|Previous page||Table of Contents||Next page|
The Information Technology Syndicate advises the Council and the General Board on all matters concerned with the use of IT within the University and, through members nominated by the Bursars' Committee and the Senior Tutors' Committee, it similarly advises the Colleges. Liaison is maintained with other major IT providers in the University through the Director of the Management Information Services Division (MISD), the Chairman of the Joint Telecommunications Management Committee (JTMC), and the Director of the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET). The Syndicate has representatives from the staff of the University Computing Service and from the student body. In addition to its general role in advising the University, the Syndicate oversees the work of the University Computing Service. The Syndicate met five times during 2006-07.
This Report describes the principal items of business considered by the Syndicate during the academical year 2006-07, and is followed by an annexe containing the Report of the University Computing Service (including the Telecommunications Office) for 2006-07.
The Syndicate continued to receive, and provide feedback on, various proposals to rationalize the governance structures for Information Strategy and Technology throughout the year. The general principle of there being one overall committee, the Information Strategy and Services Syndicate, with other sub-committees as necessary for more specific tasks, was widely endorsed, but many of the details were commented upon by the Syndicate, which urged due care and consideration in their framing.
The projects put forward by the University Computing Service and approved by the Syndicate under the SRIF 4 and Project Capital 5 initiatives were unsuccessful in securing funding from these sources. As the majority of these projects represented projected necessary upgrades to services provided by the Computing Service, to allow their continued effectiveness up to and beyond 2010, it was noted by the Syndicate that funding for these upgrades would have to be provided for from some other source if the existing facilities and services were to continue to be fit for purpose in the future. The areas mainly affected would be: the Public Workstation Facility, the Service's main software application provision platform, used by staff and students for teaching, course-work, and research; the University's principal e-mail system, Hermes; and the University's network communications infrastructure, the CUDN.
The proposal to build a new off-site Computer Room for general use by the central facilities as well as by School institutions, known as the Data Centre Project, was also unsuccessful in attracting SRIF or PC funding. Nevertheless the Computing Service, in conjunction with the Estate Management and Building Service (EMBS), continued to develop plans and cost estimates for such a facility. A suitable potential site was identified to house it and a draft Concept Paper was considered by the Syndicate. An initial feasibility study commissioned by EMBS indicated that the site would be suitable for such a purpose and initial estimates suggested that the conversion costs would be in the region of £9m. The Syndicate felt that this cost was excessive and the proposed solution over-engineered, and suggested that the proposal should be revised by the Computing Service and re-costed.
The University Computing Service's financial plan for the 2006 Planning Enquiry was reviewed by the Syndicate and approved for submission. This, like previous submissions planned for controlled annual under-funding from central sources of on average £300,000 per annum, in order to reduce the Service's reserves to £500,000 in 2010. It was noted by the Syndicate that for 2010-11, at the end of the planning period, an increase in central funding would be required if the existing IT services and facilities were to be maintained. As part of its plan, the Computing Service indicated its intention to use some of its reserves to employ contract staff on small discrete development projects, as there were limited in-house staff resources available. A prioritized list of these projects was presented by the Director and approved by the Syndicate. The Syndicate also agreed that funding for Service projects originally put forward as part of the SRIF 4/Project Capital 5 round, which had failed to secure funding from that source, should be taken forward as additional equipment funding costs in the relevant years of the five-year plan. Following comments from the Resource Management Committee and the planning review, the Syndicate agreed to consider and comment upon the validity of any additional costs and their value for money in proposals the Service might put forward in future planning submissions.
The Syndicate continued to get regular briefings from the Director of the University Computing Service, the Project Executive, on plans and developments in the project to replace the University's antiquated and ultimately unsupportable analogue telephone system with a modern system using up-to-date communication technologies. During the year, it was reported that Improcom Ltd, later to become PTS Consulting, had been awarded the contract to manage the procurement and roll-out of the new Voice over IP system, and the Director briefed the Syndicate on the Computing Service's close involvement with the preparations for and implementation of the project. The necessary planning to upgrade the backbone data network to the robust high-quality communications standard required for carrying audio traffic had been anticipated several years ago and the Service had secured SRIF and Project Capital funding of £1m from an earlier round for the purpose. Widespread consultation with the Colleges had been undertaken to secure their buy-in to the project, and a full project case had been accepted by the Planning and Resources Committee (PRC), securing the University's central backing for the project. It was expected that the preferred vendor for the replacement system would be selected during the summer of 2007 and implementation and roll-out would take place incrementally over the next two years.
The syndicate was briefed about plans for the establishment of a Cambridge Centre for Computational Science, within which it was proposed the Computing Service assume responsibility for the provision of high-performance and eScience computing facilities. The Director presented estimates of the extra resources the Service would require to take on this role. It was estimated that the running costs of such an operation would be in the region of £500,000 per annum, with capital injection of around £2m needed every three years to replace the High Performance Computing Facility equipment. The Syndicate was confident that the Computing Service would be ideally qualified to run such a combined facility, but was concerned about the long-term sustainability of the equipment provision such a centre would require. It was concerned that the University should keep the resourcing of the two facilities clearly separate, and that any shortfall of funding in one area should not have any impact on the funding or resources of the other.
The Syndicate continued to monitor development of the Lapwing wireless service throughout the year, and was encouraged to see a steady take-up as a result of the Computing Service's proactive campaign to promote the availability of the service. A proposal to implement a local 'ticketing' service, allowing federated control over the issuing of time-limited access to visitors not normally eligible using Raven authorization, was welcomed as it was recognized this would be of enormous benefit to Departments and Colleges wanting to grant temporary wireless access rights to guests and visitors. The Syndicate also approved the Lapwing Usage Policy proposed, regulating the terms and conditions for the use of Lapwing throughout the University.
Once again, as with the inclusion of Cambridge Assessment's accounts with those of the University's two years ago, the inclusion of the University Press's accounts last year increased the apparent overall income of the University as reported in its HESA statistics, triggering a substantial increase of 25% in the annual JANET charge to the University for network services. This now sits at £261,000 for 2007-08, and is a third higher than any other academic institution in the UK. Protests to the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) over the iniquities of this increase were unheeded and the Syndicate agreed that the extra cost would have to be met by increases in the shared quarterly charges to Colleges and Departments.
