Service management teams from Fermilab, Allstate and Argonne gathered at Fermilab on April 24 to collaborate on common service management issues. Discussions focused on how each organization performs configuration management, asset management and change management and dove deep into the people, processes and tools each organization uses. The half-day collaboration was useful, says Service Manager Tammy Whited, since the Fermilab team was able to get a better understanding of how other organizations handle common issues in these areas. “We were able to exchange ideas and help each other advance our thinking about how to do service management in a practical and smart way.” Plans are underway to meet again on May 21 at Allstate, where the team will learn more about KPIs, release management and IT service continuity versus disaster-recovery testing.
Liz Buckley-Geer has been asked to be on the National Optical Astronomy Observatory Users Committee
SharePoint training for end-users held on the third Friday of each month from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Sign up in TRAIN.
SharePoint training for those with designer-level permission will be offered beginning in June.Training for end-users is a pre-requisite. Sign up in TRAIN.
ReadyTalk Service Overview video presentation covering access methods; using web conferencing to share real-time content, perform collaborative editing or to enable another individual to present content; collaboration tips and more. The presentation is free, and you do not have to have a ReadyTalk account to view it (You are required to provide a name and email address.) More information about the ReadyTalk service is available on this Fermilab Videoconferencing page.
If you have an outreach activity, a presentation for the FCC lobby display or questions about how to get involved, please contact Ruth Pordes or Margaret Votava.
STEM Career Expo
Andrew Norman explains to a student how the NOvA experiment uses liquid scintillator (glowing mineral oil), fiber optics and high-speed electronics to detect subatomic particles at the STEM Career Expo held at Fermilab April 10. Click for large image
Several members of the Computing Sector participated in the STEM Career Expo last month to talk to high-school students and their parents about potential careers in science, technology, engineering and math and in particular, to increase their awareness of and enthusiasm for the scientific computing that is happening in their own neighborhood.
We had constant traffic at the booth, and the kids were really interested and captivated. The Wilson Hall One West conference room was overflowing for the panel in which Wayne Baisley talked about computer security. He had a unique personal story, and his remarks were picked up on and questions were asked by several people. The other panelists really liked his kick-off: "study math and science; everything else falls into place." Andrew Norman and Greg Deuerling had a live experiment with light fibers and mineral oil, and the visitors were continually captivated by their enthusiasm. Bonnie King and Connie Sieh related to the crowd with hands-on responsive displays--the latest in "buzz" tech--and Bonnie described what she does and how she got here enthusiastically.
Amit Belani helped all around and kept many students engaged. Lisa Giacchetti was her usual calm self, handling all comers with care and attention and making sure people did not get left waiting. Kimberly Myles stepped up to set up the display and make sure everything was there and in order and obtained bookmarks which are available for other events.
The expo organizers made a sign just for the chief information officer, and Vicky readily helped to bring people into the exhibits who were passing by.
Finally, Chris Stoughton talked to students about astrophysics, borrowing the DECam model from the WH 7th floor to show how we work to build astronomical instruments. He also was on a panel discussion. "The students asked many questions about astrophysics, science and Fermilab," Stoughton said. "Several asked me to explain just what it is I do all day!"
Thanks to all of you who made this an excellent event!
Now Playing in the FCC lobby
Lustre at FNAL by Alexander Kulyavtsev
DAMIC CONNIE and MKIDs project report by Gustavo Cancelo (requires certificate)
Building the LBNE Experiment by Eileen Berman
Fermilab Strategy short document by the Fermilab Directorate
(5, 10, 15 & 20+ years)
Phil Demar - 28 years
Darryl Wohlt - 28 years
Keith Chadwick - 26 years
Tim Doody - 22 years
Daniel Elvira - 22 years
Krzysztof Genser - 22 years
Cheri McKenna - 21 years
Jerry Guglielmo - 15 years
Ian Fisk - 10 years
Keith Chadwick, Gabriele Garzoglio, Steve Timm, Seo-Young Noh and Hyunwoo Kim in 2011. Noh and Kim, both from KISTI, worked in the Grid and Cloud Computing department in 2011 on virtualization and cloud technologies as applied to FermiCloud, an infrastructure-as-a-service for the Fermilab stakeholders. Kim has since become a regular employee of the department.
