Computing Services

The department behind IT services at the University of Bath

IT maintenance affects many services, Tue 14 Feb 2017, 7am to 9am

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📥  Computing Services

Maintenance and upgrades will be taking place during our at risk* period, Tuesday 14 February 2017.  A number of services will be affected due to essential upgrades.  The status of IT services can be found at status.bath.ac.uk.

  • Guest Wi-Fi for our visitors will be unavailable
  • NX software will be unavailable due to a license upgrade
  • solutions.bath.ac.uk, collaborate.bath.ac.uk and mysite.bath.ac.uk services will be unavailable while we carry out maintenance on our Sharepoint infrastructure

 

*Our 'at risk' period is between 7am and 9am on Tuesdays when we carry out scheduled maintenance, modifications and testing. This work is essential to maintain and develop the services that we provide.  Thank you for your patience while this necessary work takes place.

 

The Customer is King(?)

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📥  Business Support Systems, Computing Services

In my previous post, I explored who we mean by 'the Customer' and concluded that anyone who wants something from us is our customer.

In this post, I ask:

'Is the Customer always right?'

The quick answer is 'No'.

That may be a surprising response to some of you, but consider this: would you tell your GP how to treat your illness?

My GP is a trusted advisor - a technical specialist in the area of general medicine.  When I am unwell and want to consult my GP, I tell her that I am ill and want to be well (the Business Need), what symptoms I am experiencing (Business Requirements) and not what disease I have or how to treat it.  I rely on her expertise to diagnose my illness and recommend a treatment path.  I understand that things aren't always straight forward, so that path may change if necessary.

Within the context of the University and specifically working with Computing Services, our customers are experts in the business and understand the Business Needs; we understand systems and how to satisfy those Business Needs, so together, we can drive the University forward.

Bring us your Business Needs, your Aims and Visions of what you need to achieve and we will work collaboratively with you to work out the details, then develop systems and processes to satisfy them.

If you want to contact the team, you can email us at business-support-systems@bath.ac.uk, or by raising a ticket for us. Just make sure to mention BSS at the top of your description and it'll get to us.

Until next time.

 

Save the date - 6th Annual Symposium on HPC on 12th June 2017

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📥  High Performance Computing (HPC), Research

We are pleased to announce that the 6th Annual Symposium on High Performance Computing will be healed on Monday 12th June 2017.

This symposium organized by the University of Bath we will bring together staff, researchers and students working with HPC in the different areas of science and engineering along with other invited specialists of the field.

Save the date in your agenda and don’t miss the opportunity for networking and get in touch with the exciting developments on HPC.

Best regards,
The Organising Committee

 

Phishing attempt: Email from HR about a pay rise

  

📥  Security

We have been made aware that over the weekend of Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 of February several users were sent emails about about a 13.86 % payrise. Please be aware these are fake phishing attempts. Please do not fill in any documents or enter any personal information. If you are concerned, you can forward any emails to the team at phishing@bath.ac.uk and they will advise.

If you have clicked on the link and filled out the documentation, please visit the Service Desk on Level 2 of the Library, or log a help ticket  for further advice.

Below is an example of the phishing email:

Subject: Your 13.86% Salary Raise Documents

The salary structure for 2017 Fiscal Year (FY '17) was reviewed
and it was noticed that you are due for a 13.86% salary raise on
your next paycheque starting February 2017

The salary raise documents are enclosed herewith.

All prorated bonuses and deductions are also advised therein

 

 

 

Pidgin retirement, 3 February 2017

📥  Computing Services

Following on from roll-out of Skype for Business to all staff, the legacy instant messaging client Pidgin is being retired.  The client will have been removed from across the University desktop estate, 3 February 2017.

You can use Skype for Business for instant messaging - give it a go if you haven't tried it yet!  Skype can be used on your work computer as well as Apple, Android and Windows devices.

 

IT maintenance affects services, Tuesday 31 January 2017

  

📥  Computing Services

Maintenance and upgrades will be taking place during our at risk* period, Tuesday 31 January 2017.  A number of services will be affected due to essential upgrades.  The status of IT services can be found at status.bath.ac.uk.

  • PG applications and online bookings will be unavailable while we upgrade these services to be responsive for use on mobile devices (7am to 10am)
  • iTrent (including ESS and MSS) will be unavailable due to an upgrade
  • Managed Print Service (MPS) will be unavailable due to maintenance
  • Wi-Fi will experience minor disruption while we upgrade the service
  • solutions.bath.ac.uk services will be unavailable while we carry out maintenance on our Sharepoint infrastructure

Work on MySQL services will affect a number of services across the University (7am to 10am).

  • go.bath.ac.uk service including the live redirects and administration
  • news admin interface
  • alumni bath mail
  • what's on
  • accommodation mailroom
  • estates workflow
  • bamboo
  • procuro
  • resnet registration
  • legacy wi-fi registration
  • some research databases
  • BUCS patching

Work on timetabling software and a database upgrade will affect Timetabling, 31 January 2017.