During the year, the Syndicate approved the management of three external domain zones: baap.ac.uk for the British Association of Academic Phoneticians, varsity.co.uk for the University's independent student newspaper, and cudos.ac.uk for the Cambridge University Distributed Opportunity Systems initiative. The following top-level domains in the cam.ac.uk zone were also endorsed: enterprise.cam.ac.uk, biomed.cam.ac.uk, and cancer.cam.ac.uk.
The Syndicate heard about proposals put forward by the Computing Service concerning support for two new institutional e-mailing facilities.
A proposal outlining terms and conditions by which the Service would manage mail domains for the forwarding of e-mail to groups of non-University users on behalf of a Department or College was approved. Such domains are typically used for providing Cambridge alumni with forwarding addresses at Cambridge, of the form firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plans were also presented by the Service for a scheme to provide bulk e-mailing lists, to allow very large sections of the University to be mailed at once, all of its staff members, or all third-year undergraduates for example. Such a facility is clearly a powerful communications tool, but the potential for misuse is a concern. The Syndicate agreed suitable policy guidelines to regulate the administration and use of such a facility.
Plans to join the UK Access Management Federation which, through the use of Shibboleth technology, would allow access to global academic resources by Cambridge users using Raven authentication instead of ATHENS accounts were presented to the Syndicate. Cambridge is one of the first UK universities not in the original pilot scheme to have successfully integrated this technology into its own web authentication facilities.
The Computing Service's progress towards implementing the Information Strategy was reviewed and a list of key design principles that the Service is adhering to in its development and deployment of new services was presented and endorsed. These are based upon the use of Raven as a strategic authentication mechanism throughout the University, the use of web browser access to facilities where possible, the use of the 'lookup' directory as a source of personal reference data for individuals, the provision of 'institutional' as well as 'individual' access to data and functionality, and the use of cross-linking in web pages to the relevant information in the directory for references to 'people' or 'institutions'.
During the year, Professor Glen was replaced by Professor Littlewood as the School of Physical Sciences representative, Dr Heath was replaced by Professor Laue as the School of Biological Sciences representative, and Mr Warbrick replaced Mr Smith as one of the elected staff representatives of the Computing Service staff, with Mr Omotani re-elected as a staff representative. Ms Bowers and Mr Aarons were co-opted as graduate and undergraduate student representatives respectively and retired at the end of the year having ceased to be in statu pupillari. Dr Findlay, one of the Senior Tutors' Committee representatives, retired at the end of the year, and has been replaced by Dr Holburn. The Council representative position was vacant throughout the year. Finally, the Chairman Professor Jean-Pierre Hanson retired after two years in the chair, to be replaced by Professor Steve Young.
The Syndicate would like to thank all its departing members for their valuable contributions during their service on the committee.
|S. J. YOUNG Chairman||D. M. HOLBURN||B. K. OMOTANI|
|D. J. BATES E.||D. LAUE R.||D. H. WALKER|
|T. A. CARPENTER||I. J. LEWIS||E. R. WALLACH|
|I. R. M. CROSS||P. B. LITTLEWOOD||J. WARBRICK|
|I. M. DU QUESNAY||M. R. JONES|
|P. K. FOX||J. R. NORMAN|
This Report summarizes the work of the University Computing Service (UCS) in 2006-07. It begins with sections detailing the strategic issues requiring the Service's attention and a review of its planned significant initiatives for 2007-08. This is then followed by a section highlighting some of its activities over the past year, and a short glossary listing some of the jargon and terminology used within the Report. Finally this is followed by an appendix giving statistical details of the use made by the University of the main facilities and services provided by the Computing Service. A more detailed breakdown of these statistics is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.cam.ac.uk/cs/itsyndicate/annrep/.
As reported in the previous Annual Report, detailed work on the composition and remit of a single committee replacing the Information Technology Syndicate and the Information Strategy Group is ongoing.
The University Computing Service continues to support the strategic goal of optimizing IT support across the University and its Colleges recognizing the important role played by the local IT staff embedded within most institutions. The approach has two significant elements: firstly to align the distributed IT staff into a more coherent whole through a programme of communication to promote the use of common infrastructure and tools and facilitate community communication, and secondly to design into our services meaningful access for a departmental or College administrator.
Ongoing work within the UCS is seeking to ensure that direct access to personal information is provided wherever appropriate within the UCS systems. The combination of this and the above item are the practical factors driving the execution of our information strategy, namely the exploitation of common reference information for both individuals and institutions held in the Lookup system, and the use of Raven as the single-sign-on mechanism.
The significant elements of the common infrastructure amount to the Cambridge University Data Network (now including wireless), Raven authentication, and Lookup reference data. Services provided by the UCS predominantly use these services and the adoption across the University is excellent for new departmental and College systems and satisfactory for the migration of existing systems.
So far, the recruitment process executed to ensure adequate coverage for planned staff departures has progressed extremely well. The UCS has used its reserves to absorb costs where proleptic appointments have been made to mitigate otherwise unacceptable risks. Further retirements are expected in 2007-08.
Not all departing staff have been replaced on a like-for-like basis. In particular the opportunity has been taken to re-structure the UCS to include a team dedicated to the development of the web-based applications today associated with every major service. The team will form the core competence within the UCS for database-driven, web-delivered developments using Raven authentication and taking advantage of the strategic reference data held in Lookup. This approach should be more effective than the current reliance on development skills which are embedded within each UCS division but unevenly distributed.
The UCS continues to host the High-Performance Computing Facility, which during the year was upgraded to become one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe. The outcome of a series of discussions led by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research was that the management of the service should remain within the School of Physical Sciences and the UCS will strive to provide good support and backup for the service within that context. The intention is to create a governance structure around a new Cambridge Centre for Computational Science which would accommodate University-wide oversight of this resource.
Effective liaison between CARET and the UCS continues, and the CamTools service provided by CARET achieved widespread use in 2006-07. CARET has been successful in exploiting the common infrastructure in ways consistent with our information strategy, but we have not yet agreed a support model taking advantage of UCS resources.
This is described in considerable detail in the following section, but it should be noted that to the advantage of the University a wide range of contribution is expected from across the UCS, whether data-networking technical expertise or institution liaison experience to guide the communication process.
The review of our 'web presence' is progressing under the sponsorship of the Information Strategy Group, and has evolved into two parallel inter-dependent strands: our external web presence and improved communication to staff and students. The former is expected to require considerable content design work on the part of the Office of External Affairs and Communications, while the latter will depend largely on the successful provision of a workable framework by the UCS with some degree of integration with a plethora of internal information sources.
