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Minutes of November 13th, 2008 ITAC-NI Meeting:

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    Link to ACTION ITEMS from meeting


    1. Approve prior minutes
    2. New charge from the CIO: develop list of five high priority recommendations
    3. Request to move meeting time back 30 minutes


    This meeting was scheduled in CSE E507 at 1:00 pm on Thursday, November 13th and was made available via videoconference with live-streaming and recording for future playback. Prior announcement was made via the Net-Managers-L list. The meeting was called to order a few minutes late by ITAC-NI chairman, Dan Miller, Network Coordinator of CNS Network Services.

    ATTENDEES: Thirteen people attended this meeting locally. There were two attendees via Polycom videoconference but there are no records of how many may have listened into the stream via a web browser using the web interface.

    Nine members were present: Charles Benjamin, Clint Collins, Dan Cromer, Stephen Kostewicz (via Polycom), Steve Lasley, Chris Leopold, Tom Livoti, Dan Miller, Handsford (Ty) Tyler.

    Five members were absent: Erik Deumens, Tim Fitzpatrick, Craig Gorme, Shawn Lander and Allan West (proxy for CLAS).

    Six visitors participated as well: Jeff Capehart, Josh Davis, Dennis Brown (via Polycom), Todd Hester, John Madey and John Pankow.

    Viewing the recording

    You may view the recording via the web at Currently, you will need to click on the "Top-level folder" link, then the "watch" link next to the "ITAC-NI Meeting_13Nov08_12.45" item. This will likely be moved into the ITAC-NI folder shortly. Cross-platform access may not be available; on the Windows platform you will have to install the Codian codec.

    Audio archive

    An archive of audio from the meeting is available.

    1) Approve prior minutes

    No corrections or additions were offered and the minutes were approved without further comment.

    2) New charge from the CIO: develop list of five high priority recommendations

    Background on our role in the CIO Action Plan

    Dan Miller related that Dr. Frazier is working on an IT Action Plan at the highest administration levels looking at our overall IT priorities and attempting to decide which items we should try doing now and which are more appropriately left to some later date.

    In a meeting with Dr. Frazier a few weeks ago, the various ITAC subcommittee chairs were each asked to develop a list of five high priority recommendations. Dan had been hoping for more detailed instructions from the CIO on this matter but those have not been forthcoming.

    In the meantime, Tim Fitzpatrick had indicated to Dan that his suggestion would be to focus on areas for investment because progress with IT at UF comes quickly down to an issue of money. While sustainable funding and governance are important issues, Dan feels that our input would not generally be sought nor well received on these latter matters; rather, they are being looked into at the highest administration levels.

    Current status somewhat in question due to Kyle Cavanaugh leaving

    Dan Miller pointed out that the announcement of Kyle Cavanaugh's leaving somewhat clouds the picture as he was the prime motivator behind UF appointing a CIO. Consequently, it remains to be seen how much action we will see in the near future. In any case, since Dan has not been told that the initiative for the action plan is on hold, Dan said that we will now discuss items for inclusion.

    Thirteen items were proposed for further discussion

    Based on input from other committee members, Dan Miller distributed a list of 13 prospective items. These items were each considered individually by the committee and evaluated for inclusion in a "Top Five IT Action Plan" which our committee will develop for submission to the CIO.

    Topics excluded as out-of-scope

    Dan Miller expressed his personal interest in limiting topics to matters within the scope of our committee. Consequently, he had not included a number of suggestions which had been submitted by various individuals. At Chris Leopold's suggestion, Dan Miller agreed to forward these issues on to other committees for consideration rather than simply dropping them entirely. These included two not among the 13 up for discussion and others of the 13 which were later decided as best handled elsewhere:

    Some topics were omitted due to implementation already being in progress

    Chris Leopold asked about the status of switch information access by unit IT staff and Dan Miller responded that this "Network Self-service Application" is still under development. He had checked on that recently with Marcus Morgan and the project is running a bit behind schedule. They expect to have the ready in early 2009. Dan Miller expressed his opinion that this need not go on the list as it is a project already in progress.

