Spring 2016 CSCF Objectives and Milestones

April 2016

Ken's original version: https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/twiki/pub/CF/TermGoals/CSCFObjectivesS16.pdf

Hardware Acquisition, Deployment, and Lifecycle Management

Plan, purchase, configure, deploy and manage lifecycle of equipment for offices, labs, and server rooms.

  • Objective: annual hardware purchasing based on CSCF budget and evergreening priorities
    • W16 (INF): finish FY15 purchasing by UW's FY15 purchasing deadline (ordered, waiting for shipments)
    • F15 (INF): allocate remaining FY15 budget to evergreening projects (not done)
  • Objective: accurate inventory database
    • F15 (INF): populate inventory data from salt-grain/ONA (status??)
  • Objective: timely deployment of desktop/laptop equipment to incoming graduate students
    • S16 (INF 1/RSG) acquire and deploy equipment for incoming F16 students by 31 August, for equipment choices/locations identified by the grad office before 10 August ST#105196 ST#106600 ST#106458
      • Lawrence told Neoma that information on equipment and rooms by August 19th would be on the desktop by September 2nd
      • RSG will need all such machines assigned to the appropriate ST by Monday August 29
      • order in July based on grad office estimates and historical data
      • currently have 12 machines identified and room numbers provided - current goal is to have those on desks by Friday
  • Objective: CSCF-standard equipment configurations and images, updated on an annual cycle
    • W16 (INF): F16 image ready for use on May hardware deployments (not done, but expected for May 1)
    • W16 (INF): 2016 desktop, laptop, and server hardware configurations finalized (done)
    • F15 (INF): allocate remaining FY 2015/2016 budget for evergreening projects (not done)
    • F15 (INF): patch current workstation image for W16 deployments (done)
    • F15 (INF): tentative 2016 hardware configuration (grad laptop (add touchscreen) and workstation configs determined, server config partially determined)
    • F15 (INF): progress on adding drivers for 2016 hardware to current images (fallback image for S16) (progress made)

Machine Rooms

Machine rooms for School and research equipment.

  • Objective: redundant machine rooms to host CS on-line services
    • S16 (INF 2): improved bandwidth between CS machine rooms to support replicated services - (Dave/Lori) ST#104393
      • Done. Now have 40Gb between all three server rooms.

On-Line Services: Database Management

Backend database services to support other on-line services and School operations.

  • Objective: Highly available MySQL cluster to serve non-teaching applications, including ST, inventory.
    • W16 (INF): 3-node MySQL cluster in production and ready to accept data and host applications (Feb'16) (largely done, except for documentation)
    • W16 (TOP/RSG): port non-teaching applications to new MySQL cluster (done)
    • F15 (INF): general use MySQL cluster up and running, with ubikey application running off of it (not done)
    • F15 (INF): automated build of an LXC MySQL base system (progress, not done)

On-Line Services: Linux Computing Environments

Linux computing environment(s) for teaching and for faculty/staff/grad general use.

  • Objective: track Ubuntu LTS releases in teaching and general environments (Ubuntu 16.04 in production by April 2017)
    • S16 (INF 3): ubuntu 16.04 servers on-line, announced and available for end-user testing in both general and teaching environments - ST#106469
      • plan to have ubuntu1604.cs.uwaterloo.ca and ubuntu1604.student.cs.uwaterloo.ca and send out an announcement by August 29th
    • W16 (INF): ubuntu14.04.student.cs in production (done)
    • W16 (INF): ubuntu14.04.cs in production (done)
    • W16 (INF): ubuntu14.04.cs is default for linux.cs (happening last week of April)
    • W16 (INF/TOP): ubuntu14.04.student.cs is default for linux.student.cs (happening last week of April)
    • W16 (TOP): transition teaching and course/specific software to 14.04 (done, including marmoset built servers, seashell daemons, uC++, CS452 cross compiler)
    • F15 (INF): Upgrade linux.cs and linux.student.cs servers to Ubuntu 14.04 (not finished, but 6 teaching, 2 general system are on-line (except maple))

On-Line Services: File Storage

File storage for students, staff, and faculty.

  • Objective: highly-available network file service with limited capacity (4GB/undergrad, 20GB/ grad, 50GB/faculty)

On-Line Services: Email

Supplemental e-mail services to support of SCS-specific requirements.

  • Objective: SCS SMTP relay (DNS MX: mail exchange) service supporting local mail scripting and SCS-specific aliases.
    • S16 (INF 4): re-design and re-deploy existing exchange service, modernizing and avoiding current spam-forwarding problem. - ST#103315

Teaching Labs

Management of teaching labs in support of academic programs.