The 'Shibboleth' enhancement to Raven has now been delivered, giving members of the University access to academic resources around the world, but 2007-08 will see continued enhancement to the granularity of authentication and authorization supported by Raven.
2006-07 saw significant expansion of the Lapwing wireless network, with over eight hundred users per week by the end of the year, and functional enhancements including the ability to locally produce 'tickets' for visitor access within the Departments and Colleges. The rate of expansion will be maintained in 2007-08, increasing the density of wireless zones around Cambridge. Where network enhancements are planned to accommodate the requirements of the replacement telephony system, opportunity will be sought to combine that with a deployment of Lapwing.
An authenticated 'portal' site is at an advanced stage of development to act as an online focal point for the distributed population of Computer Officers around the Departments and Colleges.
Over the past year, the UCS in conjunction with the University Telephone Office has begun preparations to replace the University Telephone Network (UTN). This system is a joint venture between the University and the Colleges, and will utilize Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, implying a high reliance on the University's data networks. The following is a summary of significant events that have led up to the final selection of a vendor for the new system:
January 2007 - PTS Consulting was engaged to oversee the final stage of procurement of the new system and provide project management throughout the implementation.
February - June 2007 - PTS Consulting and the University of Computing Service staff carried out multiple technical workshops and briefing sessions with all potential suppliers available on the established University Framework.
10 May 2007 - The Cambridge Bursars' Committee approved the adoption of the new system. The Colleges agreed to pay their portion of the core system at the end of this calendar year and subsequently provide funding for installation of the telephony instruments during the roll out period.
23 May 2007 - The University Planning and Resources Committee approved the release of the Telephone Exchange Sinking Fund for use in the procurement of the new system.
14 June 2007 - A final Request for Proposals (RFP) was drafted and issued to the eleven suppliers which had previously entered into a framework contract with the University in 2006.
13 July 2007 - The replacement voicemail system to be paired with the new telephone system was launched within the UCS.
3 September 2007 - A final vendor was selected for implementation. This vendor was BT iNet who will be installing a Cisco VoIP system.
11 November 2007 - The UCS and an initial installation site will have its standard telephone handsets migrated to the new system.
January 2007 through 2009 - The remaining extensions that reside on the UTN will be migrated over to the new system.
With the imminent roll out of the Telephone System Replacement, other joint (UCS/Telecommunications Office) projects are in hand to further enhance the features offered by the telephone service. It is expected that these various systems will provide users with an integrated communications package more in tune with today's convergence of information technology.
A new voicemail system is currently being introduced which will be rolled out in parallel with the new VoIP telephones. As well as the normal voicemail features through the extension phone it will also have enhanced e-mail notification and message delivery; the voice message will be attached to the notifying e-mail (as a .wav file), enabling users to hear their messages wherever they can read their e-mails. Users will also have greater control over the functionality of their mailbox via a Raven-protected user web page. This single page will show the status of all a user's voice mailboxes no matter how many extensions are attributed to them. It will also be possible to listen to and delete messages via the web page.
These enhancements will make it very easy for a user to manage their voice messages remotely from the system and wherever they are within the world.
Call logging and charging are an essential part of the telephone service offered to extension users and their institutions. Historically, systems used by the University have provided the central accounting system with the means for charging institutions and at the same time providing information to institutions on telephone usage and costs.
As with the voicemail system emphasis is being placed on providing information, in this case usage and cost of calls via a web page, directly to the end user.
Another new feature will permit administrators to view, instantly on demand, information on extension usage within their institution. In the past this facility has not been possible and this has particularly frustrated Colleges where they have required hotel checkout functions during the conference seasons.
A supplier has been selected, based on the potential of the system they are offering. Once further development has been carried out the system will not only be offered as standard with the new VoIP service but it will also be used with the legacy telephone system until that is switched off at the end of 2009.
With both the new voicemail and call-logger, standard proprietary systems are being purchased and further enhanced by development work carried out within the Service. It is expected that users will be able to easily access their voicemail and call logger web pages as additional tabs on their Raven-protected Lookup page.
The changeover to the SuperJANET 5 (SJ5) national backbone has been completed by UKERNA. The regional distribution network 'Eastnet' has also required substantial reconstruction. Eastnet now has two attachments to the JANET core, at London and Leeds. The Computing Service continues to provide space, power, and engineering liaison for JANET/Eastnet equipment, under contract to UKERNA. In mid-February the University of Cambridge's link to JANET was re-homed on to the SuperJANET 5 structure. The link bandwidth remains at 1 Gbit/s and the main IPv4 service continued without any trouble.
There has been a significant increase in the JANET network charge from HEFCE/JISC, based on the University's HESA return. The charge to the University for 1 Aug 2007 to 31 Jul 2008 is £261,056.93 (including VAT) - an increase of £51,579.15 (some 25%) compared with that for the previous year. The reason for this increase is the inclusion of Cambridge University Press in the University's accounts. A similar increase occurred in 2005 when Cambridge Assessment was included in the University's accounts. This charge is recovered by a quarterly charge to each institution based on the institution's JANET network traffic.
The new replacement telephone system will utilize the data networks to carry voice traffic. In an effort to ensure the best possible service, an upgrade to the PoP hardware located throughout the University and the Colleges will commence in November 2007. It is proposed to upgrade all connections between the CUDN core and client sites, under a SRIF-supported project currently at the planning and tendering stage. The plan involves replacing the present PoP devices with Gigabit-capable switches connected by two 1Gbps links to different CUDN core nodes. Additionally, significant upgrades to the core equipment managed by the Service will also occur. The goal of this project is to ensure high reliability and resilience to the University's institutions. The new hardware will ensure uptime during power outages as well as providing high speed links to institutions that did not have them before. This in turn will ensure a robust core telephony network. This upgrade will be phased to keep one step ahead of the telephone network deployment to ensure all sites gaining the new telephone system are fully compliant with the stringent technological needs of a VoIP telephony system.
The University's primary IP nameservers have been upgraded to two newer, more powerful systems, and their duties have been split across two virtual systems per machine to improve the security of the University's name service.
The installation of new ducts and moving of cables and active services has been required prior to building works at West Cambridge (Physics of Medicine) and at Downing College. Both routes carry many active services. The moves were completed successfully with minimum disruption to the end-users. Mini-nodes have been installed at Cancer Research UK (Addenbrooke's) and at Scroope Terrace for Architecture. A number of new circuits have been installed for various University Departments, Colleges, and the CUDN. Following the malicious damage to cables along Hobson's Brook footpath, security covers have been fitted to a number of vulnerable secluded routing chambers.
