Monday, 31 August 2015 17:07

UAB joins eduroam network

UAB is becoming a member of the eduroam® WiFi network and rolling out the new service in September. Eduroam

eduroam® provides a free WiFi service that allows UAB users to log in to WiFi at participating universities with their BlazerIDs. Representatives of participating eduroam universities can also log on to the WiFi network at UAB with credentials from their institutions. Click here to learn more about eduroam and find out participating institutions.

With eduroam’s network, user credentials are not revealed to the institution at which a user joins but instead are only revealed to their home institution, providing an extra measure of security for visiting users.

eduroam (education roaming) is a secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community.

View a map of participating institutions.

Connection guides for various devices:

Max OSX

Apple iOS

Windows 7

Puri Bangalore

Researchers at UAB need a robust computer network to support their world-class work.


A new grant awarded to Puri Bangalore, associate professor and director of the Collaborative Computing Laboratory, will strengthen that network and increase its speed — tenfold.

Bangalore, who also serves as assistant director of the UAB Center for Information Assurance and Joint Forensics Research, received a $498,443 grant from the National Science Foundation to create a ScienceDMZ, a network to be operated by UAB IT that will allow UAB researchers to more easily and quickly connect with each other and with other institutions.

With UAB researchers working on projects that generate vast amounts of data, they need to be able to upload and download files and images quickly and securely, Bangalore said.

The goal in building the ScienceDMZ is to provide UAB researchers with 10-gigabit connections and key research labs with 40-gigabit connections, allowing researchers to communicate with each other and with researchers at other institutions at far greater speeds.

“Internally we can move faster, plus we can go outside, whether to upload or download data,” Bangalore said. “This promotes collaboration. Instead of waiting for data to transfer, researchers can be working.”

Bangalore said the network is essential to UAB’s success in research.

“If we don’t do this, we’ll be left behind,” Bangalore said. “Networking is the foundation. We now live in a digital world. Everything is digitally driven.”
This grant provides the foundation for UAB to build the 100 Gbps network — giving researchers a network they can depend on as they would electricity or water service at home.
“In an ideal world you would want (researchers) to take this for granted,” he said. “We just expect things to work. But obviously, someone needs to make sure they work.”

Researcher awards

UAB IT is building the largest academic compute cluster in Alabama and a powerhouse network that will be the foundation for groundbreaking research at the university.

A series of grants and other financial pledges will strengthen the current network that supports researchers at UAB, enabling better collaboration and innovation.

UAB has received $2 million in funding from several entities in recent weeks:

  • Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Curt Carver, working in partnership with numerous departments, received a $500,000 grant from the Alabama Innovation Fund for a three petabyte research storage array.
  • UAB IT received $500,000 from the university’s Mission Support Fund, the largest grant to date from that fund, for research computing equipment.
  • Associate Professor Puri Bangalore, director of the Collaborative Computing Laboratory, received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to create a ScienceDMZ and separate research network that will allow UAB researchers to more easily and quickly connect with each other and other institutions.
  • Dr. Richard Marchese and the Office of Research and Economic Development have pledged $500,000 in ongoing operating funds for research computing.

HPC septembernewsletter“Advancing research and discovery is a fundamental pillar of our institutional mission. This enterprise-wide strategic investment in our research computing infrastructure is a necessary step to providing our researchers with a competitive edge and propelling UAB forward as one of the most dynamic and productive research universities of the 21st century,” President Ray L. Watts said.

Considered together, these enhancements will quadruple UAB’s current computing capability and storage and lead to a more than tenfold increase in networking speeds. Increased computational power adds capacity and will enhance the performance of UAB’s scientific modeling, imaging, genetic and statistical workloads. The first purchase under the new funding is being installed this summer, a new cluster that will be integrated into the existing research computing system, where it will complement existing storage and OpenStack on-premises cloud computing resources.

The UAB research committee, led by Dean Iwan Alexander, is considering even more ambitious capabilities as a component of a research computing strategic plan so as to empower UAB researchers. UAB’s motto of “knowledge that will change your world” is increasingly being created at UAB by UAB researchers.  

Fiber cables serving Denman Hall were accidentally damaged by a construction crew Thursday, affecting service to the UAB network, physical security network and Apogee ResNet at the residence hall.

Telephone service at Denman was not affected.

Construction crews have begun replacing the conduit and fiber cables, with service estimated to be restored by early next week.

We apologize for the interruption of service, which was out of our control.
Every day, the UAB Office of Annual Giving reaches out to more than 1,000 UAB friends and alumni through its student phone center.

A simple technology change provided by UAB IT’s telecommunications unit helped the office better serve potential donors — and helped UAB’s Annual Fund collect more philanthropic gifts to support schools, departments and libraries across campus.

Initially, the Office of Annual Giving asked UAB IT to change its unlisted number projected on caller ID to a live number that would direct back to the office, said Randy Kinder, senior director of Annual Giving for UAB. In just one day, UAB IT fulfilled the request.

“Be careful what you ask for,” Kinder said.

The result of the change was positive — but had the Annual Giving staff, who typically fielded two to three calls a week, trying to keep up with a much greater volume of returned calls from potential donors.

“The result was approximately 50 calls per day to Annual Giving regarding a missed call from our department,” Kinder said. “Most folks just wanted to know who we are and why we were calling, but several also made philanthropic gifts to the university during the return calls.”

In fact, the volume of calls prompted another request to UAB IT.