  • Objective: database of usage statistics for all teaching labs
    • W16 (INF): accurate usage stats for thin client labs (MC 3022, MC 2061) (done, but some doubts about veracity of data)
    • F15 (INF): usage statistics for thin client labs (MC 3022, MC 2061) (progress, not finished)
  • Objective: evergreen Lab computing equipment
    • S16 (INF 5/TOP): refresh (equipment, furniture) in MC 3005 - ST#103058
      • in progress
    • S16 (INF 6/TOP): acquire/install new desks in MC3027 - ST#106260
      • deferred to end of Winter 2017 to give time to evaluate the desks
    • S16 (INF 7/TOP): evergreen MC3018 (real-time lab) equipment - ST#104811
      • Done.
    • S16 (INF 8/TOP): evergreen MC3007 (Graphics lab) – four new stations - ST#105077
      • Monitors Done, Bases Deferred to Fall - see ST#106358 bases delayed so more units would switch from AMD to Intel CPUs at the same time.
    • W16 (INF/TOP): finish evergreening of MC3022 by replacing 5 missing work sites (done)
    • W16 (INF/TOP): planning August evergreening of 2nd and 3rd floor Mac labs (done)
    • F15 (INF): finish MC3022 update (not finished)
  • Objective: ensure that lab equipment is functional and works well
    • S16 (TOP): have ISA desktops and all Mac labs managed by Caspar suite and upgraded to Mac OS 10.11 - ST#102506
      • Done.
    • S16 (TOP/INF 9): as Mac labs are OS upgraded, move each to a separate VLAN
      • Mac labs are scheduled to be re-image the week of August 22nd - see ST#102506
      • VLAN information being worked out with IST - see ST#104520 ST#106130
    • W16 (TOP): diagnose, fix if possible, very slow login and poor performance in labs (not fixed, but some progress on diagnosis)
    • W16 (TOP): establish a process for imaging Macs (in offices and meeting rooms, as well as in the labs) and for switching from image to image. (done)
  • Objective: simple access to programming contest server from any general purpose lab
    • S16 (INF 10): investigate and deploy system for providing remote contest server desktops on any machines in any of the general purpose (Linux, Mac) labs. - ST#103722

Meeting Room Management

Management of A/V in CS meeting rooms.

  • W16 (TOP): update signs, labels and incident management procedures, and establish procedures for responding to problems. (partially done – signage is not yet in place)

Teaching/Administrative Services

Custom services in support of teaching and School administration.

  • S16 (TOP): investigate waiting/ticketing system for new ISG student waiting area
    • bwbecker hired a co-op to do it
  • S16 (TOP): assist with CS transition to IST's staff absence management system - ST#104369
    • Done
  • S16 (TOP): assist with SCS sharepoint reorganization - ST#103735
    • deferred to Fall by client
  • S16 (TOP): investigate Faculty on-boarding with Sharepoint - ST#105022 - ST#105022
    • ongoing, will continue into Fall
  • S16 (TOP): transition CS349 from svn to git - ST#103778
    • Done with flying colours!

Research Services

Custom services in support of research activities.

  • Objective: “Paper” cluster – research infrastructure from surplus equipment, operated on a cost-recovery basis.
    • W16 (RSG): rack the surplus hardware we have (not done)
  • Objective: SCS research computing systems and grad/faculty desktops behind UW-mandated firewall
    • S16 (RSG): finish research group consultations and have client net behind the firewall - (Lawrence, Mike, Gordon, Ronaldo, Lori) ST#88134
      • Done! Plus VLAN 7, 26, 34 (CGL). Still to do: 105, CSG
    • W16 (RSG): finish research group consultations and have client net behind the firewall (not done)

SCS Software Projects: Exam Management System (EMS)

System to support exam seating, printing, and marking.

  • Objective: on-going operation and management, client assistance, handled by TOP group
    • S16 (RSG/TOP): continue Nick as primary point of contact for EMS help - (Isaac/Nick) ST#104199
      • working well, good feedback from clients
      • future direction: look for Points of Contact in other constituencies
    • W16 (RSG): broaden EMS support base by establishing non-Isaac point-of-contact for EMS (progress made)
  • Objective: on-going feature enhancement
    • S16 (RSG): testing of new EMS feature: push exam marks from Crowdmark into Learn - (Isaac/Jamie) ST#104284
      • Done
    • W16 (RSG): modify exam printing process to embed fonts to improve workflow with Media Services (done)
    • W16 (RSG): modify EMS to handle multi-version exams (done)

SCS Software Projects: Seashell

ISG-developed system to support programming courses.

  • Objective: manage on-going operation of Seashell service
    • S16 (TOP): transition Seashell to a CSCF-managed service - ST#100105

SCS Software Projects: Grad Visit Day System

System to support annual Grad Visit Day, including scheduling

  • Objective: ensure reliable system operation, customization and enhancements
    • W16 (RSG): updates for W16 visit day (done)
    • F16 (RSG): updates for W17 visit day - ST#102563 (Fall 2016. needs a new ST)

SCS Software Projects: TA Evaluation System

Proposed system to support TA Evaluation workflow for the Grad Office.