At its meeting on 23 January 2007, the joint University/Colleges Granta Backbone Network Management Committee agreed that the charges for the rental of GBN fibre circuits needed to be increased from the current £6.50 to £10.00 (per hundred metres of fibre or part thereof). The Committee's reasons for increasing the rental rate were that there had been a large excess of expenditure over income for the last two years that needed to be redressed, and that it is necessary to build up a reserve for repairs and refurbishments to the duct network that are anticipated in the future because of the growing age of the network. The committee envisaged that further modest increases to the rental charges would be needed in subsequent years.
In last year's Annual Report, the Lapwing service was presented as a pilot. Since then, the system has been released and is steadily growing and increasing in popularity. Thus far, 34 Institutions (Colleges and University agencies) have signed up for the service. The goal for this next year is to at least double the number of adopting institutions as well as to continue installations in commonly shared areas (e.g. teaching rooms, lecture theatres).
In addition, a ticketing system was developed in-house by the Computing Service. This system allows devolved access management for Lapwing-adopting institutions. Effectively, this enables such institutions to provide temporary usernames and passwords to visiting students, conference attendees, and others who may need data access while visiting the institution. The system was developed as a result of demand from institutions, especially Colleges who provide conference facilities.
During the year, the Cambridge Computer Emergency Response Team (CamCERT) recorded a total of 84,834 computer security-related incidents in the Cambridge internet domain: 84,367 hostile probes into the cam domain (more than 230 per day on average), 302 compromised machines, and 165 complaints of copyright infringement.
While the number of probes has dropped to about half of the previous year's total, the number of copyright infringements reported to the team from agencies representing copyright holders (mostly films) has increased dramatically. It is believed this is due to improved monitoring detection systems being used by these agencies. The vast majority of copyright infringements occur during term, and half of the total was in the Lent Term 2007. IT contacts in the Colleges and Departments worked quickly to remove the offending machines from the CUDN and to reprimand the offenders.
The probe of choice for our attackers continues to be for Microsoft specific services and the vast majority of compromised machines are running Windows. The usual cause is a result of out-of-date system software or anti-virus software.
The Raven web authentication service has grown to effective saturation point within the University. Of the current MIS systems, only the University Finance System (CUFS) does not use it. It has become the standard, and expected, web authentication system for all University web servers now.
The Service is in the process of extending Raven to provide authentication services for the international Shibboleth project. Shibboleth is intended to be the standard web authorization system designed for Internet2. UKERNA is supporting the UK Access Federation, a group of co-operating sites, to permit easy collaboration between them. Cambridge was one of the first UK universities to join.
A Shibboleth-Athens gateway has been created. This permits users with Raven accounts (via Raven's Shibboleth extensions) to access online resources previously protected with Athens passwords. The University Library has chosen to use this technology rather than subscribe for an additional year of Athens accounts.
Shibboleth's international use outside the EEA still runs the risk of being compromised by the Data Protection Act. Following useful discussions with the University's Data Protection Officer, the Service is hopeful that it will be able to use it for international collaborations, though there are still some remaining concerns about the need for formal contracts with the remote sites interfering with casual use.
The Lookup system's presentation of undergraduate information was reconfigured to reflect the requests of the College IT Managers' Group. Undergraduates are no longer presented in their annual cohorts but as a single unit under each College.
The size and scale of the PWF Managed Cluster Service has held approximately constant throughout the year. Currently, 16 Departments and 21 Colleges are subscribed to the Managed Cluster Service.
There are 1,790 PCs being serviced by the PWF, up from about 1,620 in July 2006. The PWF Linux option (using SuSE Linux 9.3) was provided at 20 institutions, up by two since July 2006, as well as at the Computing Service, providing about 770 stations in total which dual-boot Linux alongside Windows.
Occupancy of the PWF file-store in July was 1,300GB of user data in personal filespaces consisting of 23 million files; this amounts to 50% of capacity and shows a substantial increase from the 900GB and 16 million files being utilized in July 2006. The increase of about 400GB in the year is a slightly larger than last year's 300GB increase. The increase in the number of files is particularly marked. The default user space limit remained at 500MB throughout the year.
Use of the NetStorage facility, introduced last year providing web browser access to the PWF user file-store, has increased significantly. This service, using Novell's NetStorage product, provides file transfer and file management facilities. It also provides access by WebDAV (supporting e.g. Microsoft web folders), and is of benefit to users with their own machines (Windows and Linux PCs and Macs). Students can now, for example, use their personal computers from their College rooms or via any internet connection to access their PWF filespaces.
Following announcement in May, the withdrawal of the old PWF FTP service took place at the end of July. Users are recommended to use the newer PWF SFTP service as a more secure alternative.
Following protracted preparations and testing, the change to the PWF Windows user service to use IP instead of IPX for communication with the PWF core was completed successfully with the April Window's rollout. IPX remains in use for PC imaging as there is currently no viable alternative available.
The replacement of most of the network switches that support the UCS PWF rooms took place last summer. These switches provide 1 Gbps trunk links for these rooms. In July 2007, new switch equipment was purchased to upgrade the PWF core networking in the UCS machine room.
The phased transfer from legacy Netware print queues to secure NDPS printing, which started in June 2006, was completed over the Christmas vacation. Windows, Linux, and Macintosh PWF systems now all use the same NDPS secure IPP printing facilities; this has considerably simplified the PWF printing infrastructure.
Ongoing system software maintenance has again improved system stability. Two sets of new servers were purchased during the year as part of the Service's continuing programme of PWF server replacement, consolidation and development. One set of these is to support a 'virtualization' pilot to investigate options for future server technology.
A second tape library auto-changer to support PWF backups was purchased in March and subsequently commissioned. Along with changes to the servers and updates to the current PWF backup software, this has led to a much improved backup system. Evaluation of a possible replacement for the current PWF backup software is ongoing.
During the year, discussions took place with potential suppliers of replacement equipment for the PWF central file-store and with consultants subsequently contracted to assist with the procurement and installation. The replacement SAN storage system is expected to be purchased for the Michaelmas Term.
Significant effort has been given to investigating and testing options for future improvements to the PWF service. In particular, we have been monitoring and testing the next release of Novell's OES, based on SuSE Linux instead of NetWare. The Novell CIFS service is under test and is expected to be provided as a pilot service for Michaelmas 2007. Positioning changes to the PWF password system, using the Novell eDirectory 'Universal Password' mechanism, are to be made in August; these will subsequently enable longer secure Macintosh passwords.