    Dan Miller had included two of Charles Benjamin's suggestions ("More efficient use of UF class B IP address" and "Enable DHCP snooping on access ports") in that category as well. Implementation of those is already in progress.

    The list of 13 topics for discussion follows:

    2-1) Continue investment in WP and VoIP. Complete current/pending project before starting new projects. Increase investment in WP. Increase the pace and scope of WP rollout.

    Dan Miller opened discussion on this topic by questioning whether or not current projects should be included. He also raised a distinction between continuing things as they are currently and increasing our investment in such things. Ty pointed out that just because CNS has a plan on paper to finish the Wall-plate build-out within 4-5 years does not mean that the people who provide the money have a plan about how to pay for that--even though they have committed to doing so.

    While it was generally agreed that continuation of the Wall-Plate rollout was an important item for inclusion, Ty expressed his opinion that Wall-Plate should be made mandatory for all units and for the university to figure out a funding model to provide for it.

    Has the return on investment been calculated for Wall-Plate?

    Clint Collins asked if anything had been done to provide evidence that the Wall-Plate will improve both services and overall costs. Dan Miller responded that this is a difficult thing to provide. Testimonials could be obtained from successful implementations, however. Clint feels that such things would be important in lending credence to inclusion of this matter as a UF-wide priority.

    Ty disagreed with the need for this, saying that Wall-Plate is a no-brainer at the level of the Senior VP for Administration.

    Clarification on what is meant by Wall-Plate

    Charles Benjamin asked about this and Dan Miller replied that Wall-Plate entailed building networking from the outside plant fiber inwards to the edge port. Tom Livoti expressed his opinion that "core networking" needs to be all inclusive. Without the core one cannot have the edge devices and the edge devices need the core. All that is the same cost. If you are going to cost your network you must put those two together.

    Items should be titled appropriately for upper administration

    Jeff Capehart pointed out that Wall-Plate is our action item to achieve some goal. He suggested that using a term such as "universally provided networking services" or "standardized building network services" would be a better choice of wording. This issue needs to be titled in a way that will convey to upper administration what we are trying to achieve from their investment.

    Dan Miller mentioned that items 1-5 all relate to Wall-Plate in some fashion, but were broken out due to having different funding plans and rollout strategies.

    Tom Livoti added that it is important to include the "Whys" with these items because that is what upper administration will want to know.

    Need for sustainable funding and robust governance models are presumed

    After further discussion it was decided that a preface would be added to our recommendations which emphasizes that we assume sustainable funding models and robust governance for IT are already at the top of the CIO's list. While we agree those our outside our scope here, we do want to reinforce their extreme importance.

    2-2) Invest in Building Network cabling and other infrastructure improvements. Help buy down the cost of entering WP.

    This item addresses IFAS's concerns over the high costs of joining the Wall-Plate.

    2-3) Invest in VoIP. Make a VoIP mandate.

    This is an on-going project which we should decide whether or not to include on our list.

    2-4) Invest in Outside Plant (OSP). This would allow more buildings to be connected to the campus network sooner.

    This is yet another on-going project of concern. IFAS in particular has a large number of buildings still not connected.

    2-5) Invest more in wireless. Current roll out moves with WP, but wireless technology is a moving target

    Here is still another on-going project. Though this is currently tied to Wall-Plate there is a question as to whether or not its rapidly changing nature deserves special refresh consideration.

    Increased funding is recommended within an augmented approach

    Dan Miller made the point that demand for such services is growing and that we should consider including this item on our list because of that. This is, however, a tall order across such a large campus. Dan feels there should be some increase in allocation to these efforts but it shouldn't become a massive rollout to blanket the campus with current wireless technology.

    We shouldn't forget that wireless would entail cost savings over wired connections

    Clint Collins noted that wireless is a whole lot cheaper than pulling wire. If wireless improvements continue we might find ourselves in a situation down-the-road where our investment in wired connections begins to appear less justifiable.

    2-6) Invest in IP Video Conferencing. This would allow migration from older dedicated network paths for video, and save money on new OSP projects.

