Dispatches From The Geeks

News and Announcements from the MCS Systems Group

Upcoming changes for trouble tickets/help requests for CELS Systems

Due to the amount of crossover we have with the Argonne Service Desk in terms of the types of issues we handle, as well as the increased functionality their issue tracking system uses, CELS Systems is planning to migrate to Argonne’s service ticket system (known as Service Now). Sharing the same system allows us easily to hand tickets back and forth with CIS, something that’s been happening with greater frequency since the switch to Exchange/Outlook for mail.

What does this mean for you? Maybe nothing, really, but I wanted to make sure you were aware of the change and how some things will at least look different. For example, the e-mails you get when you submit a ticket will look different. And you’ll gain the ability to check on the status of your open issues the same way you can now with the Argonne service desk at http://help.anl.gov.

Later this month, we’re going to change the behavior of "systems@mcs.anl.gov" to point to the new ticketing system. Those of you who’ve been paying close attention may have noticed another address (help@cels.anl.gov) in some recent signage and communications. That already points to Service Now, so if you want to get a sneak peek of how things will look going forward, you can use that address the next time you need help.

On February 16th, mail to systems@mcs.anl.gov will behave in the same way as sending to help@cels.anl.gov works now. The Systems address will always work, but we’re going to be advertising the help@cels.anl.gov address as the primary contact method to better reflect the group’s mission these days.

Also, because we’ll be on the same system, you can also submit tickets via the web portal at http://help.anl.gov by using your Argonne credentials. Please note, this is a convenience option for those that prefer it – you’ll always be able to use a simple mail to help@cels.anl.gov (or systems@mcs.anl.gov) from any address to get help without having to log in on anything.

This is the first step in migrating to the Service Now platform. Over the next few months, we’ll also be migrating our user-facing documentation to this, as well as integrating it into our requests for common services (WordPress blogs, mailing lists, etc.) that are currently found at http://virtualhelpdesk.mcs.anl.gov.

If you have any concerns or questions, please let me know. Also, I look forward to your feedback on how the process is working once you’ve had a chance to experience it.

Thanks!

Written by Craig Stacey

February 5, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Brief rolling outages/reboots for security patching starting today (1/30/15)

Due to a serious security vulnerability, we’ve had to patch our Unix-based machines over the past few days. To complete the patching process, we need to reboot these machines. We’re going to a schedule of rolling reboots to ensure any issues that occur during reboots don’t take out too many services at once. We also believe we’ve mitigated the issue that caused the long outage for www.mcs.anl.gov earlier this week, and the current reboots should take much less time.

The schedule is as follows, with the machines being rebooted in a staggered fashion within the 30 minutes following the start time.

TODAY:
12:30PM: squall (Drupal server), typhoon (JLSE Atlassian Server), blizzard (collab – MCS Confluence Server), cyclone (xcollab, xjira – CELS external Confluence and Jira servers), login1 and login4 (SSH login servers)

2:00PM: login2 and login3 (SSH login servers), cvs.globus.org, variant (MCS SVN/Trac server), caveat (trac.mpich.org), repo.anl-external.org (External SVN repos)

More reboots will be announced as machines are identified and patched. Please let us know if this poses a particular problem for you.

Thanks!

Written by Craig Stacey

January 30, 2015 at 11:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

MCS Webserver Outage

The web server is back online and serving traffic as of about 10:00. Again, sorry for the inconvenience. Please let us know if there are any issues you have after this update.

From: <Leggett>, Ti Leggett <leggett>
Date: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 8:55 AM
To: "cels-systems-announce" <cels-systems-announce>
Subject: MCS Webserver Outage

A very serious security vulnerability was disclosed yesterday and patches made available. In order to patch the web server that hosts the main MCS web site as well and personal web homes a reboot was required. Unfortunately the reboot is taking longer than anticipated, but the server should be up between 9:30 and 9:45. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

Written by Craig Stacey

January 28, 2015 at 10:50 am

Posted in Uncategorized

MCS Webserver Outage

A very serious security vulnerability was disclosed yesterday and patches made available. In order to patch the web server that hosts the main MCS web site as well and personal web homes a reboot was required. Unfortunately the reboot is taking longer than anticipated, but the server should be up between 9:30 and 9:45. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

Written by Craig Stacey

January 28, 2015 at 8:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

CIS offering Web Application Developer Training, Jan 13.