The PWF Macintosh image was based on Mac OS X 10.4 throughout the year and supports both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs. During the summer of 2006, many applications were updated or newly installed for the PWF Macs. These included the Adobe CS2 suite, iLife, and iWork 06. Other improvements made included support for secure print queues and a new utility for viewing PWF file quotas and print credit as well as the resetting of application preferences.
A PWF Macintosh Software Update Server has been deployed and the Macs now install security patches and larger OS updates automatically to improve security between released images. Many improvements have been made to the imaging system and a trial was started to enable the scheduled unattended imaging of the PWF Macs.
A new image for PWF Linux was developed over the course of the year. A survey among the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA) IT Directors indicated that among the Russell Group Universities, Cambridge was the only one to provide teaching facilities in all of Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
The PWF common print balance scheme, introduced last year, has grown in scope during the year to cover the PWF printers for nine institutions in total: the Computing Service, the Computer Laboratory, History, Education, English, Homerton, Law, MML (including the PWF stations in Philosophy), and the UL Moore Library. The scheme enables a user's print credit paid for at one participating PWF site to be used at the other sites. About 680,000 pages were printed last year on common balance PWF printers, out of the approximately 5.5 million pages printed in total.
This facility was released in August 2006 and enables users to top up their common balance print credit, using a web-based system for payment by bank card at any time. The PWF eCredit application depends on the MISD and Finance 'eSales' system and the MISD eSales hub, which links to the banking system and facilities within CUFS. Computing Service Staff worked with MISD and Finance Division staff last year to provide the PWF eCredit facility. Aside from one or two glitches (arising in the communications with the bank) PWF eCredit has worked very well and proved very popular, particularly for users at non-central sites such as Homerton and Education. During the year, it was used by 1,235 users for 3,335 payment transactions to a total value of £22,000.
The iPrint facility, also introduced last year to provide access to PWF printers from IP-connected Windows XP PCs such as those in students' rooms or those using the Lapwing wireless service, has continued to prove successful. Its scope was extended to cover all PWF printers at all sites last summer. Use of iPrint involves installation of a small Novell-provided client module on the user's computer and the easy download and configuration of appropriate printer drivers. It provides authenticated access to PWF printing which is charged for by normal PWF methods.
The Computing Service again successfully provided special images and technical back-up for the Examinations for Special Needs held using PWF machines in the Titan Suite. One session survived a power cut with minimal impact on candidates, thanks to staff who went to the Titan Rooms to help restore the workstations. More than 20 members of staff were involved at various times in various roles and, for the first time, technical back-up was provided by officer staff where assistant staff resources were unavailable.
The number of candidates increased over the previous year, and the number of places that can effectively be provided has now reached its practical limit. If more than 80 candidates attend in a single day then there is insufficient time to re-initialize workstations between morning and afternoon sessions. This year the numbers were close to this limit on a few days. The close proximity of the two rooms in use does lend itself to operational efficiencies, which otherwise would require too great a staffing level to manage.
The use of Macintosh computers as an option, introduced for the first time last year, was significantly more popular this year.
The UCS again supported the International Summer School process. This year, over 850 students took part. For these students, the UCS provided PWF access to all students. Additionally this year, Lapwing tickets were provided to each student so they could use their laptops at a variety of locations during their visit, which proved a very popular service.
The e-mail system continues to grow and the default quotas on the Hermes mail store will be increased to 1GB per user by the start of the academical year. This year saw the completion of a campaign to eliminate the use of insecure protocols, in which 'plain text' passwords were being transmitted to gain access to the mail store. All access to the e-mail system is now encrypted to prevent snooping attacks against the network.
The e-mail systems are currently processing between twenty and thirty e-mail messages per second. According to the time of year, between 80% and 90% of all e-mail arriving at the Cambridge border e-mail system is rejected as spam. There has been, and will continue to be, an arms race between the spam and virus authors and the detection systems designed to block them.
The managed web service has passed the 100 mark for the number of websites it hosts, which currently stands at 102 live sites.
The Service now supports UKERNA's free-at-point-of-use TLS certificates. These are restricted in what they can be used for, unlike the paid-for Thawte certificates already support by the UCS. The free certificates may not be used for any commercial or financial transactions. The Service anticipates having to support both sets for the time being, with the use of the Thawte certificates dropping dramatically but not to zero.
Version 4 of the University map came online alongside the new print edition this year. The electronic version is now the master copy, and the print edition is derived from it rather than vice versa as for the previous editions.
Various steps have been taken to make the University search engine more 'Google-like'. In January 2007 the search engine was upgraded to the current version of the Ultraseek software and this allowed a further feature to be enabled: the search engine, like Google, now only returns results that match all search terms used. Feedback suggests that users generally find this behaviour more expected and understandable.
This year saw the launch of the pilot Streaming Media Service. This service is designed to allow University staff to set up collections of videos which they can upload. These videos are then automatically converted into a number of streamed and downloadable formats for public access over the web. It is the Service's intention to run the pilot for a year to gain experience and feedback from its users and to adapt the service for fully supported running at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, an ad hoc media streamer was hastily put together to facilitate Cambridge Media's coverage of the Science Festival. This temporary service has subsequently been used for the streaming of the Chancellor's Thirtieth Anniversary celebrations, a task for which it was never intended, and the Service will be discontinuing this system at the end of the pilot phase of the official Streaming Media Service.
The plans to shut down the Pelican archive and the Central Unix Service are proceeding according to schedule. Pelican was switched to 'read only' mode at the start of CY2007 and will be turned off for the start of CY2008. The users of the CUS are being migrated to other systems, primarily PWF Linux remote access servers.
This year the PC Support team has been heavily involved in support for the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 (RAE), but otherwise the focus of the team has been centred on the release of the Windows Vista operating system at the beginning of 2007, and its impact on the work of the University.
There were the usual incidents needing the team's assistance during the year. For example, at the end of August a member of the team gave significant help to a College which suffered multiple domain controller and RAID failures in two servers running Active Directory and file services, effectively disabling IT services within the College. All data was recovered and the domain controllers were back online after a very long day's work.
Similarly, following the failure of a domain controller after a power cut, which left a Laboratory's users unable to login, the team was called in to help out as the most senior Laboratory Computer Officer was on maternity leave at the time. The domain was stabilized and subsequently rebuilt to restore computing facilities.
