Category Archives: Services

Email Delivery Issue

On Friday, a Michigan Tech email user reported to the Department of Public Safety and Police Services (DPSPS) that they were receiving abusive email from a third party. As part of this investigation, DPSPS and Information Technology worked to redirect email from this third party to the officer’s email account for further investigation.

Unfortunately, due to an error in the redirect rule we created, any email between 9:00 PM Friday and 7:45 AM Saturday was delivered to the DPSPS officer’s account. That officer’s account was locked at 7:45 AM on Saturday, and the officer was not able to read the email. The mis-configured rule was also disabled at 7:45 AM Saturday.

Due to the volume of email that was sent and received, most messages from that time period are now reporting as delayed or undeliverable.

Information Technology is working to retrieve all email that was sent to and/or from @mtu.edu and deliver it to the intended recipient. In other words, any message sent either to a Michigan Tech account or from a Michigan Tech account during this time period was held up in this process. If you attempted to send an important message during this time period, please resend it. A copy of the message should be available in your “Sent” box.

We take privacy seriously and are working to restore the email from this event. We are developing additional controls around this process to prevent future occurrences.

Please contact Information Technology at it-help@mtu.edu or (906) 487-1111 with questions or concerns.


VPN Update

Last week we updated on-campus, on-domain PCs to use the new VPN server. Notably, the new VPN server supports Windows 10 and OSX Yosemite.

On  September 22 at 6 AM, we are going to switch everyone over to using the new VPN. From that point forward, you will be using the new hardware when you go to vpn.mtu.edu.

Documentation on installation and usage of the new VPN client is available at www.it.mtu.edu/vpn.

If you have any issues, please contact IT at it-help@mtu.edu or 906-487-1111.


GoToMeeting to Replace Adobe Connect

As the result of a review of conferencing tools last year by various campus departments, along with Information Technology, GoToMeeting has been acquired for campus web conferencing needs. The new platform will replace Adobe Connect, which is set to expire on December 15th at 8pm.

Information Technology has been transitioning users from one service to another over the past few months. If you would like to learn more about GoToMeeting or transfer your web conferencing needs over to the new service, please contact it-help@mtu.edu or call 7-1111.

For those departments that require the continued use of Adobe Connect, we will have a limited number of licenses to use on a case by case basis. Should you have recordings in Adobe Connect that need to be archived, IT will work with current Adobe Connect users on archiving the recordings they wish to preserve.

For more information, please contact it-help@mtu.edu or call 7-1111.


NOTICE: Central Storage Maintenance and Potential Unavailability

WHAT is going on:

Please be advised that IT Infrastructure Services, to further investigate the storage performance issues of last December and to continue to improve current storage performance, will be scheduling two periods of storage maintenance.  The maintenance is not expected to cause any storage unavailability but if an unexpected outage does occur, we want you to have this forewarning in place and recommend you avoid the use of central storage during the period listed below.

WHEN it will happen:

The scheduled maintenance windows for central storage will be:

Friday, March 21, 2014 – 11:00pm to 4:00am

Saturday, March 22, 2014 – 11:00pm to 4:00am

Due to the nature of the support engaged to further improve our storage performance, we were unable to schedule this work during the recent break period.

WHY we are doing this:

The performance and stability of the new central storage system is still not up to the level of quality that was specified by IT when the system was arranged to be purchased.  We sincerely feel that you – the faculty, staff, and students – deserve the most affordable, stable, versatile, and highly-performing storage system available.  To that end, IT management and staff have been working closely with our storage vendor to schedule top-tier engineers  for this ongoing diagnosis and improvement effort.

WHOM will this affect:

The storage system undergoing maintenance services all campus home directories, most academic and research shares, and most administrative data as well.  Again, we are not planning for an outage, but we are preparing for one. This maintenance will not affect storage attached to the Superior High Performance Cluster nor any other locally-attached storage.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact IT User Services at (906) 487-1111 or email it-help@mtu.edu.


Status of Storage Issue

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding while we make progress bringing you the quality centralized storage services you deserve. Our centralized storage plays a critical role in many processes – from logging in on your computer to printing – and is necessary for the healthy operation of applications from BANNER to your browser. The scale of the service disruption  is not lost on me or my staff and again, I offer my apology for the great inconvenience this reduction in service has caused.

