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The Dice Project

Operational Meeting

Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 23rd April 2014 in IF-4.31

Ross Armstrong, Richard Bell, Lindsey Brown, Neil Brown, Roger Burroughes, Chris Cooke, Carol Dow, Alison Downie, Graham Dutton, Jennifer Oxley, Stephen Quinney, Iain Rae, Gordon Reid, George Ross (convener and minutes), Alastair Scobie
  1. Minutes of the last meeting

    These were accepted. A question from Neil was taken under "topics for discussion".

  2. Actions and blog articles

    Actions discussed:

    Actions added:

    Actions completed:

    Blog articles discussed:

    Blog articles completed:

  3. Report from Computing Executive Group

    1. IS Drupal service

      There are still some open questions, not least how (whether?) updates are going to be distributed.

    2. CCPAG verbal report

      There's a proposal to buy a mathematica site licence. This may not affect us much, as we have only three local non-core-funded licences.

      There's ongoing discussion of Sean's "security" paper.

      (Aside: there are no totally-open ports at FARR. We seem to be the only part of the University with such things. We currently handle audit requirements on the basis of room "ownership", but we may be required to do 802.1X at some point. Technically we could, with some effort, and there would actually be some associated benefits for us.)

      IT consulting has been restructured again.

      ITI-network have apppointed two new members of staff.

      Graeme is writing a paper on 2-factor authentication.

      The staffmail backend has been upgraded.

      There have been upgrades to the virtual hosting service.

      There's expected to be a "lightweight survey" on archiving by the end of May. We need to make sure that the right Informatics people answer it.

      A secure dropbox-alike is coming "soon".

      Research data: would homedirs no longer be on college servers?; and there's ongoing discussion as to whether quotas should be strictly individual or pooled.

      We should expect to be emailed "soon" and thereafter annually regarding functional accounts.

  4. Reports from units

  5. Topics for discussion

    1. Chilled-water-failure debrief

      • George had received an email from Dougie W explaining the failure and how it interacted with our cooling:

        "The problem with your backup system appears to have been that the changeover chilled water flow temperature setpoint was set at 20°C which is, to my mind a bit too high, as it'll take a long time for the residual water to reach this. We've reduced this back down to 16°C (which I'm sure was the original setting?) and David Barratt's team have put in a line to have the changeover tested again. The problem with lowering this setpoint too low is that there is the chance that the cooling systems could change over when there isn't really a problem with the central cooling e.g. when we're on free cooling the flow temperature can go as high as 14°C. However, I think it's better the backup cooling coming in too early rather than not coming in at all and it may indeed give us all greater comfort to see it operating 'naturally' from time to time. If the backup system is asked to start and fails to reduce the flow temperature within 15 minutes then an alarm transmits to security and an engineer is called so we're well covered in that event."

      • There is a manual override switch on the BEMS panel in B.Z23. Dave H has a key, and Tom has access if Dave isn't available. We do need to ensure that they know where the switch is and how to operate it.
      • We could do with a more aggressive automatic shutdown for the beowulf and GPU machines. Iain will look into this.
    2. Pandemic scenario and unit lists

      Neil asked for clarification as to when folk covering for stricken Units should be set up to receive emails and notifications, having not been at the last meeting. It was reaffirmed that this should be done at the time it is realised that cover is required, as it would be far too noisy otherwise.

  6. Items for the Computing Systems blog
  7. AOCB

  8. Next meeting

    The next meeting will be on 14th May 2014 at 10:00 in IF-4.31, chaired by Alison.

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