Conditions, the Joint Schools Social Sciences programme, the Natural Sciences Tripos, the Department of Zoology, Faculty of Politics, Psychology, Sociology and International Studies and Thinking Skills Assessment. The audio-visual facilities including data projectors in the Titan rooms were upgraded to support the UCS and institutions in their teaching delivery with state of the art technology. A new Creston system enables the linking of the two 40-seater rooms and the delivery of the same programme to a larger class spread across both rooms with associated savings in both cost and time. The UTBS was developed in-house by the Online Services division and launched in September Users can browse training courses, book online, receive immediate confirmation of their booking and view their own training records. For training planning purposes the system offers a central point for reporting on training provision and evaluation across the University and has delivered administrative efficiencies and common working practices. The value of the UTBS has been illustrated in the doubling of the number of training providers using the system to support their training provision since its launch. Current adopters spanning the academic and administrative functions of the University include Cambridge 13 University Library, CHRIS Training, Centre for Personal and Professional Development, (CPPD), CPPD Graduate Development Programme, Equality & Diversity, Finance Training, Joint Schools Social Sciences, Occupational Health and Safety Service; more than 70,000 user booking session interactions have been logged. Examinations under Special Conditions From mid-may until mid-june the Titan Teaching Rooms were used for Examinations under Special Conditions. A total of 189 students with special needs completed an average of four exams each over a total of 21 working days and 42 exam sessions. This exercise involved 40 UCS staff working on a rota basis throughout the exam period. Much time was spent on computer-image preparation prior to the exam period in addition to running student familiarisation sessions. Both Apple and Windows workstations were made available, secured to provide basic word processing facilities with restricted access to the Internet. 5. Online Services Web Services Web Authentication: Raven & Shibboleth The UCS Raven web authentication service continues to be extensively used to control access to a variety of Universitywide systems including the student information system (CamSIS), the CamTools online collaboration, communication and interaction environment and the Lapwing wireless networking service. During the course of the year some 760 websites accepted more than 9,000,000 requests for authentication from an average of 29,000 users per month. As a security measure to restrict access to Raven-protected resources to legitimate account holders, the UCS sweeps the Raven logs to identify users who are logging in from one location then shortly afterwards from elsewhere in the world. A number of compromised accounts have been identified in this way along with some highly mobile users.

16 Review During the reporting period there has been growing use of Shibboleth, the international open-source implementation for federated identity-based authentication and authorisation, with the total number of authentications rising to 660,000 compared with 585,000 last year. Falcon Content Management Service The Falcon content management service (CMS) which was launched last year under the aegis of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research to support inter-disciplinary research initiatives continues to grow in popularity with over 35 sites now live and an equivalent number in preparation or undergoing testing. All Falcon sites have been upgraded to Plone 4 and a second pair of servers has been added to accommodate the increased load. Preliminary investigations have started into adding a second CMS (WordPress multi-site under Raven) for those sites for which Plone is not the most appropriate technology. Training courses for Falcon users were provided on a monthly basis. University Training Booking System The University Training Booking System (UTBS) was launched at the start of this academic year. The UTBS was developed within the UCS in partnership with colleagues in Training Services to provide a common, integrated booking system for training across the University comprising a user-friendly web application common to all participating courses for use by training administrators, providers and trainees. Further details of UTBS adoption and use can be found above in the User Services report. Shared Calendars: Google Apps Following detailed contractual negotiations regarding privacy and handling of personal data, the UCS has released Google Cambridge Calendar, the first Google App for the University providing a worldclass, web-accessible calendar service authenticated by Raven. Alternative authentication methods using tokens for non-web services are also provided via a Figure 2 - Cambridge Infectious Diseases makes us of the Falcon Management Service 14

17 Review Propor%on of Hermes system users by ins%tu%on Propor%on of Hermes system users by ins%tu%on Chart 7 - Hermes users Colleges Colleges Humani.es & Social Sciences Humani.es & Social Sciences Technology Technology Physical Sciences Physical Sciences Biological Sciences Biological Sciences Clinical Medicine Clinical Medicine Arts & Humani.es Arts & Humani.es Council Ins.tu.ons Other General Board Insts Other General Board Insts Council Ins.tu.ons University Miscellaneous University Miscellaneous Affiliated Ins.tu.ons Affiliated Ins.tu.ons Other External Insts Other External Insts Raven-authenticated web interface along with some 60 calendars pre-populated with University dates ready for use. In May the UCS managed the migration to Google s New Authentication Architecture with minimal impact on the 700 active users. Hermes and Mailing Lists The number of users of Hermes, the University system, increased to 44,800 during the year. Some 188 million messages were sent or received, not including the 640 million incoming items rejected by the central scanner as unsolicited bulk ( spam ), containing viruses or protocol errors. The central scanner also provides anti-spam and anti-virus protection for 278 managed domains and 73 mail domains running on 53 servers outside the UCS. The team have completed the replacement of all the systems hardware, paid for by CIF; the hardware installed is covered by a five year warranty 15 to avoid any additional costs over its operational lifetime. The webmail system has been upgraded to provide additional protection against cross-site scripting attacks and better support for complex multipart messages. The migration of half the systems to the off-site facility to balance load and vulnerability across the two locations has also been completed. A simplified interface for the University s mailing list system has been developed. This gives direct access to the most commonly used subset of facilities while still providing a link through to the more comprehensive facilities a few lists utilise. Streaming Media Service The University s Streaming Media Service (SMS) delivered its six millionth view during the reporting period and now averages more than 10,000 views per day. The SMS has been steadily upgraded including better support for additional formats and resolutions and improved integration with

