Author Archives: Curtis Spears

IAM Siteminder GoLive Information

What Is Happening

On Saturday, December 8, AITS will begin transitioning the authentication and authorization of enterprise applications to CA SiteMinder. We are pleased to announce that this change is the first deployment of the Identity and Access Management (IAM) project.

The first set of applications to be transferred is very specialized and has a limited user base.

Throughout 2013, additional applications will have their authentication and authorization switched to SiteMinder. You can find the January application conversion list and timetable here:

The announcement of the dates for enterprise applications such as Banner, HR Front End, and Travel and Expense Management is expected in early 2013.

End User Impact

  • The first time users log into an application that has been transitioned to SiteMinder, they will encounter one of the following scenarios:
  1. They have bookmarked the application from the page and will immediately log into the application upon authentication OR
  2. They have bookmarked this application at the EAS page (example: for Banner,
  3. When a user accesses the Application URL, the user will log into the EAS page
  4. After clicking Login, they will be re-directed to the SiteMinder page where, they need to log in again
  5. After logging in, a user should reach the application and be able to proceed
  6. The new SiteMinder page has been created to look like the EAS page.  The only change to the page is the CA SiteMinder logo at the bottom of the page. It might seem that you are logging in twice but you are actually logging into 2 different authentication systems.
  • Notes concerning passwords:
  • If users change their password between now and April 2013, when they change their password, it will propagate to both SiteMinder and EAS.
  • If a user’s password expires between now and April 2013, he/she will not receive a Password Expiration message in SiteMinder. This message will only be displayed in EAS.

Other information about the IAM project can be found at

If You Need Additional Information

…or if you have questions regarding this event, please contact the AITS Service Desk: at (312) 996-4806 (UIC); (217) 333-3102 (UIS/Illinois) or or

Susan Flanagin


Windows Outlook “Waiting for server response”

Over the past few weeks, we have been receiving reports that some Windows Outlook users are experiencing brief periods where Outlook seems to pause and reports that it is waiting for the server to respond to requests. After a few minutes, the symptoms disappear and Outlook behaves normally again.

While we are not sure of what the exact cause of this issue is right now, we continue to closely monitor the entire Outlook/Exchange system for clues to what might be contributing to this behavior. One clue we’ve located indicates a possible issue with random periods of sub-optimal disk performance for the Exchange server. ITS Systems staff have put together a troubleshooting plan to try and eliminate this problem. Part of that plan calls for applying updates to the shared disk system used by Exchange and several other campus services. These updates are scheduled to be applied sometime before the end of the upcoming Christmas break.

Once the disk system updates have been applied, we will continue to monitor the Outlook behavior to see if the problem has been resolved and, if not, will perform further investigations.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Wireless Network Configuration Change Planned

Over the past several months, we have been receiving sporadic reports of connectivity issues on the wireless network. Examining the number of devices on the wireless network and the amount of data that is passing through it has revealed a large amount of broadcast and multicast traffic being sent out. This appears to come and go in waves, with some waves routinely peaking at over 500 packets per second of just this generalized service announcement traffic, effectively flooding the network to the point of noticeably degrading the users’ experience.

Kevin, Scott and Jamie have been working on developing a plan to accommodate device growth on the wireless network in a way that would reduce the negative impact of the ever-increasing number of devices and still provide a seamless user experience when moving from location to location on our campus. Testing of a new network design began last week (see Wireless Interface Addition post) and has been very successful.

The original implementation plan was to make the desired changes to the wireless network over the Christmas break period. However, over the past week, the reports of sluggish or unreliable connections have begun to rapidly increase, and we are concerned that the user experience during finals week could be quite poor if we don’t take action sooner. So we have decided to move up implementation of the new wireless network architecture to Tuesday, November 20th at 7:30 am.

The change will take only a few minutes to implement. Any devices on the wireless network at the time of the change will need to reestablish their connection in order to get a new IP address. If for some reason the change causes undesirable side effects, the change will be reversed and we will live with the current configuration until the end of the fall term.

If you have concerns about this change or how it may impact the work you do, or how it might impact the UIS community, please let Jamie Voyles know.

Thank you.


