Blog: Commons (Confluence) Upgrade planned for Saturday Sept 5
Aug 28, 2015
Blog: eRoom Planned Maintenance: Wednesday July 15 - 4pm - 6pm
Jul 13, 2015
Blog: Changes to Berkeley Lab Login Page - Sept 17
Jun 30, 2015
Blog: Power Shutdown Scheduled for Weekend of July 11th
Jun 26, 2015
Blog: Commons Experiencing Intermittent Issues - June 8 2015
Jun 08, 2015
Blog: OPM Data Breach
Jun 04, 2015
Blog: Leaving the Lab?
May 29, 2015
Blog: HPC Services at DellXL this week
Apr 24, 2015
Blog: Webspace End of Life Announcement
Apr 22, 2015
Blog: Policy on Smartwatches Apple Watch and Fitness Trackers
Apr 09, 2015
Blog: eRoom News - Down To 21 And Counting
Mar 31, 2015
Blog: World Backup Day 2015 - Time for a Backup Checkup
Mar 27, 2015
Although we have reduced the number of active eRooms to less than 15, we have to upgrade the Windows Server it depends on - due to end of support for Windows 2003 by Microsoft.
On Wednesday July 15, eRoom will be down from 4pm to 6pm. eRoom functionality will not be impacted (the vendor is not making any more improvements), but access to the system will be be unavailable while we complete the platform upgrade.
We would also like to remind you that we have a self service password recovery option (see the "Lost or forgot password" link - but you must have identified secondary contact information at least two weeks before you need to use it. Go to https://password.lbl.gov/ to update your notification information.
A power shutdown is scheduled for this Saturday, July 11th to enable necessary maintenance on the Lab’s power distribution system. The power shutdown involves several buildings, including the 50 complex, which houses the Lab’s central IT systems.
Most IT systems will be offline from Friday, 7/10 at 5:00pm through midday on Sunday, 7/12. We expect most systems to be available by Sunday night but some systems will not return until Monday midday.
If you are in a building impacted by the outage (see below), there will be no network connectivity inside your building or access to the internet during the power outage. In addition, you are strongly encouraged to shut down all computing equipment before the outage. Computers and equipment are easily damaged by power outages.
Services that should be available
We expect the following systems to be AVAILABLE throughout the outage:
However, in any power outage, there is the possibility that backup power systems will not function as expected. With the exception of www, today, newscenter, and status, it is possible that the services above may also be unavailable if backup power does not come on.
Services Not Available
The following systems will be OFFLINE from Friday night until Sunday night (sub-bullets are examples of services, not all inclusive lists):
All Business Applications (Return to Service by Sunday at 5pm)
EHS Systems, Facilities Systems including Maximo, Financial Systems (FMS, AMS, ebuy, etc), HR Systems (HRIS, LETS, etc), Reporting Tools (Cognos), Protective Services Applications (visitorpass), etc.
All High Performance Computing Systems provided by IT (Return to Service by Monday at 5pm)
All Collaboration Services except for Google Apps (Return to Service by Sunday at 5pm)
Windows File Storage provided by IT (synonyms: CIFS, Grouper, G Drive, etc)
Legacy Systems: eRoom and Webspace
All Hosting Services provided locally by IT (Return to Service by Sunday at 5pm)
Most everything else: (Return to Service by Sunday at 5pm)
UCB Library Proxy Service
Windows Printing Services
Some Windows Authentication Services
Sophos AV updates
List of Buildings Impacted by Power Outage:
33B, 50, 50A, 50B, 50C, 50E, 50F, 54, 55, 55A, 56, 56A, 56W, 60, 63, 64, 65, 65A, 65B, 70, 70A, 71 complex, 71A, 71B, 71C, 71 Trailers, 88, 88D, 90 complex, 90 Trailers, and Blackberry Trailers
These buildings have different power outage windows on Saturday. However, given the various dependencies and pre-outage shutdowns, customers in these buildings should assume no network connectivity from early Saturday to early Sunday, even though it is expected the outage will be shorter.
Commons.lbl.gov is currently experiencing intermittent availability issues. IT is working to resolve these.
On June 4, the Office of Personnel Management in the Federal Government announced a major breach of data on 4 million individuals.
Since Berkeley Lab employees are not Federal employees, most LBL employees and affiliates are not included in the scope of the breach. However, OPM also processes security clearances for the Federal Government, which a very small number of Berkeley Lab employees have or have had in the past. In addition, LBL has employees who previously worked as Federal employees. While no specifics have been announced,both individuals with clearances and former federal employees should monitor the news as well as look for emails from OPM's contractor firstname.lastname@example.org to learn if they were potentially impacted
Does this impact me?