*Our 'at risk' period is between 7am and 9am on Tuesdays when we carry out scheduled maintenance, modifications and testing. This work is essential to maintain and develop the services that we provide.  Thank you for your patience while this necessary work takes place.

 

Balena maintenance - 2nd February 2017

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📥  High Performance Computing (HPC)

During Inter-Semester break, on Thursday 2 February between 09:00 and 13:00, we will be placing the cluster into maintenance mode whilst we perform failover tests between the pair of master nodes and BeeGFS node couplets.

These tests will ensure that pairs of master nodes and BeeGFS node couplets are in good working order should an unexpected system issue occur that triggers a system failover.

While the system failovers are being tested, all users will be able to access data from /home and /beegfs, but you may notice a momentary freeze while the storage areas are transferred between the failover pairs. All compute nodes will be placed into a scheduler reservation to prevent any workloads from running while these tests are carried out.

Sorry for the short notice of this announcement, I hope this will not cause too much disruption for anyone.

Team HPC

 

Simple, fast communications, built into the applications we develop

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📥  Business Support Systems, Computing Services

Hello all

There's some really exciting news about a new enhancement to communication tools at the University which has now been rolled out to all staff: Skype for Business.

Skype for Business  gives you a range of fantastic new communication and collaboration tools:

What's even better is that you can do this from directly inside your BSS-developed applications such as BSS Boards, Central Contracts Repository (CCR), CAROL, TRAD and C-MIS.

Imagine, for example, that you are using the CCR and you want to ask about some changes to a document:

  1. Hover your mouse over the name of the person who last saved the document and you will see ways to contact them, which you can initiate from right there.
  2. You click on the Instant Message icon and a chat window opens up. You ask if the person has 10 minutes to look at a document with you and they say yes.
  3. You click the Screen Sharing icon and hey presto, the other person can see your screen! You can both see the document that you have opened and can discuss it by message, over the phone or via a headset (if you have one).
  4. You could even give them control if you want them to make changes to the document in real-time.

There's no need to hunt for another application, no confusion about who you are contacting and no cost to use it. It's great when what you need is a brief discussion, or when you are in separate buildings, sites or continents!

You can also add your own contacts, who may be outside the University, and you will be able to communicate with them in the same way.  Even better, the tight integration with Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook means that you can schedule virtual meetings with people (even if they don't have Skype for Business) and they will get a link to the virtual meeting, hosted on our servers, so that they can join and have all of the functions that a Skype for Business user can have!

I'm sure you can tell that I'm very excited about how Skype for Business will enhance the applications that we develop and deliver.  This is another example of the great benefits to be gained from Enterprise Platforms which are designed to work together!

If you want to use voice or video over Skype for Business, you will need to buy a headset and/or webcam which is certified for use with either Skype for Business or Lync (the old name for Skype for Business). Contact the ITP Shop in the Library for details of great deals on the right equipment.

You can also sign up for a Skype for Business course to learn more about it.

 

Until next time!

 

GW4 joins industry partners to develop ‘first of its kind’ supercomputer

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📥  High Performance Computing (HPC), Research

GW4 Alliance, together with Cray Inc. and the Met Office, has been awarded £3m by EPSRC to deliver a new Tier 2 high performance computing (HPC) service for UK-based scientists. This unique new service, named ‘Isambard’ after the renowned Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, will provide multiple advanced architectures within the same system in order to enable evaluation and comparison across a diverse range of hardware platforms. It will also provide a service to the community that will enable algorithm development and the porting of scientific codes. Isambard will include 10,000+ ARMv8 64-bit cores, in addition to a smattering of x86 CPUs, Intel Knights Landing Xeon Phi processors, and NVIDIA P100 GPUs.
For more information, please see the below press releases:

Bath's press release:
http://www.bath.ac.uk/research/news/2017/01/17/gw4-joins-industry-partners-to-develop-%E2%80%98first-of-its-kind%E2%80%99-supercomputer/

GW4 press release:
http://gw4.ac.uk/news/gw4-joins-industry-partners-to-develop-first-of-its-kind-supercomputer/

 

Goodbye 2 South, hello 6 West

📥  Computing Services

It is an end of an era for Computing Services as today the last of the Computing Services teams move in to their new home in 6 West. Originally the South West Universities Regional Computer Centre (SWURCC) machine room, 2 South has been a key building within the University over its 50 year history and it has gone through many changes since then.

In July 2016, the  majority of Computing Services teams moved over to our state of the art building, 4 East South, and this left a few teams – some IT Supporters, Information Management and IT Training in 2 South.

Now it is our turn to be on the move.

I am really looking forward to the launch of our new IT Training Suite which will provide a flexible, modern and comfortable space for the wide range of  IT training courses we offer. Having the IT Supporters and Service Desk staff close by will aid communication and encourage greater collaboration with the Information Management and Training teams.

6 West provides a whole host of opportunities for us in User Services to continually improve our customer service and training provision and prepares us well for the future. A future I am really looking forward to.

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So long 2 South, thanks for all the memories but it's time to go.