Although a security CD is produced in great numbers for distribution to the influx of new students at the beginning of the academical year, the PC Support team now maintains this as an ISO CD image, downloadable from the PC Support web pages for use at any time. It was therefore possible to upgrade the CD to detect the new Windows Vista operating system, in all its versions, and to provide a significant new release of VirusScan during the year rather than having to wait for the Michaelmas Term to distribute it.
The focus of small Macintosh Support team ranges from training and TechLink seminars, the provision of the Macintosh service of the PWF, and support for examinations for special needs, to the maintenance of significant services internal to the UCS.
This year the team had to maintain two images (corresponding to the old Power PC and new Intel technologies) for the PWF Macintoshes. This was achieved by combining the Netboot images into a Universal image which was deployed in the Easter vacation, simplifying the imaging process considerably. Remote initiation of the imaging process is being piloted in order to make the process more straightforward for Managed Cluster sites. Operator involvement in imaging the UCS PWF Macs has been reduced since the New Year by initiating imaging remotely; this experiment has since been expanded to include one College and one Department and it is planned to gradually increase the number of sites imaged in this way.
Various other improvements have been made to the PWF Macintosh platform: the imaging software suite, Casper, has been upgraded; the PWF login process has been speeded up; and a new utility 'PWF Account Management' has been introduced to allow resetting of a user's PWF preferences and to display the user's quota and print credit.
The team arranged for speakers from Apple to present a full day of seminars in Cambridge in April on the subject 'Mac OS X Client Management'.
Developments described elsewhere have stimulated interest in the TechLink scheme to the extent that membership has risen over the past year by about 10% and now stands at 385.
The seminar programme for the past year was very wide-ranging and varied and was, as usual, a mixture of invited talks from industry and talks presented by members of the Service or other IT staff.
In the Michaelmas Term there were three seminars, all presented by commercial companies: 'Wireless Access for Students, Staff and Visitors' by Data Integration, 'Wired and Wireless Services - the Post-Mortem Seminar' by Khipu Networks, and 'Open Sourcing at the BBC: When, Why, Why Not and How' by Michael Sparkes.
At the end of November the seminar slot was used to hold a special induction session aimed at new IT staff outside the UCS. Material was presented by several members of the UCS on various topics of interest to Computer Officers in Departments and Colleges.
In January the UCS PC Support team ran a sequence of three TechLink seminars, plus one for Computing Service staff, with an experimental hands-on format, in one of the Titan Teaching Rooms. These were to introduce computing staff to the then brand-new Microsoft Vista operating system, and about 140 people attended in total.
There were five other seminars in the Lent Term: 'VMWare and the Power of Virtual Infrastructure' presented by Repton Computer Products, 'Information Architecture: Website Useability and Management' by Martin Lucas-Smith of the Geography Department, 'Integrating Mac OS X into an Active Directory Environment' by James Nairn of the Small Systems Server team, 'Post-admission Endpoint Control of Network Access' presented by Mirage Networks, and 'VOIP - Voice Processing - IP TV and Video on Demand' consisting of three related talks given by Chris Barron of the Telecommunications Office, Splicecom, and ViVo Digital.
There were four seminars in the Easter Term, all presented by members of the Computing Service: 'Shibboleth' by Jon Warbrick, 'Virtualization on Macintosh' by James Nairn, 'The Streaming Media Service' presented by Julian King, and 'The Lapwing Ticket System' by Ian Lewis and Jake Hornsby. An additional seminar was held experimentally out of term at the end of July: 'Blade Servers' presented by HP/Quadnet.
The total attendance at UCS courses for the year was 3,618 (up 26% on the previous year) and the highest for six years; this dramatic increase can largely be attributed to 34 new courses being offered, most of which were in the 'Scientific Computing' series. One of the later was also delivered in a Department to a departmental audience rather than as part of the Service's public programme. The overall satisfaction rate was a pleasing 97%. The most popular courses were Endnote, Web Page Authoring, Photoshop, Unix, SPSS, and MATLAB.
Many courses, including the new MATLAB and some programming and scripting courses were oversubscribed. Several extra runs were laid on and, where possible, courses were moved to larger venues to meet demand.
It is worth noting that the Service is running very close to capacity in terms of the number of courses that it is able to schedule in its training rooms. In addition, there has been increased departmental demand for these venues, particularly from the Joint Schools Programme.
The specialist programme of courses aimed at IT system administrators has continued this year with three courses developed in house and three supplied by external trainers. The in-house courses were 'Macintosh OS X Server System Administration' given in December to 11 people, the new 'Windows Vista System Administration' for 27 people in June, and 'Windows Active Directory' for 14 people in July. The bought-in courses were two runs of 'Linux System Administration' which attracted a total of 33 people and 'Solaris ZFS' for 17 people.
In addition to the advertised programme, extra commissioned courses were given on EndNote (twice) for a large Department, and Outlook for a small Department.
Thirty-three courses, 11 in each term, were presented by a member of the Training Team as part of the Personnel Division's Staff Development programme.
The total number of loans and sales of self-instruction materials was 285. The most popular self-teaching courses were Excel, Access, VB, Photoshop, and Web Development.
The fortnight of Thinking Skills Assessment sittings in December using central Computing Service facilities went smoothly.
Finally 2007 marked the ninth and last international workshop on the Exim e-mail system, which is now used by ISPs all over the world. Philip Hazel, the author of the Exim system and a member of the Computing Service for very many years, is retiring at the end of September and will be sadly missed. The conference, organized by the Training Team, was held in Robinson College in July. It was attended by 44 delegates, nine of whom were from overseas. Eleven extra people attended the 'Farewell to Philip' dinner held in his honour. Feedback from the participants was very complimentary.
To introduce the new Assistive Technology (AT) PWF facility situated at the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) in Keynes House, two information and orientation sessions were provided for the Centre's staff to increase their awareness of the new facility. As an extension to these sessions, three AT seminars were presented to University Disability Liaison Officers to promote the new AT services offered by the UCS.
The AT Support Specialist has been able to increase the range of AT software training available to staff and students to include Read & Write TextHelp, SuperNova, ZoomText, and Inspiration. Training can be provided either as a demonstration or a tailored practical training session on one or more software packages. During the year twenty tailored Assistive Technology one-to-one training sessions were delivered to members of the University. Of these, seventeen sessions were provided for staff, eight of which were designed for RSI and dyslexia-related conditions with the remaining nine sessions designed for users with a visual impairment. Three sessions were designed for undergraduates with RSI and dyslexia-related conditions.
Through the DRC a brailling service is also available to University members with visual impairments.