As employees of the University of California, your information is not shared with the Office of Personnel Management. However, if you are one of the small number of LBL employees with a security clearance, or if you are a former Federal government employee or clearance holder, you may be impacted.
Could this happen here?
Security breaches by sophisticated adversaries can be hard to defend against, but LBL takes numerous steps to protect your personally identifiable information through both business process engineering and technical controls to reduce (but not eliminate) the chance of such a breach. LBL cyber security will take all information available about this breach into account as it refines its protections for the Laboratory.
You can help protect PII by following LBL policy which includes the requirement that no PII reside outside institutional business systems, and that you report non-compliant business processes to email@example.com when you encounter them. Review SEC220 to learn more about how you can help prevent breaches of personally identifiable information: Protected Information Training (SEC 0220)
Where can I get more information?
OPM Website: http://www.opm.gov/news/latest-news/announcements/
DOE Powerpedia: https://powerpedia.energy.gov/wiki/OPM_Cyber_Incident (note: powerpedia is only available from the wired LBL network)
If you plan to leave the lab, please consider the disposition of any electronic data as part of your exit checklist. Take a look at our FAQ on this subject at go.lbl.gov/leaving.
We have suggestions for Gmail, Google Drive, and Calendar events, along with data you might have stored on your workstation or on a central file server. We are developing some tools to help - the most recent one is a Google Apps Script which will allow you to forward Gmail messages in bulk (label the messages and then the utility allows you to forward everything with that label).
All this is much easier if you give your consent and initiate action before you leave.
Another thing to consider - when you leave the lab, you no longer have access to your Gmail account. (if you are just changing status from staff to affiliate or vica versa, then a supervisor can request a postponement of the account deletion).
HPC Services staff members Yong Qin and Michael Jennings gave talks highlighting their respective software tools, wwibcheck and NHC, at the DellXL High Performance Computing (HPC) conference this week, April 21-23, 2015, in Boulder, Colorado (agenda).
Most HPC systems rely on a high-performance, low-latency interconnect network to connect compute nodes together in a way that supports tightly-coupled computations, where the compute nodes need to exchange a lot of information as part of the computation. Yong’s talk will focus on how to troubleshoot failures in HPC infiniband interconnects using his software tool, wwwibcheck, which helps the system administrators isolate and identify infiniband equipment failures or performance problems affecting the execution time of compute jobs.
Michael Jennings will also be giving a talk on his Warewulf Node Health Check (NHC) utility software. NHC runs in conjunction with the system’s job scheduler, carrying out a pre-check to detect potential problems with compute nodes before the job starts, optionally marking bad nodes as “offline.” This highly configurable utility works with popular job schedulers, such as SchedMD’s Slurm job scheduler, and Adaptive Computing’s Moab scheduler and TORQUE resource manager.
Yong and Michael are part of High Performance Computing Services Group in the IT Division that supports the Lawrencium computational cluster for the use of Berkeley Lab PIs.
Webspace was one of our early ventures into providing a web based collaboration tool that allowed easy sharing of documents and access from any location in the world. We plan to end service in July 2016.
Google Drive has become a viable alternative to Webspace for many customers at the lab. Google now does this in a better and more economical way. With the exception of a few capabilities (sharing via a "ticket" with an expiration date), Google storage and sharing can do it all.
As a result, we are announcing a longer term exit plan - with the goal of concluding our migration off of Webspace by July, 2016 - over a year from now. We will work with customer over the next 15 months to migrate important data to Google (or other alternatives) and provide instruction on how you can continue to solve your business problems - until we contact you, there is nothing you have to do.
Our project plan and status will be documented here.
IT has issued new policy on the acquisition of smart watches and fitness trackers including the new Apple Watch (which everyone calls iWatch but is not actually called that).
The acquisition of these products now requires additional justification and approvals.
The policy is available to authenticated LBL employees by clicking here.
We continue to work on the retirement of our legacy eRoom service (an on-premise web content service used for over a decade). We will terminate the service on or before December 2015.
Many of these eRooms have been migrated to AODocs libraries for archival and reference purposes. (We have also provided zip files to customers who want the data in that form). AODocs is a Google Marketplace app - and, much like eRoom requires an administrator to create new libraries. (just send a request to the IT Help Desk if this tool seems right for you).
World Backup Day: Is your data backed up?