18 Review social media and smart phones. In March the Isaac Newton Institute exceeded a quarter of a million downloads of its recordings of academic workshops and seminars. Following feedback from users the UCS has started trials of the live streaming of events. This is in its early stages but has been utilised successfully on a number of occasions by Chemistry and the Judge Business School. Forum The University s web-based bulletin board service Forum continues to grow in popularity following its launch last year with some 3500 registered users. The Ravenauthenticated system hosts discussions on University governance and computing as well as general announcements and advertisements. Web Search A new user interface for the University web search system has been released, which integrates with other sources of information (initially Lookup, the University directory service) and provides a user interface that splits the results into categories for easier interpretation. This work also isolates the user service from the choice of back-end web-crawler, allowing the UCS to consider changes independently to the current UltraSeek system, which is no longer being developed. University Map The UCS has started a project to replace the University s online map with one based around OpenStreetMap (OSM). Surveying has started to improve the University data in OSM and the quality of the publicly visible material is improving. Identity Management - Ibis The UCS is actively developing an Identity Management database, Ibis, to provide a central cross-reference facility for the various identity attributes currently in use across the University. It is planned that Ibis 16 will also allow institutions to add data fields as appropriate in their own local contexts. An early prototype is running in parallel with existing UCS systems and work will continue throughout the coming year. Call Tracking Work has begun on a project to improve the internal call tracking system, Request Tracker (RT), in use throughout the UCS. The project includes the process of clearing large, old objects from the system ( shredding ) to clean up the database and the development of a new instance of the system based on the current release of RT which will then be used to import the tidied ticket database. Managed Wiki Service The UCS Managed Wiki Service is available to groups who wish to have their own wiki in the house style within a managed service. The Managed Wiki Service was launched as a full service in March 2011 and runs on a virtual server installed on a shared-use Xen Enterprise cluster. Thirty-seven wikis were transferred into the full service from the pilot, on a schedule pre-arranged with the groups owning each wiki. The Managed Wiki Service offers several improvements over the pilot: the online documentation includes an application form to make applying for a wiki simpler, wiki managers (who are members of the group a wiki belongs to) can specify who has access to the wiki, and have other devolved administrative powers, such as uploading a logo to customize the wiki pages. There is a range of options for specifying who has access to a wiki, most of which are controlled by Raven authentication (the wiki can also be made publicly readable if required). By the end of July the number of wikis hosted by the service had grown to 62. University Website - On the main University web site, www. cam.ac.uk, the UCS implemented proxying for the pages, which are now mastered using a WordPress

19 Review system run on behalf of the Research Office by the Office of Communications on the UCS Managed Web Service. There are a number of WordPress instances individually installed on the Managed Web Service and it is clearly a very popular choice as Content Management System. UCS plans to rationalize this setup by offering a managed, multi-user WordPress instance with Raven support are on hold following a request by the Information Strategy and Services Syndicate, which indicated its wish to see a more unified approach in the technologies used to support the University s web sites. Hosted Server Service Institutions can rent fully serviced rack space in the UCS machine room to give offsite resilience for back-ups or data-mirroring as part of their disaster recovery and business continuity plans. This charged-for service is designed to cover hardware costs over five years and power and cooling on an annual basis. Four institutions are currently making use of the service, two renting entire racks and two space within a rack. Systems Infrastructure As part of the University s carbon reduction strategy the UCS has for some time been working on consolidating its services onto virtual machines (VM). The VM service allows the UCS to scale up the number of services offered without a proportional increase in power consumption. A managed virtual machine (VM) service has now been developed allowing staff and institutions to rent VMs from the UCS and use them as dedicated systems with web access to consoles. Development is continuing on a utility meterreporting web site to enable departmental managers to monitor their institution s electricity consumption, one of a number of carbon footprint reduction projects the UCS is involved with currently. This project, dubbed PlainView, was initiated at the request of the former Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and the current Pro-Vice- Chancellor for Institutional Affairs. The Propor%on of JANET network traffic by ins%tu%on Propor%on of JANET network traffic by ins%tu%on Colleges Physical Sciences Colleges Technology Physical Sciences Chart 8 - JANET network traffic 17 Other General Technology Board Insts Council Ins9tu9ons Other General Board Insts Biological Sciences Council Ins9tu9ons Clinical Medicine Biological Sciences Clinical Medicine Affiliated Ins9tu9ons Affiliated Ins9tu9ons Humani9es & Social Sciences Humani9es & Social Sciences Arts & Humani9es Arts & Humani9es University Miscellaneous University Miscellaneous Other External Insts Other External Insts

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