The advent of CamSIS caused a number of problems for the User Administration team. Whilst the Service now receives much more detailed information than formerly, and this is very useful during the application process and while the students are active, the detail of the graduation process makes data handling at the end of postgraduate courses in particular, much more difficult; one-year postgraduates are not marked as completed until well into the Michaelmas Term after their courses finish.
To deal with this, a series of 'mini-purges' has been introduced that start immediately after a Congregation. These are modelled on the large student purges that give the departing students a firm cancellation date unless they respond otherwise. These were so successful that by the time the second month of the three-month trial was reached, the Service had committed to continuing with this process and had added departing staff to the scheme as well. The load on User Administration staff was dramatically reduced and the Administration team is now able to remove departed staff and students from the systems in a much more effective and timely manner.
Members of the Service spent much of the year preparing for technical support of the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 (RAE). A specification of the Data Collection System (DCS) was published by HEFCE and a compatible DCS was initially developed within the UCS because of uncertainty about the quality and timeliness of the proposed HEFCE system. A compatible data collection spreadsheet was also developed in the UCS and this was distributed at an early stage to Departments that requested it.
As it transpired, the HEFCE DCS was delivered on time and found to provide adequate controls for management of the Cambridge data so, on 2 February, the decision was made to use the HEFCE DCS directly, rather than input data via the DCS developed in the Computing Service. The Computing Service DCS, though not ultimately required, was nevertheless completed ahead of schedule and remains available for use as a backup if the national system were to fail.
The HEFCE DCS was populated with available data and set up with Cambridge user accounts, and was released to Cambridge users at a launch on 20 March. After that the data was regularly exported from HEFCE to the UCS because HEFCE itself offered no backup/restore facility to individual sites. The UCS will now act as a longer-term repository for the data after the University is locked out of HEFCE's system following RAE submission in November 2007.
By the end of the academical year, after the deadline for deciding on which existing staff were to be included, there were more than 3,200 researchers listed in the DCS and an estimated 50% of the research output data had been uploaded. However, in addition to this, a number of Units of Assessment were working on local copies of their data and the UCS was offering assistance to import it into the HEFCE DCS.
As part of the Institution Strategy team's broader remit, work has begun on systems to encourage interaction and co-operation between IT support staff throughout the University and Colleges. Two services have been implemented: Skillshare, an online database which allows staff to list their areas of expertise and identify colleagues with particular skills, and a blog for IT support staff to journal developments and issues and comment on topics raised by others.
The Small Institution Support Service (SISS) was established during the year to provide centrally funded IT support and consultancy to a number of small non-School and Council institutions which are unable to justify employing their own Computer Officer but nonetheless have significant and sometimes complex IT-related requirements. In addition, the SISS has undertaken charged-for consultancy work and provided emergency cover for larger institutions which found themselves temporarily without IT support staff.
Members of the team continued regularly to assist with interviews for departmental and College Computer Officer posts, when requested, and ran an induction session for IT staff new to the University. Three reviews of institutional IT services and support were completed; one for a Department and two for Colleges. Members of the team frequently attended various strategic IT meetings, including a number of College and departmental IT Management Group sessions, the IT Purchasing Group, the annual Joint Information Systems Committee Conference, the Oxford University IT Support Staff Conference, and the European University Information Systems conference.
The work of the Hardware Support Group divides into three categories of repair: contract, warranty, and one-off repairs. This service is enhanced by the ability to perform data recovery from hard disk where appropriate. Laptops, both PC and Apple, belonging to staff and students form an increasing proportion of the workload of the group, and this year for the first time the number of laptop repairs (372) matched the number of desktop repairs (376). The availability of spares and technical information for HP and Lexmark printers also enables the team to support heavily used networked printers in a number of departmental and College environments.
Following on from a batch of hardware failures last summer, for which work was carried out to perform warranty repairs on Apple's behalf, the Service negotiated to become an Apple 'Limited Service Provider'. This enables the Service to be reimbursed for warranty repairs provided the equipment is owned by the University or by staff or students. The group continues to perform warranty repairs for Dell workstations and Avantek PCs.
Notably there has been a significant increase in the total number of Mac laptop and desktop repairs carried out, largely as a spin-off from taking on warranty repair work for Apple. The numbers for this year were 148 Mac laptops compared to 98 last year and 169 Mac desktops compared to 109 last year, representing increases of 51% and 55% respectively.
Hard disk drive problems continue to be the most common source of failures in laptops, with the subsequent need for data recovery. Data recovery work on PC and Mac laptops and desktops continues to be steady, reinforcing the facts that hard disk drives are inherently unreliable, given their mechanical nature, and that backups are often not considered necessary until it is too late. Whilst the members of the group are quite adept at data recovery work in cases where suitable tools are available, there are still many situations where help cannot be offered. Depending upon the nature of the failure, the only course of action may be to refer the user to a commercial data recovery company. This is a much more expensive option for the user so, for this reason, the members of the group continue to stress the need for users to carry out regular backups of their data.
The Photography and Illustration Service has had another excellent year with its Graduation Services sales at General Admissions, which by improvements in presentation and customer service resulted in record sales numbers and revenue.
Usage of the Videoconferencing Suite saw a substantial increase of 50% in the number of hours booked this year (152 hours compared to 102 hours last year) with bookings also rising to 97 (75 last year).
The ratio of ISDN to IP usage has levelled out, maintaining the same 80%:20% ratio as last year. ISDN usage continues to be high because some sites only have ISDN-connectivity, and some countries only allow ISDN traffic and not IP traffic for videoconferencing. In some cases, even though a site may have both IP and ISDN, network bandwidth issues are such that only ISDN is a viable proposition for a videoconference.
The usage of videoconferencing has continued to be varied. Use for interviews continues to be popular, both for prospective staff and students wanting to come here, and for existing staff and students wishing to go elsewhere. In particular, using videoconferencing for interviewing overseas candidates is a cost-effective method of screening before short-listing and inviting them to fly over. Viva voce examinations, and incoming and outgoing presentations by lecturers to local and remote audiences, both continued strongly too.
Consultancy work by the videoconferencing team during the year included advising two Departments on the requirements, technical, capital, and staff, for setting up independent departmental videoconferencing facilities. One Department decided to set up their own facility whereas the other opted to use the Service's central facilities instead.
As part of the Service's involvement with the East Anglia Videoconferencing Forum, the Videoconferencing Manager collaborated with a member of Anglia Ruskin University to deliver training for pathologists at three sites (Anglia Ruskin, Addenbrooke's, and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital).
