2013 in Review

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 2013:

  • New apprentice: As of August 14, Anastassios has started his apprenticeship with us and is already deeply involved in a complex PHP/Ajax/PostgreSQL project. Keep it up!
  • Mailserver: This year saw a massive increase in spam and especially phishing attacks. They’re getting more and more sophisticated and now include valid logos and even personal names. We were forced to tighten email policies and further fortify our mail server in order to battle those waves.
  • Backup: For the data on our file servers we provide one month of nightly backups. Now our powerful backup system based on COW BTRFS snapshots allows us to extend this period to up to one year in exponential intervals for most file systems. Note that anything beyond 30 days is best-effort only and we might have to cut back again in single cases. A new web frontend shows the status of all backup runs.
  • Windows server: Several Windows server installations have been moved to a new powerful virtualization server and the Active Directory setup has been improved.
  • Printer portal: All information regarding our printers can now be found on one website. You might want to check there if you have issues with a particular printer or just to get an idea about printing volume.
  • Portal for managed workstations: Our new Chic! frontend shows the software status of our managed Windows and Mac workstations and allows you to request additional software packages. This service will be officially announced in January 2014.
  • GitLab: We run a GitLab instance to facilitate collaborative programming projects and sharing of code. Get in touch if you’d like to use it.
  • System upgrades: 2013 brought another round of OS upgrades, also for our servers. We updated most servers silently and combined all critical systems into one migration on September 11 in order to minimize downtime for our users.
  • Windows XP exile: As reported previously, Windows XP will be end-of-life in April 2014. Since there’s still a substantial number of XP machines out there (most of which cannot be upgraded due to soft- or hardware constraints), we’ll provide a locked-down exile network that will allow a limited and well-controlled survival of those machines under certain conditions. We’ll post an announcement when the system is ready.
  • IPv6: This year we laid the groundwork for the slow migration towards IPv6 connectivity in our networks. In particular, we got our monitoring system IPv6-ready and prepared a NFSv4 rollout. We’ll keep you posted about our IPv6 progress.

Apart from these highlights, of course there have been numerous small projects and improvements to our setup, making both your and our life easier.
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 2014!

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