    Analog cabling is still being deployed

    Currently analog video cabling is still being installed to provide a dedicated video connection. Replacing those efforts with digital service over IP would seem to have a number of advantages as our investment would then leverage across all our various networking needs--including VoIP.

    Recommend that cabling investment be redirected towards a totally digital solution

    This issue would be an issue for AT alone, except that it impacts outside plant costs. After further discussion it was decided that the term "conferencing" should be removed and that this item should be among those on our list.

    2-7) Ensure that UFAD is adequately funded and staffed.

    Chris Leopold was concerned that this matter be addressed--if not by our committee then by some other committee. He feels UFAD is critical to so many aspects of our networking environment that it would be a great mistake not to raise the issue of its support.

    Concern over the proprietary nature of UFAD

    Clint Collins felt it important that UFAD be consider "a directory" but not "the directory" system for UF. He based that on its proprietary nature saying that an enterprise solution must accommodate all platforms.

    Topic more appropriate to the ITAC-DI

    While agreeing on the overall importance of UFAD for UF, most felt that this was both a matter for ITAC-DI as well as an issue that could not and would not be overlooked by that group.

    2-8) QoS to save bandwidth

    Costs are in personnel not hardware

    Dan Miller said that CNS has backed away from this because of the level of investment in people this would entail. To them the benefits seem relatively small compared to the costs for training, troubleshooting and reliability. CNS looked at this very closely and tried to figure out a way this could work for us; the problem is basically that it has to be end-to-end. CNS does utilize traffic policing on narrow WAN pipes where it is really needed. In most other cases it makes more sense to build-out capacity to handle anticipated bandwidth.

    Not a topic for inclusion on our list

    Ty expressed his opinion that individual units could already implement this as needed without asking permission. As Dan had mentioned, the cost is not in the equipment but rather in the personnel. QoS isn't so much a way to save bandwidth as it is a method to ensure that critical network connections (e.g., VoIP) remain intact. It was felt that this could be implemented as needed without the need of any centralized agreement, mandate or support. It was also felt that this item was too trivial a detail for inclusion on our list.

    2-9) Segregated wall-plate network for personally-managed computers. Or, segregated network for private data.

    Such systems are generally devoted to wireless

    This item came from Kathy Bergsma. This relates to the WIPA system which was originally designed for Walk-up prior to the explosion of wireless. While there are a few wired ports out there, WIPA is now mostly wireless. CNS takes the stance that wired WIPA ports are for mobile or transitory populations.

    HealthNet has long-range plans for wired but is yet to implement those

    Dan Miller asked if HealthNet was using their NAC system for wired connections. Tom said they were not. Ty added that they do have a plan in place for wired connections that is yet to be implemented. Wired computers will need to be registered in such a way that they will either go onto a secure network within the HSC or out to the commodity Internet.

    Topic referred back to ITAC-ISM

    Overall, this was felt to be more of a security issue and it was decided to refer this item back to the ITAC-ISM for possible inclusion on their list. If they decide what they want to do then we can advise them on how to accomplish it. Funding is clearly an issue, however; the costs of expanding NAC usage to wired users would be enormous. Tom Livoti estimated that this would triple our costs.

    2-10) Discontinue service to Greeks. Time spent on security incidents for them.

    This item came from Kathy as well. Ty stated that this topic is a management issue and is not a topic of strategic importance to UF. It was agreed that this would not make our "top five" list.

    2-11) Limit Peer to Peer downloads.

    Topic originated from the ITAC-DI

    Charles Benjamin said this item came from Steve Pritz and the ITAC-DI. Charles had suggested that instead of focusing on "good data" we might focus rather on "bad data" as a means of improving our overall bandwidth. Peer-to-peer is one example of bad data; another is people going to web sites which they have no business accessing from campus.

    Topic referred back to ITAC-ISM

    This issue was again seen to be a matter for more aligned with the ITAC-ISM as it relates primarily to security.

    2-12) Establish a position on broadband wireless as a substitute for wired broadband.

