One of the primary concerns we are dealing with is managing faculty expectations for support versus what staff has the resources and ability to offer.

  • Faculty may be given a server on YCloud
  • staff does not have the resources to manage one VM per faculty member
  • faculty should manage the server themselves or train a student to do so
  • for backup, OIT is offering a service for $30/month for first TB
  • one cheap alternative is Amazon Glacier, which is 1 cent per Gigabyte
  • this will work particularly well for backing up small servers for much less than OIT charges, and still comes to $10/TB, 1/3 of OIT's cost

Some history on past services provided by Loren:

  • Loren setup a system of servers and wikis that was not maintained well
    • a NAS (2 TB storage for Daniel)
    • facback backup server
    • wiki inrastructure
  • these services were not maintained well over time and are suffering high failure rates for disk drives, the Wiki version is very out of date, etc.

Some discussion of the Wiki service provided to faculty

  • two possible support directions
  • a common Wiki infrastructure maintained by the department
    • could be folded into web server services
    • would use one installation of Mediawiki software
    • would require a small, common set of packages
    • staff is worried that frequent requests for new packages will break some Wikis and not others
    • should settle on this package set and only change infrequently (e.g. once per year in spring/summer)
    • basic packages could include LaTeX support, code highlighting, etc.
    • could require hiring a student to maintain it
  • a separate VM and wiki per person
    • staff can provide a VM and basic package installation
    • do not have resources to maintain that VM once handed off to faculty (see above discussion)

Some discussion of general backups for faculty

  • currently have an NFS system with 20 TB storage for students (not completely full)
    • easy to maintain because all lab systems are on a common platform
    • backups provided by rsync to old NFS system, which holds only 8 TB storage
  • could provide a similar system to faculty, likely in range of $100,000+ for initial purchase
    • would likely use Amazon Glacier for backup since it is much cheaper than a secondary backup system and more reliable ($10/TB per month)
    • staff are worried they would be responsible if important files from faculty research labs are lost
    • would likely require some reduction in capital equipment budget for each faculty to maintain the system each year
    • would likely provide an NFS or Samba mount to each faculty member
    • would require buy-in from a faculty vote
    • total allocated to department for access equipment and capital is $257K, so $100K is a big chunk of that
    • note, there has been little faculty support for an initiative like this in the past
  • faculty sometimes suggest a cheap backup alternative would be possible, due to low cost of drives
    • these are often cheap drives, not intended for heavy duty cycle
    • enterprise-quality backup/NAS solutions are fairly expensive
  • other alternatives for faculty
    • buy a cheap external TB hard drive, one per student in your lab, have student setup regular backups of their critical work
    • setup Amazon Glacier, with cheap backup to cloud (much cheaper than Mozy or Backblaze)
    • could use both (Amazon charges a bit more for retrieval, could use it as a disaster backup e.g. in case building has a fire)
    • Daniel will be looking into Amazon Glacier this spring for his servers, and will report back to faculty with instructions, scripts to set this up

Discussion of campus networking services

  • department link to rest of campus is 1 Gbps
  • OIT may discuss an upgrade in a year to faster uplink (10 Gbps), installing Xerrus wireless
  • CS department already has our own Xerrus wireless infrastructure (this is the CSDept SSID you see in WiFi)
    • using WPA Enterprise lets department link your access to your CS Department login
    • this has caused some problem for department systems, hope is that these can be worked out
    • Daniel found that latest Ubuntu on his laptop did not work at all, but Fedora 20 works great
    • much of campus is using WPA personal for BYU Secure (just enter “byuwireless” for password, not your credentials)
    • but OIT plans to switch to WPA Enterprise as well
  • regarding OIT upgrade plans for our link to campus
    • reports from Chemistry (who also runs their own infrastructure) that they will need to turn over operations of their network to OIT if they want to upgrade
    • we should figure out how much it would cost the department to use OIT (and in return equipment upgrade every three years, supposedly)
cc/11-march-2014.txt · Last modified: 2014/09/23 16:46 by tmburdge
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