“We needed these calls to be directed to a different number, with a custom voicemail, and for the voicemails to be sent to an email account,” Kinder said. “This way, we could manage returned calls without drastically impacting our resources.”

That request was also fulfilled quickly, allowing Annual Giving and student phonathon staff to focus on seeking gifts for the Annual Fund, which provides funding for scholarships, programs, out-of-classroom learning, curriculum enhancements and more.

“This has been a monumental addition to our operations, which has allowed us to provide superior donor relations and transparency,” Kinder said.

To learn more about the Office of Annual Giving and the UAB Annual Fund, click here.
An ongoing project to build a new fiber hub for the UAB campus will help protect network traffic with redundant fiber cable infrastructure. 

Begun in 2014, the project has built a new fiber hub building inside the 16th Street parking desk and includes alternate network paths that will help provide greater network protection for the east side of campus.

"The end result is that we will be able to reduce risk and outage time" if there is a network problem, said Skip Peckham, director of telecommunications services for UAB IT. "We'll be able to provide redundancy for critical research and administration needs."

The first phase of the project involved building the structure to house cables in the 16th Street parking deck, with the next phases including installation of fiber cables beneath the streets surrounding the deck and other buildings on the east side of campus. In all, the project will have 19 phases, with nearly half of those phases completed or nearing completion.

UAB IT expects to wrap up the project by the end of 2015.
Thursday, 23 July 2015 09:05

UAB IT releases guidance on Windows 10

Microsoft is scheduled to release Windows 10 on July 29, 2015. Many UAB employees will want to upgrade to the new version, or will be receiving new systems with Windows 10 already installed.

While Windows 10 will add many new features, Windows 10 does not work with many applications at UAB. Most software developers have not released compatibility updates or new versions of their software for Windows 10, and many software incompatibilities are expected.

UAB IT recommendations and guidance:
Because of these issues, UAB IT recommends that Windows 10 not be installed at this time. If Windows 10 is required and is used on a touch-enabled device, UAB IT recommends you use Windows 8 "classic view."
  • UAB IT will offer only limited support for Windows 10.
  • New systems that are ordered from Dell may included Windows 10 by default in the near future, but departments/schools should consider re-imaging those decices using an approved Windows 7 image prior to deployment.
  • Upgrade support for special business cases and exceptions will be evaluated as needed.
  • Windows 7 should remain the primary operating system on university-owned computers until the issues with Windows 10 are resolved.
  • We foresee retiring Windows 7 within three years and moving to Windows 10 as the primary operating system on university-owned computers.

Compatibility Review

Results of our compatibility review of Windows 10 and UAB IT services.

Service Compatible with UAB IT services? Notes
Adobe Creative Suite No All Adobe Creative Suite products are not currently compatible with Windows 10. During installation, the applications stalls and must be ended manually.
Internet Explorer 11 Yes Internet Explorer (IE) 11 is one of two browsers available on Windows 10. The other is the new Edge browser.
Microsoft Office 2013 Yes No published issues.
Banner No Possible use of IE 11 in enterprise mode — no guidance from Banner or Microsoft.
Oracle No On Microsoft compatibility list. This does not include any UAB applications in the Oracle system.
Software Center (SCCM) No Software Center and other software management tools do not successfully install on Windows 10. (They will be available on the next update from Microsoft.)

UAB IT will continue to test the subsequent releases of Windows 10 with the various services and most frequently used software titles. Once we have confirmed that Windows 10 is compatible with most, if not all, services and software that the product is ready for mainstream distribution, this section will be updated with information on how to obtain the new operating system.

If your school or department IT professionals are interested and available to participate in any evaluation and testing related to Windows 10, please contact Sterling Griffin.

Anticipated hardware requirements
Recommended minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10:
  • Processor: 1.5 Ghz (gigahertz) dual core or better
  • RAM: 8 GB (gigabytes) or more
  • Free hard disk space: 30 GB or more
  • Graphics card: Microsoft Direct X 9 graphics deveice with WDDM driver or better
Portions of two streets on campus will be closed for one more night, Friday, July 10, as part of the completion to a project to upgrade UAB's fiber network.

Crews were delayed and will finish paving Friday night.

From 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., the following roads will be closed: 

  • Ninth Avenue South between 17th Street South and 19th Street South
  • 18th Street South between University Boulevard and Ninth Avenue South

Access to the following buildings may be partially or fully affected:

Rust, Research Support Building, Southeastern Biosafety Lab (SEB Lab), 1715 Building, Ninth Avenue Office Building, School of Nursing, School of Public Health, Learning Resource Center, and 19th Street Parking Deck.

The City of Birmingham will be milling and paving those streets following an upgrade to the underground fiber hub.
UAB IT took advantage of an unexpected service interruption earlier this month to upgrade the servers that support several campus systems, including eLAS and LMS.

This upgrade improved system performance and strengthened security.

These technical changes did result in a new URL for several services, so users may need to update their bookmarks. Affected systems included eLAS (the Electronic Leave Accrual System for monthly employees); the LMS (the learning system for faculty and staff); Sponsored Access to Accounting Systems (SASS); Benevolent Fund; and State Transparency (UAB Expenditure Transactions).

UAB IT recommends that users bookmark the Administrative Systems page to ensure seamless log in to key systems and to receive alerts and messages.

Work to repair telephone cables damaged during installation of a manhole last week is complete.

The damage caused an interruption of service to the Burleson Building and Building 912.

Crews worked after hours over the weekend to repair the damage.