Report: Special Meeting May 14, 2007


Erindale College

Report of the Computing Committee meeting of Erindale College Council held on Monday, May 14, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. in the Ante Room, Room 3129, South Building.

Present: J. Lim (in the Chair), J. Sills, R. deSouza, J. Hu, C. Mejia, A. Vyas, C. Capewell

In attendance: D. Kreuger

Regrets: D. O'Day, R. Gerlai, U. Krull, A. Aakers

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting (March 28, 2007)

The report of the previous meeting was approved. (R. deSouza/A. Vyas)

2. Business Arising from the Minutes:

a) Update on UTORid / UTORmail Migration for staff and faculty - Mr. Joe Lim, Chief Information Officer

Mr. Lim explained that stemming from the last meeting of the Committee and the concerns that arose regarding the planned UTORid/UTORmail migration, it was agreed that the Committee would meet again, once the computing services team had a chance to work with Computing and Networking Services (CNS) to ameliorate said conerns.

Mr. Lim noted that two main concerns were raised at the Town Hall meeting and the subsequent Computing Committee meeting as follows:

  1. Attachment file size on Webmail
  2. Mailbox quota, stemming from:
    1. Faculty Searches
    2. Journal Editors

Regarding the first main issue, Mr. Lim reported that with extensive feedback and help from UofT Mississauga staff, CNS is in the final stages of testing an increase in Webmail file size attachments, up to a file size of 10MB. Mr. Lim reported that the feedback thus far has been very positive, and that CNS should confirm the file size and their testing success to U of T Mississauga within the next few days.* He added that a new director of CNS, Bob Chambers, was announced in April. Safwat Zaky, Vice-Provost of Planning and Budget, initiated regular meetings between U of T Mississauga, UTSC and CNS to encourage collaboration and communication between the three campuses. The three groups now meet monthly to discuss tri-campus issues relating to information technology.

Mr. Lim proceeded to discuss solutions to the second concern relating to mailbox quota limits when performing faculty searches and editing journals. UofT Mississauga will modify and improve applications currently used by the departments of Mathematical and Computational Sciences and Historical Studies that will aid in faculty searches. The timeline for the modification of this application is scheduled for the spring of 2008. To address the concerns of those editing journals with respect to mailbox quota limits, the "UTM Submit" application will be modified to allow for this function. The timeline for the modification of "UTM Submit" is scheduled for September of 2007.

Mr. Lim continued his presentation by talking about the implementation process. The migration will be accomplished building by building and department by department. The recommended email client will be Thunderbird and on the day of the migration, an individual's U of T Mississauga inbox will exist as a folder under UTORmail. To use Drive H, Thunderbird will be configured for local folders and these folders will then be mapped to Drive H. This arrangement increases storage space. Mr. Lim further explained that access from home systems will be through a UTM VPN Service that UofT Mississauga will provide.

In addition, "SMTP Auth" service will be maintained for U of T Mississauga users, until such time that UTORmail has their own SMTP service and the support of "Pine" will be maintained on "river.utm".

Mr. Lim concluded his presentation by noting that communication materials are planned, which will ensure a smooth transition for the entire migration process and that his staff will work with Human Resources and the Library to implement appropriate training sessions.

In closing, Mr. Lim reported that his staff had been gathering statistics on Webmail use since April 6th, which specifically addresses the number of files attached through Webmail and their corresponding sizes. The data showed that out of the 4207 attachments during this period, there were 165 files that were over 2MB and that the largest attachment size was 23MB. Mr. Lim noted that his staff will continue to monitor Webmail attachment sizes, especially those that exceed 10MB.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member's question about when the UTORid/UTORmail migration will occur, Mr. Lim explained that it will occur sometime in July, following further testing and work with CNS in the coming two months. He added that there were currently a significant number of faculty on UTORmail already who have not experienced any problems so far. He further explained that that the migration will occur in stages, and should be complete by mid-August.

A member asked why the planned migration could not wait until 2008. Mr. Lim explained that the current UofT Mississauga server would need major upgrading and repair, which would be extremely difficult to carry out with the recent budget cuts.

A member expressed concerns about the ongoing availability of local service and problem resolution. Currently, UofT Mississauga staff and faculty go directly to U of T Mississauga Computing Services if they experience any problems. Mr. Lim emphasized that with migrating to UTORmail, service and support will still be provided by U of T Mississauga Computing Services. Computing Services will have direct access to CNS staff who support UTORmail. There will not be any degradation of service. Experience last year with the students' move to UTORmail was quite positive and any problems that arose were resolved in a timely manner.

A member commented on that he was pleasantly surprised that Mr. Lim was able to convince CNS to work on increasing attachment file sizes.

3. New Business

The Chair announced that an IT Survey Focus Group Discussion will be held at UofT Mississauga on Thursday, May 17, 2007 in CCT1160 from 10am-12noon. An online survey was conducted across the University and the results from this survey will be used to inform and engage the community in an in-depth discussion at this session. The information gathered will help guide the University as it moves ahead to clarify roles and responsibilities, decide upon priority-setting methods, funding, evaluation, standards, and security. He encouraged everyone to attend to learn about the survey results and to participate in giving feedback.

The Chair noted that the next meeting of the Computing Committee will be held in the fall.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:40 a.m. (C. Capewell/A. Vyas)

Secretary of Council _____________________________ Chair _____________________________

Secretary's note: On May 14th, following the Computing Committee meeting, it was confirmed by CNS that Webmail will be able to support attachment file sizes up to 10MB.