Click for large image
Aesop’s fable about the difficulty of breaking a bundle of sticks compared to the ease of snapping a single twig demonstrates that “in union there is strength,” a moral that can be extended to apply to the greater effectiveness of collaboration above individual effort. Experimental physicists are acutely aware of this: the CDF and D0 collaborations discovered the top quark in 1995; an international collaboration at FNAL announced the first direct evidence for the tau neutrino; and last July the ATLAS and CMS collaborations announced the observation of the Higgs boson. This emphasis on the power of collaboration is also at the heart of a new project to federate cloud resources between FNAL and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI).
The initiative has been coordinated by Gabriele Garzoglio, associate head of the Grid and Cloud Computing department at FNAL, on behalf of the FermiCloud project led by Steve Timm, and Seo-Young Noh, senior researcher at KISTI’s Global Science Experimental Data Hub Center (GSDC); it was enabled by FNAL management and Haengjin Jang, head of GSDC at KISTI. Both institutions have been working on a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), a contract that forms a mutually beneficial agreement between a DOE institution and another organization. The CRADA defines the project, including the deliverables, scope and schedule. It also governs the relationship between FNAL and KISTI, including budget and intellectual property, and raises any potential environmental impacts.
The CRADA process, which started in November, relied on agreement between many disparate groups and offices. However, celebrations are in order because the CRADA, signed by Fermilab Chief Operating Officer Jack Anderson and KISTI President Yeongseo Park, has been approved by DOE. As the cloud federation project moves forward, it will now be strengthened by this collaborative agreement.
The aim of the union, says Garzoglio, is to further scientific collaboration by showing proof of principle of a federated cloud infrastructure. Currently, many scientists use the grid to run their computing jobs. Though very successful, the system is limited because users have to fit their jobs into a specific and static environment. In contrast, the cloud system will allow users to “create their own virtual machine with their own environment, software and application,” making it more flexible, both in terms of jobs that can run on it and in the amount of computing resources available for a project.
Different cloud infrastructures, however, allow access to their resources via different mechanisms, complicating interoperability for the users. Under this CRADA, KISTI and FNAL will demonstrate a solution to this problem by sharing the same infrastructure and allowing projects to expand across their combined resources. This will make it easier for users to submit and run their jobs without having to adjust to a new computing environment. Moreover, if KISTI has a downtime while FNAL is running a big project, for example, then FNAL can utilize KISTI’s resources if necessary, and vice-versa. “We want to lower the barrier of entrance to using the cloud for our scientists,” says Garzoglio.
Through this CRADA contract for a cloud federation, therefore, KISTI and FNAL will prove once more Aesop’s maxim that “in union there is strength.”
Core Computing Division spotlight
Facility Operations/Facilities Support Services
As a member of the Facility Operations team, my role encompasses several different activities and projects as well as maintenance and support within the sector’s data centers, buildings, offices and support spaces. I perform daily walkthroughs of the computing centers to monitor and identify potential infrastructure issues and then initiate notification for any corrective maintenance.
Some of my core areas of responsibility include building and computer room drawings, environmental monitoring and documentation of electrical-distribution changes. Additionally, I track power and energy usage for the computing centers. Using Aperture or Visio drawing software packages, I create drawings to illustrate, for example, the relocation of equipment, locations of fire doors, heat pumps, emergency lights and signs and many others.
Monitoring is an essential function of our department, and we use software and hardware to monitor temperature and humidity in our computer rooms and utility areas . The system sends alerts when the temperature or humidity falls outside certain levels. I install and configure the devices and sensors and maintain a list of IP addresses and other information about them.