    Clarification of topic

    Tom Livoti stated that, to him, "broadband" meant Cox cable; he assumes, however, that this item refers to changing out wireless for wired ports on your current network infrastructure. Dan Miller noted that this item came from Steve Pritz of the ITAC-DI.

    The relative balance is deemed important by some

    Clint Collins felt that the relative investment in these two was a valid question for consideration. We need to look ahead to estimate the proper mixed implementation of various access methods, as those will be changing over time.

    Wireless viewed as augmenting but not replacing wired connections

    Chris Leopold made the point that "augment" would be a better term than "substitute". He feels that, due to bandwidth, security and a host of other issues, wireless will remain as a method of augmenting rather than replacing our wired connections.

    Classrooms should not be wired to the individual desk

    Dan Miller stated his view that wiring each desk in classrooms and auditoriums is not a good means of allocating our limited networking funds. Tom agreed that this was better handled by providing higher density wireless WAPs where needed. Contrary to this, Microbiology and the new Graduate Business building have classrooms and auditoriums which are installing individual wired connections.

    This topic is impossible to take a useful stance on regarding future directions

    Ty suggested that this is not a position we can take a stance on. There are simply too many factors involved to permit us to take a particular position on future investment in this regard. Dan Miller agreed that the best we could hope for on this would be to make a statement on where we are currently.

    2-13) Tie network management together with asset management.

    This came from Steve Pritz and the ITAC-DI. It was mentioned that such a system would only make sense if it translated into real saving such as supporting automatic inventory of UF property without our current need for scanning individual machines and network devices. As that level of integration was deemed highly unlikely, it was decided that this was not worth including as a top strategic item--and certainly not one for our group.


    The list of thirteen items was whittled down basically to items two through six with an overall statement that a sustainable funding model and a robust governance structure would be assumed.

    Dan Miller said that he would take a stab at word smithing these to account for our discussion here today. He stated his intention of getting a draft back to us for consideration prior to forwarding those on to the CIO.

    Post meeting material: ITAC-NI's "Top Five IT Action Plan" list

    Dan Miller reported on Nov. 19th that the following was submitted to and accepted by the CIO on our behalf.

    Dr. Frazier,
    ITAC-NI assumes that sustainable funding models and robust governance 
    for IT are already at the top of your list. The following list takes 
    that into account, and the committee recommends the following 
    priorities for additional IT investment at UF.
    1. Make standardized Building Networking universal. Invest in building 
    network cabling and other infrastructure improvements to lower the 
    cost of entering the CNS Wall-Plate program. This will provide a more 
    reliable overall network with efficiencies of scale.
    2. Make Voice over IP universal. Mandate the choice of VoIP whenever a 
    change is needed, and invest in subsidies to allow Units to replace 
    existing telephone systems with VoIP. This will save UF money, and 
    provide increased service.
    3. Improve wireless network coverage. Students, staff and faculty are 
    more mobile, and rely more heavily on the wireless network. The 
    technology also changes more rapidly than wired networking. Invest to 
    accelerate wireless deployments with current technology.
    4. Expand the UF network to include more buildings that do not have 
    networking. This would allow more buildings to be connected to the 
    campus network and also allow VoIP. Invest in Outside Plant (OSP) 
    improvements, and additional core network ports.
    5. Invest in IP Video. This will leverage the current high speed data 
    network, and provide improved video service. It will also allow cost 
    avoidance for dedicated network paths for legacy video.

    3) Request to move meeting time back 30 minutes

    Dan Cromer moved that we consider meeting 30 minutes later in order to allow time to arrive here after our lunch hours. His proposal was quickly seconded and Dan Miller responded that he would look into the scheduling of the facilities to see if that would be possible.

    Action Items

    1. Finish drafting our "Top Five IT Action Plan" list and get that forwarded to the CIO.
    2. Move meeting time back by 30 minutes to 1:30 PM.
    3. Subscribe Dan Miller, ITAC-NI chair, to all other ITAC committee lists for collaboration purposes (still pending from previous meeting).
    4. Update our official membership list (still pending from previous meeting).


    Next Meeting

    The next regular meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, December 11th.

last edited 19 November 2008 by Steve Lasley