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Minutes of Smathers Middle Managers Meeting
April 7, 2005

Present: Joe Aufmuth, Denise Bennett, Rich Bennett, Suzanne Brown, Gary Cornwell, Robena Cornwell, Trudi DiTrolio, Lori Driscoll, Martha Hruska, John Ingram, Erich Kesse, Tom Minton, Cathy Mook, Patrick Reakes, Colleen Seale, Jan Swanbeck
New machines
  1. Order for 90-odd machines to go out over the next few weeks. We'll send an order for 25 out about every 10 days. The second batch is going out now.
  2. They may arrive in clumps or all at once - hard to tell.
  3. They are Small Form Factors with CD/DVD RW. They function as well as anything on the market. They are as fast as machines anywhere.
  4. They will arrive with WinXP. A few departments have things that will only run on Win2000.
  5. We are bringing these in with a tight storage space. Need to bring them in and swap them out quickly.
  6. Order for the first batch has been placed. The next one should go out this week.
  7. Liaison impact - unknown. We're trying to keep all the orders identical, but the Dell website changes often. They shouldn't cause too much upheaval, but you never know.
  8. They should be configured like the current machines before putting new stuff on them.
  9. XP SP2 - have lots of security features - lots of blocking. May or may not work with certain websites. Unknown how Dell will send them out, especially the firewalls.
  10. The 90-odd computers being replaced are the ones coming off warranty (2001 or older). There is a list that includes some 2002 machines. This should be just a routine replacement deal.
  11. Machine shuffle is a local option. Some may want to shuffle with public machines. You have to get rid of one for everyone you get.
  12. ALEPH and XP - Rich notes there are some issues. If it is a multi-user machine, ALEPH has problems - especially the printing. Can stick with Win2000 in those cases, but it will be off the MS support list soon enough. Need to get the word to liaisons regarding ALEPH and XP problems. We have a few XP's out. They are not too different from normal staff production.
SQL Server Failure
  1. Performance problems with both NT8 & SQL servers - internal and external.
  2. SQL was unresponsive, then crashed. We recovered from backups.
  3. We lost a day or two of data, which had broad impact across the Libraries.
  4. Backup process - there is a constant tension between the speed of backups and how current it can be. If we run backups during primetime, it clogs the system. We have to run it at night, in rotation. We roughly backup everything, everyday.
  5. It is possible to design systems where backups are minimalized. Costs a lot of money. The point is, backups can never be 100% perfect.
  6. Sometimes we are temporarily out of service, but, overall, loss of data has been minimal.
  7. We are trying to make the window of vulnerability as low as possible.
  8. Tape backup tends to be slow. We are trying to go to cheaper hard disks. They are easier to move around. We are working on it. We try to avoid this kind of thing, but it is hard to predict.
  1. Many departmental ones are out of warranty. Will they also be replaced? Can we also address the policy of distribution for them?
  2. Need to inquire at the departmental level if they would be better managed in Systems.
  3. This would be an additional load on Systems.
  4. Need to get an inventory of all departmental laptops - which department, model of machine, how old, etc.
  5. Upgrading them will be a more expensive investment. Will take the question of replacement to the Directors.
  6. Discuss within departments to see what will work.
Office 2003
  1. Discussion of conversion to Office 2003 with the arrival of new machines.
  2. Rich has one Excel spreadsheet that will not allow Office 2000 to open. Unsure if 2003 be the same way. Bill says the problem is an issue of the spreadsheet, not Office.
  3. Office 2003 - enhancements, but change should not be traumatic. It is better at doing things: net meetings, spam blocking, etc.
  4. UF has a deal for MS Office 2003. By the fall, we'll have Office 2003 on the public machines. So let's just say yes to having it loaded it on staff machines.
  5. There is also a viable, open-source package available. Office 2003 is fine to do - we have the contract for 3 years - but it will cause dislocation and pain. Office 2003 - let's do it! We will download it to a server and notify the liaisons.


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