2016 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 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!

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