Oxford Materials IT Committee Meeting

A meeting of the Department of Materials IT Committee was held at 11am on Tuesday 5th May 2012 in the PR Meeting Room.


  • 1 Apologies for absence and Membership of the Committee
  • 2 Matters oustanding from the previous meeting
  • 3 Matters for discussion (attached)
  • 4 Head of IT report (attached)
  • 5 Finances (PJW)
  • 6 AOB
  • 7 Date and time of next meeting: Tuesday 23rd October 2012 at 11am in PR meeting room


See minutes below.




The report below summarises activities since the last meeting of ITC, as categorised by topic. The report is intended for record rather than for discussion at ITC meeting although queries may arise.

Admin Network Several software packages were upgraded due to security alerts. No major changes.

Teaching LaboratoryAll computers were given a check-over before Trinity term.

Lecture theatres / meeting rooms All rooms checked at end of term and before start of term.

Digital Print-room Printing usage has been low at this time of year.

Library no changes.

MML Regular security updates of desktops. A further 8 nodes have been purchased for Ironman. JaMS group have been make heavy use of Lumerical on kittel node 22 and are being asked to migrate to different hardware.

EM Ron Doole has retired part-time and is being replaced by Adam Papworth from 9 May 2012. The EM door entry system failed and was repaired by a reinstallation of Windows98.

MFFP Helped specify, obtain quotes and install Synology DS3612xs large scale storage for Mahmoud Mostafavi’s x-ray tomorgraphy reconstruction data.

OMCS Remote access to Jeol6480LV by Cellmark seems functional. The BegbrokeNano website is being decommissioned since Joomla 1.5.25 is end-of-life. Paul Warren has been working with Susan Warren to populate the replacement site using CMSmadesimple.


PJW attended the international CMSmadesimple Geekmoot in Northampton for 2days. Security updates were applied to (9) pmwiki sites and (10) cmsmadesimple sites. Several websites are under development to replace existing sites:

http://begbrokenano.materials.ox.ac.uk (cmsmadesimple) OMCS/Susan Warren
http://www-em.materials.ox.ac.uk (pmwiki) EM/Gareth Hughes
http://www-eia.materials.ox.ac.uk (pmwiki) AIK

Publications Only a few business cards at this time of year. PJW still unable to find time to create RIP2012 document.

Network Begbroke went offline for 5hrs due to a switch crash resolved by KS. Various switches were firmware updated due to faults. Jeol2200 router failed and was replaced incorrectly resulting in OxCERT reporting a possible Zeus infection. The system was disinfection and the router reconfigured correctly..

Security Firefox version 3.6.xx went end-of-life. IT staff managed the department-wide upgrade to firefox 12 on hundreds of devices. IT staff also pro-actively managed patching all systems against the RemoteDesktop vulnerability. Jeol2200 pc’s were disinfected after the router replacement. A new virus was isolated on oums-omcs-spw and Sophos subsequently released an IDE. The department avoided being affected by the Mac Flashback trojan.

Disposal The IT storeroom is full and disposal will be arranged soon.

Software Abaqus and Comsol maintenances were renewed (eventually!).

Disaster Recovery and Backup Failed hard disk in ironman RAID array was replaced.  The temperature sensor alarm system in the HR serverroom activated over Easter weekend due to dead battery in a senor (resolved by CRMG and KS). EM door entry system control pc failed and was reinstalled.

New Device registrations February 17; March 4; April 10;


A meeting of the Department of Materials IT Committee was held at 11am on Tuesday 31st January 2012 in the PR Meeting Room. The following people attended: APD, PJW, AMC, KS, CA, RT, SCB, JDM, SS, EG.

1. Apologies for Absence and Membership of the Committee

Since Grigore Moldovan is leaving and JCCP is currently non-functional PJW will circulate a request for a representative to fellows@materials.

Action: PJW

2. Matters arising from the minutes

(Items marked with * were not for discussion at the meeting)

a) *IT disaster recovery plans (Minute 2a)
PJW will expand documentation to include more details about these servers and services which need to include service/server location, failover design, backup location(s) and specific configurations. Levels of ‘disaster need to be defines and procedures to recover services written.

Action: PJW

b) *Podcasting (Minute 2b)
There has been no progress converting the schools liaison audio material into a format which could be used to start a series of audio podcasts.

Action: PJW/SCB

c) *PC maintenance – OUCS computer hardware breakdown service (Minute 2c)

CA and PJW have started a review of the warranty status of department-owned equipment in order assess the extent of our liability and hence be able to calculate the potential cost of wide-spread use of the scheme. This task is continuing. (No action since last meeting)

Action: PJW/CA

d) IT strategic plan (Minute 2d)
PJW still needs to rework the draft strategy document into a questionnaire.

Action: PJW/APD

e) *Server Infrastructure upgrade (Minute 2e)

The virtualising of the Department servers, including the file server replacement is on-going. There is a question of load to the SAN occasionally causing non responsiveness. For this reason further testing of the file servers is being undertaken. A plan to migrate groups of users is also being formulated. One or more of these groups may be asked to help with load testing. The overall aim is to migrate all users with the minimum of disruption.

Action: AMC

f) *Photocopying and Printing (Minute 2g)
When time permits the network printers will be migrated from the old iPrint server with Pcounter print monitoring to the new iPrint servers with Papercut-MF print monitoring.

Action: AMC

g) Draft Information Security Policy (Minute 3b)
PJW outlined the status of the new University Information Security Policy. A one-page précis of the policy was presented at the meeting however the implications of the new policy are significant and wide ranging therefore PJW was requested to generate a more detailed action plan for circulation to the committee for input.

Action: PJW

h) JCCG Summer Questionnaire (Minute 6a)
SS circulated draft IT specific questions for the next JCCG summer questionnaire requesting feedback from the committee. PJW commented that the general nature of the questions was good and that more specific questions were not needed. No further comments were received.

3 Matters for Discussion

There were no matters for discussion.

4. Head of IT Report

A written report was circulated with the agenda. (see above)

5. Finances

There was no discussion of finances except to note that the annual budget planning meeting occurred and a budget submitted. APD noted that the department finances remain difficult with an increasing predicted deficit.

6. AOB

a) Website – Athena Swan
APD reported that the department has applied for Athena Swan Silver status and will therefore need to develop some content for the website.

Action: APD/PJW

b) Website – Contacts
APD also noted that the contact info on the website needs improving to make it easier to contact people according to job function.

Action: PJW

APD reported that Deputy Administrator (Research & Finance) Toni Wheeler will be leaving on 1st August 2012 and a replacement is being sought.

7. Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting is on Tuesday 23rd October 2012 at 11am in PR meeting room.

The meeting closed at 11.40am

PJW noted that given the lack of progress on outstanding items it is possible that an additional meeting will be convened in July.