Over the last week my staff has tirelessly worked to stabilize the performance of the central storage to the point that it is acceptably useable. They have tweaked and tuned everything they could and have succeeded in stabilizing the patient. To continue the medical analogy, we have moved the patient from the ICU to the general care ward and we continue to actively monitor the health of the system.

We are not through. I am not satisfied with “acceptable.” I only will be satisfied when the new storage equipment operates in a superior fashion, as originally specified, and as rightfully expected. Working aggressively with our storage vendor we have arranged for additional storage equipment to be delivered and installed as soon as is possible. We expect the additional equipment to be here within the week, and you should see a lasting improvement in your centralized storage services as soon as we bring the first piece of equipment online.

My goal, from this recent storage upgrade, was to provide you the most capable, reliable, flexible, and highly performing storage for your campus computing needs. The additional equipment and the continued work of my staff and all those involved in bringing this additional hardware to bear on this problem will meet this goal.

In closing I would also like to thank the campus community for the many supportive words and emails during this difficult time. So rare a thing, this fellowship during adversity, is the hallmark of Michigan Tech students, faculty, and staff.


Storage Issue Updates

FINAL UPDATE
IT Staff have worked to stabilize the storage array until additional storage equipment is delivered. We are closing this notice at this time. While we don’t consider the performance issue to be resolved there will be no further updates here on the matter. Future updates will be distributed via the MTU IT Blog.

For the history of this issue, please check the post on the IT Status page.


Status of Ongoing Storage Issues

First, let me offer my deepest apology for the disruption in central storage services that is impacting the ability to use campus computing resources.

After the home directory upgrade was complete, it wasn’t until enough load was put on the new storage system that an unforeseen performance issue became apparent. The new system was specified and designed to be at an order of magnitude more powerful, flexible, and high-performing, and thus far, it has failed to do so. Since the discovery of the performance issue on Monday the IT Storage Services team and I have been actively working to resolve the problem, and we have engaged top level engineers from the storage vendor. In turn, they have escalated our support case as high as possible within their organization. We are aggressively pushing our vendor for a rapid solution and will not ease up on our efforts until the performance problems are eliminated.

In the event that a rapid solution is not forthcoming, we have a roll-back plan in reserve. This would mean an additional complete home directory outage, that would span roughly 24 to 36 hours. In the event that the decision to roll back is made, Information Technology will send out an additional announcement.

Please know that we are working around the clock to resolve this issue and sincerely appreciate your patience during this difficult period. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me directly at ccwill@mtu.edu.

Cayce Will
Director of IT Infrastructure Services


HuskyCard is Coming

Michigan Tech IT is upgrading the campus card system by transitioning to a contactless smart card and reader system. The new system will be compatible with all of the current card functions such as student, faculty, and staff ID card, library card and meal plans. In addition to providing identification and access, the HuskyCard may optionally be used as a prepaid debit MasterCard, providing students the ability to receive same-day refunds.

The HuskyCard will have two magnetic stripes, one yellow, and one black, as well as a contactless smart chip. Information will be stored on both the yellow stripe as well as the smart chip to allow for a transition to new technology without interrupting current service offerings. When a contactless smart chip reader is installed, card users will be able to “tap” (hold the card very close to the reader) their card against the reader to execute transactions. If you encounter a magnetic stripe reader, swipe the yellow stripe.

The goal is to replace all swipe readers with contactless smart chip readers; including parking gates and computer lab print release systems. Parts of the current system are running on antiquated technology and need to be replaced as soon as possible. Other parts have been updated over the years and will remain compatible with the new system.

All Michigan Tech students, faculty, and staff will be required to receive a new HuskyCard with the contactless smart chip technology. You can exchange your current ID in the library from Aug. 26 until Sept. 15. Save time by updating your picture and preferred name at HuskyCard Photo Upload.

Note that all HuskyCards now have a 16-digit MasterCard number on the front of the card, as well as a black magnetic stripe. The black stripe should only be used for debit MasterCard transactions. The 16-digit number is associated with an optional prepaid debit account, and is only activated if one chooses to “register” their HuskyCard. As a result, new precautions must be taken by campus departments that use the HuskyCard. For example, the temporary holding of another person’s card in all cases is no longer appropriate, and new business processes must be put in place. The HuskyCard should be treated as if it were a personal credit card.

More information about the new HuskyCard is available at HuskyCard.

For questions about the proper handling of HuskyCards, please contact it-help@mtu.edu.