Please see the below announcement from CIS. I encourage anyone who’s doing web application development to attend, or at least one person from each group engaged in that sort of activity.

As the systems administrators, we get notified whenever a web app on a system we’re responsible for has a detected vulnerability, and based on what we’ve encountered, I think there’d be some real benefit to picking up on some good coding practices (especially sanitizing input).

All,

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

The CSPO is sponsoring web application developer training for anyone interested. The training will go over threats to web applications and best coding practices to mitigate attacks.

WHEN WILL THIS OCCUR?

January 13th , 2015, 10:00am-2:00 p.m. Building 240 Rm. 1416

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

Forward this message to any developer that codes web applications and/or web service admins. Attend the training!

WHAT IS THE EFFECT ON YOU?

Hopefully you come out of the training with some action items to check the health of your web applications that are running in your inter/intra nets.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Please contact the cyber office for any more details. More information will be sent specifically to the CSPRs who requested their web applications to be tested.

Written by Craig Stacey

January 7, 2015 at 11:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

CIS Decommission of File Transfer Application

The “File Transfer Application” provided by CIS has been supplanted by Box as the preferred method of sharing large files with outside collaborators. The existing app will be decommissioned next week. See the below announcement.

Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2014 9:53 AM
Subject: Decommission of File Transfer Application

To IT Admins,

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

The file transfer application (http://inside.anl.gov/tools/applications/file-transfer-application) will be decommissioned. For sharing files, it is now recommended to use Box. Box is Argonne’s secure cloud-based file system that allows you to organize, share, and collaborate on files without the use of VPN.

WHEN WILL THIS OCCUR?

Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

You do not need to take any action. This message is for your information only.

WHAT IS THE EFFECT ON YOU?

If you’ve previously uploaded files to the file transfer application, please see the Box FAQ for help on setting expiration dates on links to share a file.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

· Visit the Box Service page on Inside Argonne for FAQs and other information.

· Report problems or issues to the Argonne Service Desk at ext. 2-9999 option 2.

Justin Hurst

Argonne Service Desk

Written by Craig Stacey

December 11, 2014 at 9:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Blue Jeans video conferencing and Chrome under Mac OS (and Linux).

If you’re running the latest version of Chrome (and, really, you should always be running the most recent stable version of any browser for security reasons), you will have issues using Blue Jeans on either Mac OS X or Linux.

“Service Advisory: Mac customers upgraded to Chrome version 39 or above will not be able to download the browser plugin. You will need to use Firefox or Safari as a substitute. Our engineering team is working on a fix. For details, see: http://bluejeans.force.com/KnowledgeSearch/articles/Knowledge_Base/Browser-Plugin-will-not-work-on-certain-Chrome-versions-on-Linux-MAC/

As noted on the above page, Blue Jeans claim they will have the Mac problem licked by next week. No word on when the linux fix is coming.

In each case, you can work around it by using Firefox (linux/Mac) or Safari (Mac).

Written by Craig Stacey

November 20, 2014 at 9:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

CELS Helpdesk closed Wednesday 11/19 through Friday 11/21.

Due to the installation of cubicles, walk-up service to the CELS help desk will be unavailable Wednesday through Friday. During this period, if you require assistance, please contact us via email (systems@mcs.anl.gov or help@cels.anl.gov) or via telephone (x6813). In a pinch, you can stop by room 2136.

Thanks!

Written by Craig Stacey

November 17, 2014 at 10:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Systems Announce Git, SVN, trac currently down

These services should be back online. The networking maintenance over the weekend resulted in a missed configuration on the routers and some hosts in 221 lost their routes. If you notice any other downed hosts, please let us know and we’ll get them taken care of.

From: <Leggett>, Ti Leggett <leggett>
Date: Monday, November 10, 2014 at 8:18 AM
To: "cels-systems-announce" <cels-systems-announce>
Subject: [Systems Announce] Git, SVN, trac currently down

The Git, SVN and trac services are currently down. We are working to get them fixed ASAP and will announce when all services are back and functional.

Written by Craig Stacey

November 10, 2014 at 9:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Git, SVN, trac currently down

The Git, SVN and trac services are currently down. We are working to get them fixed ASAP and will announce when all services are back and functional.

Written by Craig Stacey

November 10, 2014 at 8:18 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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