On Thursday, January 19, starting at 08:00, we will OS upgrade the main D-PHYS web server. All websites hosted on zwoelfi*.ethz.ch will be down for several hours and will gradually come back as we progress. This does not affect the department website, the institutes and many of the group websites. However our groupware, the wikis and many special interest sites will be inaccessible. Note that if you’re using the ActiveSync connector via groupware to sync email to your cell phone or Outlook, this won’t work either. Temporarily use webmail while we bring back groupware as one of the first services.
Update 17:30 – due to an inordinate amount of user files on the web server the upgrade took a bit longer than anticipated. Now almost all websites should be back online, please let us know if you encounter any problems.
In the last few weeks we discovered some attempted attacks on the Windows Remote Desktop feature from sources outside of ETH.
In order to protect both your machines and our network, we decided to block RDP access from ETH-external networks. If you still need access from outside the ETH network (e.g. from home) you have to first open a VPN connection to ETH and then start the Remote Desktop client.
More information about installing the VPN client is available here.
This post is meant to give you a short overview of what has been accomplished in D-PHYS IT by ISG this year. We’ve been hard at work to further improve and extend our services for you, our customers. Some highlights of 2016:
- New team member: Sven Mäder joined ISG this year to replace Axel in our Linux server team.
- Account expiry: you might have heard that D-PHYS decided to phase out old accounts in the future. We spent the last year laying the technical groundwork for a smooth and painless implementation of this policy change. One first visible result is our new account portal.
- Printing: in summer we integrated student printing into the pia printing system which means that we now have a comprehensive printing solution for the whole department. The D-PHYS print server will be shut down in early 2017.
- Storage: in 2016 the disk space occupied by data and backup grew from 929 TiB to 1.3 PiB, again increasing the yearly growth rate. We are now using 60-disk toploader chassis to maximize storage space-per-volume.
- Outages: we scheduled two maintenance windows, on April 14 and September 5, in order to perform hardware and system upgrades. Together with a network upgrade by Informatikdienste on September 15, these were the only noteworthy downtimes in 2016.
- Docking network: in fall 2016 we migrated most of the department’s network sockets to the 802.1x-enabled docking network. While there is little immediate benefit for most of us, this is a prerequisite for future network projects like the upcoming Unified Collaboration & Communication (UCC) project.
- Wifi: in early 2016 we developed and installed a portable wifi probe that eventually led to the discovery of one of the underlying problems causing ETH’s wifi woes. Since then, wifi has been much more stable.
- OS upgrades: 2016 brought new OS versions for almost every system: the Windows 10 rollout picked up steam, Sierra arrived on the Macs and Ubuntu 16.04 on the Linux workstations.
- Cluster: we built and deployed a new high-availability cluster setup for our virtual servers this year.
- Core services: a lot of infrastructure work has happened in the background to ensure smooth operation and seamless growth of our services in the future. Examples are: new ActiveDirectory servers for our Windows users, migrating our webserver certificates to Let’s Encrypt, a facelift for most of our websites to match the AEM design and an upgrade of our iPXE boot screen.
- IT security: we participate in and support the ETH-wide IT security initiative and also worked hard to make the mandated n.ethz password change as humane as possible.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my whole team for their hard and dedicated work all year long.
Happy Holidays and see you in 2017!
We schedule a short (~30 min) maintenance downtime of astrogate on Monday, Dec 12, starting at 07:00 in order to replace a network card. During this time no access to the astro SAN data will be possible.
It is my pleasure to welcome Sven Mäder into our group. He joins us to replace Axel Beckert in the Linux team.
In collaboration with our colleagues in Informatikdienste we will use the upcoming months to upgrade the D-PHYS network in order to make it ready for the future. In particular, we will enable the IEEE 802.1x protocol in our network that will allow us to virtually patch any VLAN to each individual client. This will also pave the way for the upcoming VoIP telephony deployment in D-PHYS. The migration will be a step-by-step process and we will visit each building and floor individually to address potential questions during the migration. The typical desktop or laptop computer will not notice the change except for a short interruption of < 1 min. Certain macOS clients will need a bit of persuasion however, the required steps are described here.
Things will look a bit different for new clients that connect to the D-PHYS network for the first time only after the migration: they will not display the well-known ISG D-PHYS landing page, but an OS popup or a generic ETH page. This works the same way as the ETH wifi. You either supply your n.ethz credentials in the popup or you log in via the landing page. Your machine will then be patched into the ETH docking network. If you have a specific reason to have your machine in the D-PHYS network (HPx::745 for the technically inclined), please let us know and we will register your MAC address in our database – just like you did in the past. All existing machines at D-PHYS have been preregistered for HPx::745 in order to avoid any confusion.
So please be ready when Alex shows up in your group and announces the migration date.
The Informatikdienste are upgrading the routers in our HIT/D/13 server room causing a downtime of the network of about 1 hour on Thursday morning, 15th September, between 05:30 and 07:30. Please note that various services will not be available during that time.
In order to perform some core service upgrades, we schedule a server maintenance window on
Monday, September 5, starting at 17:00 and lasting for approximately 3 hours.
Most D-PHYS IT services will be affected by that downtime, including logins, file servers and e-mail services.
E-mails coming in during the downtime will be held on the sender’s side and will arrive at D-PHYS with a delay. Sending e-mails won’t be possible during the window.
We’ll update this posting as soon as things are back to normal.
Update Monday 18:30 We managed to complete the migration ahead of time, everything should be back to normal. If you still encounter any problems, please let us know.
On Thursday, July 21, starting at 0700 we will upgrade our groupware solution. The update is expected to take approximately one hour. As this upgrade will be a major one (version 14.3 to 16.1), you might notice a few changes. In particular:
- if you didn’t log out before we start the upgrade, your browser might be in an inconsistent state and the new version might refuse to work. Just log out manually in this case.
- if you’re using the ActiveSync/eSync/Exchange protocol for calendar synchronization, you will have to recreate your sync account on your (mobile) device. Just delete your existing account on the device (your groupware data will still be on our server) and add it again (see documentation). We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but the synchronization code was rewritten to be faster and more stable and is not compatible to existing accounts. We have tried to identify all current ActiveSync users and will inform them via email.
- the web interface will get a new look (see screenshot)
We have thoroughly tested the new version internally. If you find any problems after the upgrade, please get in touch. Thanks.
Update Thursday 08:00: Upgrade complete. Please let us know if you find any issues in the new version.
Due to required changes to our network infrastructure and some hardware maintenance, we’re scheduling a maintenance downtime for most D-PHYS servers starting on Thursday, 14th of April 2016, at 5pm. The downtime will last several hours and single services may be down for longer than others or will be down multiple times in a row.
We’ll update this posting as soon as things are back to normal.
Most D-PHYS services will be affected by that downtime, especially file servers and e-mail services, but also some virtual machines and most websites hosted by ISG D-PHYS are affected. (http://www.phys.ethz.ch/ and other AEM-hosted websites are not affected.)
E-mails coming in during the downtime will be held on the sender’s side and will arrive at D-PHYS with a delay. Sending e-mails won’t be possible during the downtime either.
After the migration we will benefit from a faster and more reliable network connection to our servers.
Update at 19:30: Most services are back to normal. Expect further downtimes for home directories and mail later this evening.
Update at 23:00: All services are available again.
Update Fri 09:00: After Thursday’s network migration a defective patch cable caused network problems on Friday morning.