The IT Division is taking part in celebrating World Backup Day by encouraging the Lab community to double check that your backups are working and ensure that all your important data is backed up.
Don't Be An April Fool - Do A Backup Checkup
It's time for your checkup. We promise it won't hurt.
First: Check up on your strategy. What are you trying to achieve with your backup? Are you trying to backup all the data in your experiments, or just some, or just your important findings? Do your backups need to be able to survive a major earthquake that impacted the site? Are you using the best form of technology to ensure that your data remains safe? For example, if you're still using external hard drives as backup, make sure you've evaluated some of the newer alternatives that may provide more resilient backups. Remember that file sync (like Dropbox and Google Drive Sync) are not the same thing as Backups (see more on this below).
Second: Check up on your scope. Are you actually backing up the data you want to backup? Have your experimental results moved somewhere else and you're no longer backing them up? Make sure your backup software or process is correctly backing up the files and directories and systems you need.
Third: Check up on your data. Now it's time to go do a quick spot check on your backups. Does your backup client report that it's working? Can you see recent files in your backups or in the logs provided by the backup client? Does the size of your backup correspond to the amount of data you think you've backed up?
What if I don't know the answers?
If you can't complete the backup checkup because you're using systems managed by others, now is the time to ask some questions! Find your sysadmin or another cognizant person and confirm what and how is being backed up on your behalf. Ask them to run through the backup checkup too.
Can IT Help Me Backup My Data?
IT offers various options to help from simple desktop/laptop backup solutions (Carbonite) to infrastructure like Google Drive that is already backed up, to more complex backups for servers and shared storage.
What Else Should I Know?
A Quick Word About External Hard Drives
Historically, nothing has competed with external hard drives for ease and cost of doing major backups for research data. However, that's starting to change. Cloud services like Google Drive and Carbonite provide reasonably speedy and large volume alternatives at competitive prices (or even free). While External Hard Drives are pretty good, they do have surprising failure rates and, unless they are reliably stored offsite, they are unlikely to allow your research data to survive a major event at the Lab (or even a minor one like a particularly nasty virus or a fire sprinkler release). If you use external hard drives, take a minute to consider other options. Need help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A Quick Word About Google Drive Sync and Dropbox and Other File Synchronization Services
File synchronization services like the Google Drive Sync Client and Dropbox provide some of the features of backups but are not, fundamentally, backup tools. This is because sync clients are highly susceptible to accidental local changes that propagate through the backup This is even more true in collaborative file sharing environments where it's possible that a collaborator could accidentally delete your important folder or file and, potentially, delete your local copy as well! While file synchronization does provide some resiliency, it doesn't equate to a full backup solution.
However, you can safely make use of the Lab's Google Drive storage space as a backup location (all employees have 30GB or shared mail and drive space) by doing the following:
- Create a folder for your backup in the web interface of Google Drive (not the file browser on your computer). Make sure it's named something obvious and don't share it with anyone.
- Ensure that all your local Google Drive Sync clients are set to choose the directories you want to sync and make sure that new backup file is excluded.
- Now use the web interface or file uploader interface at drive.lbl.gov to upload files.
Provided you don't accidentally delete the files or accidentally begin syncing these files locally, this should provide a safe backup destination for your work. Need help, contact email@example.com
Following the successful launch of a Calendar app for Android last Fall, Google released a version for iOS devices last week.
For "power" calendar users, we hope this solves some of the issues we have seen with the built-in calendar app on iPhones. The description for the Android app is here.
Reference the Google Blog for a brief intro and a link to Apple's AppStore.
After downloading the app, tap the Google Calendar icon and watch the intro slides. You will then be prompted to login at the Google login screen, (only enter your full LBL email address at this stage, leave the password field blank and continue). This will redirect you to LBL's Single Sign-On page where you will enter your Berkeley Lab Identity credentials.
Once you are in the app, look at the top left hand corner and you will see a 3 bar icon, tap the icon and you will see the options available, such as what calendars to display. Settings are found at the bottom of this list: tap settings to add multiple Google accounts by tapping "Manage Accounts"
The Identity Management Team will perform a planned upgrade to equipment that front ends our services (the enterprise directory, authentication systems, phonebook, etc). This is a security upgrade and will be done at 4pm, Friday March 13. The outage window is 30 minutes or less. Anyone already logged into a lab system will not be impacted.
From approximately 7:30am through 9:00am March 5, a problem at Google resulted in authentication failures when Lab users attempted to use any of our Marketplace Apps (Lucidchart, Smartsheet, GQueues . etc).