Following customer requests, videoconferencing support for MSN Messenger and Skype are also provided as well as NetMeeting and iChat. These facilities complement the existing hardware videoconference capability.
In April the portable codec was used for a videoconference in the Mill Lane Lecture Theatre as part of the World Bank/University collaboration's Knowledge Forum. This was a high-level meeting, hosted in Cambridge, which one of the main speakers was unable to attend in person, but the Service's provision of a videoconference link enabled him to make a full contribution to the event.
The Departmental Safety Committee, consisting of representatives from all the major sections of the Service and chaired by the Deputy Director, met four times during the year. The usual annual departmental safety inspections were completed in the Michaelmas Term. Environmental testing has been a particular theme this year. Noise levels have been measured throughout the Department and safety precautions introduced in areas of particularly high risk. A complete survey for asbestos was completed and EMBS have undertaken encapsulation and removal as part of an asbestos reduction programme. A new initiative on the testing of water tanks and water quality was introduced during the year, and procedures put in place for reducing risk in that area. The presence of mercury was discovered in one of the Service's offices in the Phoenix Building, and the members of staff involved were screened by Occupational Health, but no adverse affects were found. The mercury was removed by the University Safety Office and regular testing of the areas concerned has been instigated.
A more detailed Health and Safety report can be found on the web at http://www.cam.ac.uk/cs/hs/.
In January 2007, Chris Cheney, the Head of the Network Division, retired after over 35 years of service. Chris was one of our most highly regarded members of staff, and his skill and leadership have been largely responsible for the successful development and reliable operation of the University's data network and communications infrastructure over the years, which has been the solid foundation upon which many of the IT developments and much of the research and teaching within the University has been built. Following his retirement, Jake Hornsby has taken over the role as head of the Network Division.
Two further members of the Network Division also retired during the year: Mike Guy and Dick Turnill, whose contributions will be missed.
Various members of the Computing Service continue to be involved with a number of external bodies and contribute to the IT forum at national and international level.
The deputy head of the Technical User Support Division continued to contribute as a member of UCISA's Advisory Services Working Group, and the Network Support Manager continued to act as secretary to UCISA's Networking Group.
Other members of the Service have briefed various bodies including the Smithsonian Museum, Stanford University, and NASA on our DSpace experiences, have been active in the C++ standard committee (ISO SC22/WG21) regarding the parallelism features of the language, and have been advising the Numerical Algorithms Group on their products.
The Deputy Director continued to act as chairman of the JISC Mirror Steering Group, which oversaw the final closure of the JISC national software mirror service in July 2007.
The following section is a short glossary of some technical terms used in this report. For additional guidance please see http://www.cam.ac.uk/cs/jargon.html
|blog||A website where contributed entries are displayed in chronological order.|
|CARET||Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies.|
|CamSIS||Cambridge Student Information System. The central system holding key student data with connections to many satellite computer systems.|
|CERT||Cambridge Emergency Response Team within the UCS that responds to the constant hacking attempts and virus attacks that afflict the network.|
|CIFS||Common Internet File System - Microsoft's filesystem access interface.|
|CUDN||Cambridge University Data Network - the pervasive data network that connects all the Departments and Colleges together, and to the internet.|
|eScience||The Cambridge eScience Centre has a remit from the DTI to promote grid computing research in East Anglia.|
|firewall||Computer placed at the centre of a data network to prevent certain types of traffic. Would be used to implement port blocking (see below).|
|FTP||File Transport Protocol - a method of transferring files between computer systems.|
|GBN||Granta Backbone Network. The core high-speed fibre-optic communications infrastructure used by the CUDN.|
|GRID||The use of networks of general-purpose computers (typically PCs) to provide parallel high-performance computing.|
|Hermes||Central e-mail service for the University.|
|ISO CD||A standard format for computer discs (CD-ROMs) suitable for distributing virus protection updates (for example) to all students.|
|JANET||Joint Academic Network. High speed internet backbone in the UK provided by the government for public academic and research purposes.|
|JTMC||Joint Telecommunications Management Committee - oversees the Telecommunications Office which runs the voice infrastructure.|
|Lapwing||The University-wide Raven-authenticated wireless network service.|
|LDAP||Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. The technology that underlies the new University Directory. Has the advantage of direct access by e-mail clients to complete e-mail addresses for staff.|
|Managed Cluster||See PWF.|
|Managed Domains||The support within the University Computing Service for website names such as http://talk.cam.ac.uk/, i.e. one level below the University's cam.ac.uk name.|
|MISD||Management Information Services Division - provides IT support to the Unified Administrative Service.|
|PoP||Point of Presence - the connection provided to a Department or College from the CUDN.|
|Port Blocking||Blocking within the central data network equipment of certain types of traffic, in an attempt to reduce the propagation capabilities of computer viruses and external hacking attempts.|
|PWF||Personal Workstation Facility - PCs provided in clusters in general access areas within Departments and Colleges typically for undergraduate use.|
|Raven||Strategic personal authentication system used to protect websites and web-delivered applications such as CamSIS within the University.|
|SFTP||Secure File Transfer Protocol - a secure form of FTP.|
|Spam||Unsolicited bulk e-mail, or junk mail.|
|TB||Abbreviation of Terabyte, a significant quantity of computer storage.|
|VoIP||Voice over Internet Protocol - voice calls established using internet-connected devices, e.g. a PC running Skype, or a new handset expected to replace the current central phone system.|
|Web Search Engine||The Cambridge tool placed behind the 'search' button on the website for which the 'Infoseek' free-text search product is used, similar to Google.|
|Wiki||A Wiki allows users to create and edit shared web pages using a web browser.|
|Wireless||The ability to connect to the internet and the CUDN (see above) from a PC without physical cabling - using radio equipment instead.|
|XML||A generic computer language used to annotate data, e.g. reference data for storage in a library repository.|
The following tables give details of various activities of the University Computing Service for the year 1 August 2006 to 31 July 2007, with figures for the previous year in italics. Those tables which break down information on an institutional basis all follow a similar pattern:
(a) Overall summary (University by Faculty group, Colleges, and external groups)
(b) Cambridge University Faculty and similar groups (by Faculty or Department)
(c) Colleges (by College)
In this shortened version of the Statistical Appendix all the (b) and (c) tables have been omitted.
|Previous page||Table of Contents||Next page|
Cambridge University Reporter 25 October 2008
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.