Finally, I serve as an emergency warden for the FCC second-floor general office area. All this work helps the Facility Operations department safely provide a high-quality physical environment and core services to support the facilities needs of the sector and the people and organizations that we serve.
Scientific Computing Division spotlight
Rick Van Conant
Scientific Computing Facilities/High Performance Parallel Computing Facilities
I have been working at the laboratory for 26 years. In my present job with the Lattice QCD group, I ensure that all of our computing clusters run error-free by maintaining all the hardware and addressing some of the software problems that arise. If there are issues with the worker nodes we maintain, I arrange for the nodes to be returned to the vendors for investigation. The goal of all this, of course, is to keep the utilization of the clusters at a maximum. In fact, the average up-time of the LQCD clusters over the past five-plus years is approximately 98 percent.
In addition, I often work directly with users to help them understand any problems they may have running jobs on our clusters and to determine why their jobs have not completed successfully, whether from faulty equipment or a software issue. Currently, I am working on projects that will monitor our network with graphing capabilities that will show us how we might optimize throughput.
I am also a full-time student in DeVry University’s online program pursuing my Bachelor of Science degree in network and communication management. My studies have given me a broader view of how the lab will be moving to newer communications technologies and will help my group continue to understand evolving network connectivity and keep both the clusters and network running as smoothly as possible. Working and going to school full-time definitely requires time management. I spend approximately two hours a night and time on the weekends studying and getting my coursework completed. Both my wife and I are looking forward to me being finished in August.
In my spare time, I help out at our local church and with our grandchildren. This is a great pleasure, since they live so close to us and we are able to do this.
It seems that 26 years go by so quickly when you really enjoy working here and working with the people that you come across.
The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, or EPEAT, is an environmental rating system that helps purchasers evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks, monitors and other electronic equipment based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT also provides a clear and consistent set of performance criteria for the design of products and provides an opportunity for manufacturers to secure market recognition for efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their products.
In 2009, Executive Order 13514 (Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance) was signed requiring all government agencies to ensure that 95 percent of their electronic equipment purchased is EPEAT–registered, which means data about the equipment's environmental impact is reported. At this time, the Computing Sector set up a program that gives preference to orders of desktop computers, laptops and monitors that are EPEAT-registered. A further requirement of the executive order was fulfilled by ensuring that networked printers were configured to print double sided and to have power management enabled.
Now the EPEAT registry has expanded to include imaging equipment (copiers, fax machines, scanners, printers, all-in-one machines and televisions that are 15” or larger). Still, 95 percent of our purchases must be EPEAT-registered. The EPEAT Registry will give you a list of what brands/models qualify, or you can open up a Service Desk ticket to get a recommendation based on your requirements.
~ Amy Pavnica
Service Desk:SLA 101: How to view the dashboard
Last month, we showed you how to view SLAs associated with a service desk ticket. Once a ticket is no longer active, the SLA results are recorded on a dashboard. Here, we explain how to view this dashboard to see performance metrics:
1. Log in to ServiceNow.
2. Under “Service Management Reports” there are two views, Service Area Dashboard and Service Offering Dashboard.
The Service Area Dashboard is a high-level view that summarizes SLA results for all of the service offerings underneath that service.
The Service Offering Dashboard is a more detailed view that shows the SLA results at the service offering level.
View knowledge base article with graphics (SNOW log in required. If not logged in, you must first log in, then click on the link above).
SharePoint: Quick guide for those with "contribute" permission
A new quick guide is available for SharePoint end-users that highlights the basic procedures for those with "contribute" permission or higher to work with documents and lists. This is a condensed version of those found in the existing SharePoint End-user Training manual. Topics covered in the quick guide include: editing a document’s properties, restoring documents from the recycle bin, moving multiple documents from one file to another, updating multiple list items and creating personal views for a list or library.
[View the Contributor Quick Guide]