Dispatches From The Geeks

News and Announcements from the MCS Systems Group

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Network outage for building 240

We are investigating an unplanned network outage to computers in the building 240 data center. See https://twitter.com/celssys for updates.

Written by Craig Stacey

March 30, 2020 at 9:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

E-Mail forwarding outside Argonne

First of all, I owe you an apology. I was under this mistaken impression this would be communicated out via other channels, but I was mistaken. So now I’m announcing something that’s already happened, and I’m sorry about that.

Effective today, rules were put in place on our Office365 services to prevent forwarding mail to non-Argonne addresses. This is primarily a part of enforcing the previously announced DOE-mandated multifactor authentication for e-mail. An extra benefit to the lab is that is allows proper enforcement of eDiscovery and legal hold policies.

As with MFA, this isn’t something we in CELS have any control over, nor can we override it. But it’s a good security and data stance for the lab and its employees. All of this is geared around data security and helping us avoid inadvertently getting ourselves into trouble by exposing data we shouldn’t.

If this new change breaks something you’re doing, let me know and we’ll see if we can find a way to accomplish what you need within the boundaries of what we’re allowed to do.

Thanks.

Written by Craig Stacey

March 11, 2020 at 7:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Slides & Recording: MFA and GCE Town Hall, Web Mar 4, 1-2 PM, Building 240, room 1416

Thanks to all who attended in person and virtually. Extra big thanks to Rob Denney from Cyber for fielding the questions I didn’t know the answer to.

The slide deck and a recording can be found at https://anl.box.com/v/StaceTalksANL (ANL login required) in the 2020 folder.

I edited out some of the dead spots in the audio and added captions for the questions I forgot to repeat. Got it down to a tight 57 minutes.

If you’ve got questions or concerns, ask me or my team (help@cels.anl.gov) and we’ll get you answers to the best of our ability. Over the next couple of days, we’ll have our docs at https://virtualhelpdesk.cels.anl.gov updated with:

* Instructions on the various unofficial and unsupported methods to use MFA (Google Auth, other TOTP methods) * Instructions on how to configure davmail
* Instructions on how to connect to nomachine.cels.anl.gov from offsite. * Form for requesting conversion of a free Slack instance to paid.

It was fun, hope you got the info you needed. Thanks!

Written by Craig Stacey

March 4, 2020 at 9:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

COMPLETED: GitLab maintenance window

Maintenance of our GitLab services has been completed. Please let us know if you encounter any issues by emailing help@cels.anl.gov

– CELS Systems

Written by Craig Stacey

February 27, 2020 at 5:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

STARTING: GitLab maintenance window

Beginning work to update our GitLab services at https://gitlab.cels.anl.gov and https://xgitlab.cels.anl.gov

Services will be disrupted during this maintenance window.

Service is expected to be restored by 18:00 CT and may be available sooner than that.

We will send a followup email upon completion of the work.

– CELS Systems

Written by Craig Stacey

February 27, 2020 at 5:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Rescheduled: MFA and GCE Town Hall, Web Mar 4, 1-2 PM, Building 240, room 1416

This has been rescheduled to next Wednesday, March 4, 1PM in Building 240, room 1416 (the big room). Thanks!

Calendar invite attached.

Hey, everybody! Let’s get together and talk about TLAs!*

The first TLA is MFA. That stands for Multi Factor Authentication, and that rhymes with nervous anticipation, and that ends my attempt to invoke lyrics from a movie few of you have seen because it’s an old movie even for me and now I’m depressed.

But, anyway, you’ve no doubt heard of the shift to Multi Factor Authentication at the lab (and, indeed, across DOE) for email. In fact, a good portion of you have already switched. (Hi, ALCF!) I meant to hold one of these before the big shift for everyone, and I somehow missed ALCF was on an earlier timeslot (Feb 18) than the rest of CELS, who are switching at the end of March.

So, I’d like to take the opportunity to get together, go over what’s changing, what isn’t, what will work, what won’t, and how you can get help in any of the above situations. The plan is to give a brief chat about how the process works, what we know will break, give BIS/Cyber an opportunity to answer any questions, and throw myself on the mercy of the Live Demo gods and try to show off how to configure some common clients.

But, since I’ve got your attention and will have a bunch of you in the room together, why not also take the opportunity to plug the new General Computing Environment (GCE). That’s the second TLA*. It’s kind of a BFD** in CSG.***

Rather than plaster the announcement in this mail, because this is long enough already, here’s a link: https://mcssys.wordpress.com/2020/02/17/the-cels-general-compute-environment-gce-is-live/

We’ll take the rest of the time we’ve got available to go over a brief overview of the GCE as it stands, answer questions you may have.

Hope to see you there!

*Three Letter Acronym

** Big Freakin’ Deal

*** CELS Systems Group (okay, I’m reaching)

Craig

Written by Craig Stacey

February 26, 2020 at 2:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

GitLab maintenance window 2020-02-27 from 17:00 to 18:00 CT

A maintenance window of our GitLab services has been planned for 2020-02-27 at 17:00 CT in order to update the software.