Input Request: Raising Microsoft Active Directory Domain Functional Level

The network service team is investigating the feasibility of raising the Microsoft AD domain functional level from 2003 to 2008 R2. This change would enable several new features such as a recycle bin for AD objects and more detailed login information, and help us be better prepared for the next version of Microsoft Windows Server. The change would be one-way; once enabled, it cannot be undone. More information on the features gained via this change can be found here.

No firm dates are set yet, but we’re thinking that the change could be implemented this coming June as long as there are no concerns that cannot be adequately addressed beforehand.

We are asking all ITS folks who believe their systems might be impacted by this change to provide some feedback to us. Please e-mail Brian or myself and let us know what concerns you have.



Server Backup Configuration Reports

The Network Services group has begun publishing reports detailing the configuration of backups for all monitored servers on the UIS campus. The latest report (as well as historical reports) can be found on eDocs at the following location:

In this folder there is also a document that describes how to interpret the information contained in the backup configuration reports.

The network services team will provide regular updates for this information by generating new reports periodically (typically weekly). Owners of systems and servers that should be monitored, managed, or backed up by the Unitrends enterprise backup system should ensure that their server is listed in this report and that it is configured as expected. Any discrepancies should be brought to the attention of Curtis or Clay as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about this process, please let Curtis know.


Fire Drill in HSB on Thursday, October 25th

This is a reminder that a fire drill will be conducted at HSB on Thursday, October 25 at 9:30 a.m.

In preparation for the drill, please be sure that permanent occupants of the building are notified in advance and reminded about the assembly point.  For HSB, the assembly point is the quad near the colonnade.  In the event of inclement weather, the lobby of Sangamon Auditorium should be used as the assembly point.

Drill Procedures

  1. When the alarm sounds, exit the area immediately.  Take personal belongings.  Lock work areas and offices.  Close doors.
  2. Exit the building using the most direct route and the nearest exit.  Do not use elevators.
  3. Report directly to the assigned Assembly Point.
  4. Remain at the Assembly Point until the “All Clear” is given by the UIS Police.  Please note that the length of the drill depends on successful reset of the fire alarms by Facilities personnel.

Your assistance and cooperation is appreciated.

Thank you.

Diane Rumme

Eduroam Login Settings Change

Due to a change in the way Cisco engineered its latest upgrade to our ACS server (what we use to perform authentications to the wireless network, including the eduroam network), we need to make a minor change to how UIS users configure their eduroam authentication settings.

For the user login ID, please have UIS users use the following format:

All other eduroam configuration information remains unchanged.


P.S. This change applies only to UIS campus accounts. All other eduroam users should following the instructions provided by their respected campuses.

ITS Files on UISDATA1 Moving

Server UISData1 is used for shared network space by departments across campus, including ITS. By a large margin, ITS folks use the vast majority of the space on this server, most of it hosting items such as ISO files, software installations, backups of harddrives, etc.

The data drive for this server (2 TB in size) filled up over the weekend, which is causing problems for all users.

To better manage the space, we will be relocating much of the static content to a separate drive on this server that will not be included in the nightly backup cycle. Share names and access privileges will remain the same, so there should be only minor disruption with normal operations.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


Bill Cox Receives Shining Star Award

Today, our very own Bill Cox was honored with the Shining Star Award. This award was presented to him by Bob Lael of HR for his many examples of going above and beyond expectations.

Here is the text of the citation Bill received:

Bill Cox makes a habit of going “above and beyond”. While in the midst of installing waves of new computers, he has generously given his time and attention to recovering files from a failing hard drive, shared quick ways to link up old hard drives to new equipment so they could be checked for data before being sent to surplus, and had given valuable advice on how to merge old equipment with new. Bill is essential in keeping many of the UIS offices running well and working together.

Needless to say, we are very fortunate to have Bill as part of the ITS team.

Congratulations, Bill, for this fitting and well-deserved recognition.

VSphere ESX Host Upgrade

Over the next week or so, the Network Services team will be upgrading the existing VSphere 4.1.x ESX hosts supporting virtual servers to VSphere ESX version 5. This upgrade will solve some compatibility issues we’re facing as we continue to virtualize existing physical servers. The upgrade should not negatively affect existing virtual machines or the services hosted on them and, therefore, will be done during normal business hours. The ESX hosts supporting the VDI environment will not be upgraded at this time, so there should be no impact to the virtual desktop systems either.

Please let me know if you have any questions.