  • Objective: design, develop, deploy, maintain
    • S16 (RSG): initial use and testing for S16 TA evaluations - (Isaac/Jamie) ST#52768
      • Done, it is being used this (Spring) term
    • W16 (RSG): create project plan for this system (done, and system is implemented)

SCS Software Project: Teaching Preference System

System to collect faculty teaching preferences.

  • Objective: ensure reliable system operation, refine and enhance as needed
    • W16 (TOP): update preference information to reflect changes in UW scheduling process (done)

SCS Software Projects: OAT

Backend database supporting advising tools, UW Portal, EMS, and other applications.

  • Objective: ensure reliable system operation, enhance functionality
    • S16 (RSG): add admissions data - (Isaac/Nico) ST#92317 / ST#105729
      • in progress, some additional fields/tables added in August
      • support needed from IST, some competition with WaterlooWorks for attention
    • W16 (RSG): overhaul data import to use new data source (blocked, not done)
    • W16 (RSG): add admissions data (not complete, on-going external challenges)

SCS Software Projects: OGSAS

System to support graduate admissions workflow.

  • Objective: ensure reliable system operation, on-going feature enhancement
    • S16 (RSG): implement modifications requested by Assoc. Director Grad Studies - (Isaac/Nico) ST#104585
      • Done
    • W16 (RSG): implement modifications requested by Assoc. Director Grad Studies (not done due to lack of data feeds)
  • Objective: port OGSAS to OAT backend
    • S16 (RSG): port OGSAS to OAT - (Isaac/Nico) ST#106498 - dependency: ST#92317
      • some admissions data are now available via the new interface and are being used to support OGSAS
      • next term: implement remaining tables as they are made available by IST
    • W16 (RSG): port OGSAS to OAT (blocked, not done)

CSCF-Internal Systems: Inventory

System to track equipment inventory.

  • Objective: ensure reliable operation, feature enhancements
    • W16 (RSG): version 3.5.1 bug fixes (done)
    • W16 (RSG): explore machine room mapping (not done, some progress)

CSCF-Internal Systems: Research Subscription System

System to manage research support subscriptions, track time, generate bills

  • Objective: ensure reliable operation, feature enhancements
    • W16 (RSG): bug fixes (done)

CSCF-Internal Systems: Request Tracking

System to track research support requests.

Strategic Planning

Review and long-term planning of CSCF services.

  • S16 (INF 11 /TOP): review remaining mail services in student environment and set objectives Stalled by lack of knowledge of IST outsourcing of sendmail.uwaterloo.ca service.
    This project needs to be broken into two pieces:
    • Fall 2016: After IST has implemented their sendmail.uwaterloo.ca replacement, identify, group and recommend alternatives for the remaining SMTP student usage as well was identify where "@student.cs.uwaterloo.ca" addresses are advertised.
    • Winter 2017: Implement changes recommended from Fall Goal.
  • S16 (INF 12): develop long-term plan for backup and archiving ST#106630
  • S16 (INF 13/RSG): go/no-go decision on owncloud/file service project -(Dave/Lawrence/Lori) - ST#98307
    • Decision was made to proceed, DFS equipment was ordered and has been installed. Current phase: testing configuration options and server/client options for OwnCloud/DropBox-style service
  • S16 (TOP/INF 14): review applications that remain on MySQL in the student environment and develop a plan for supporting them
  • S16 (INF 15/RSG): review existing PostgreSQL/Odyssey infrastructure and develop a plan for managing it - (Isaac/CSCFmgmt) - ST#105227
    • had our meeting, Isaac gave presentation -> now up to CSCF mgmt for next steps
  • W16 (INF/RSG): go/no-go decision on owncloud/file service project (not done)
  • W16 (RSG/TOP/INF): hold CSCF staff retreat, generate recommendations (done)


Manage CSCF spending on staff, equipment, and services.

  • Objective: Produce annual equipment budget proposal for SCS.
    • W16 (INF): FY16 CSCF budget request to the School (done)
    • F15 (INF): draft of FY16 budget (mostly done – pricing updates needed)
  • Objective: Timely and well-managed spending – avoid last minute spending.
    • S16 (INF 16/TOP/RSG): Develop spending plan for FY16 budget.
    • S16 (INF 17/TOP/RSG): At least 40% of CSCF budget spent by August 31st. F16 goal will be at least 80% spent before the December break.)
      • on track
  • Objective: timely billing of researchers for research services
    • S16 (RSG): S16 bills out by the end of May 2016
      • bills are now out ($58,800 this term)
    • W16 (RSG): F15 and W16 bills out in early Feb'16 (done)
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Topic revision: r16 - 2016-09-07 - OmNafees
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