GitLab services provided by gitlab.cels.anl.gov and xgitlab.cels.anl.gov will be unavailable during maintenance.

Service is expected to be restored by 18:00 CT, and may be available sooner than that.

If this window poses undue inconvenience please let us know, we can reschedule if needed.

– CELS Systems

Written by Craig Stacey

February 26, 2020 at 1:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

POSTPONED: MFA and GCE Town Hall, Web Feb 26, 1-2 PM, Building 240, room 1404/1405

With the low on-site attendance due to weather, I’m going to reschedule this to a better day. Will send an announcement when it’s booked. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Written by Craig Stacey

February 26, 2020 at 8:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

MFA and GCE Town Hall, Web Feb 26, 1-2 PM, Building 240, room 1404/1405

Hey, everybody! Let’s get together and talk about TLAs!*

The first TLA is MFA. That stands for Multi Factor Authentication, and that rhymes with nervous anticipation, and that ends my attempt to invoke lyrics from a movie few of you have seen because it’s an old movie even for me and now I’m depressed.

But, anyway, you’ve no doubt heard of the shift to Multi Factor Authentication at the lab (and, indeed, across DOE) for email. In fact, a good portion of you have already switched. (Hi, ALCF!) I meant to hold one of these before the big shift for everyone, and I somehow missed ALCF was on an earlier timeslot (Feb 18) than the rest of CELS, who are switching at the end of March.

So, I’d like to take the opportunity to get together, go over what’s changing, what isn’t, what will work, what won’t, and how you can get help in any of the above situations. The plan is to give a brief chat about how the process works, what we know will break, give BIS/Cyber an opportunity to answer any questions, and throw myself on the mercy of the Live Demo gods and try to show off how to configure some common clients.

But, since I’ve got your attention and will have a bunch of you in the room together, why not also take the opportunity to plug the new General Computing Environment (GCE). That’s the second TLA*. It’s kind of a BFD** in CSG.***

Rather than plaster the announcement in this mail, because this is long enough already, here’s a link: https://mcssys.wordpress.com/2020/02/17/the-cels-general-compute-environment-gce-is-live/

We’ll take the rest of the time we’ve got available to go over a brief overview of the GCE as it stands, answer questions you may have.

Hope to see you there!

*Three Letter Acronym
** Big Freakin’ Deal
*** CELS Systems Group (okay, I’m reaching)

Add to my calendar

Written by Craig Stacey

February 18, 2020 at 11:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The CELS General Compute Environment (GCE) is live

I’ve made references to this in the past and invited users to come test it out, but now it’s time to pull back the curtain, open the doors, and invite everyone in for real.

GCE is the new Unix environment the team has been building from the ground up to better serve the needs of CELS researchers. This was built with an eye towards allowing collaboration with other divisions and Argonne resources, streamlining into a single account system and securely sharing access to data wherever we can.

I’ll say up front that we’re not finished yet – there are still integrations and services we’re working on, but the framework is there to allow for it easily, and we’ve now got a new shiny system to manage access to computers, groups, and projects. From this point forward, it’s just going to get better and better.

I’ve included some links at the end of this announcement so I don’t completely spam you with information that’s available online, and instead I’ll give you a brief rundown of what you should do.

First, glance over the docs at https://virtualhelpdesk.cels.anl.gov/docs/linux/ to get a quick overview. This document collection will be growing, but it’s pretty succinct at the moment.

Next, login to https://accounts.cels.anl.gov using your Argonne account. After login, request the GCE project. Get your SSH keys uploaded (directions in the above docs) and start trying out the environment. Tell us what software you need that you can’t find there.

Do you want your linux desktop converted over? We can do that. If our stock/standard machine (see the docs) is better than what you’ve got on your desk, we’ll swap it out and help you migrate any data. If what you’ve got is better, we’ll do a rebuild (and help you migrate your data).

The team’s been working very hard on this, and I’m terribly proud of them and the result of their work. We all look forward to making it even better with your input.

At this point, the clock is now ticking even louder on the legacy environment. Many of the systems are at End of Life and will need to be retired as soon as we can. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sending out instructions on how to migrate your data, hosting tutorials on how to use some of the new systems and services, and working with you and your groups to get to where we can turn off the older systems.

There are no hard deadlines yet on when things will go away, but we’re in full-on feature freeze mode on the legacy environment. All new websites and wordpress sites are being created in GCE, all new workstations are GCE, and all incoming students will be directed to a GCE account.

Some links:

* CELS Computing Coffee Hour presentation from 11/13/2019: https://anl.box.com/s/yhmkyehrp1vrp9j0runx9gzhbqomfgl3

* CELS GCE Documentation: https://virtualhelpdesk.cels.anl.gov/docs/linux/

* CELS Account Management: https://accounts.cels.anl.gov

* CELS Project Request form: https://virtualhelpdesk.cels.anl.gov/request-a-gce-project/

Written by Craig Stacey

February 17, 2020 at 5:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized