Hi, everyone! It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these proper updates on current services and upcoming changes, and there’s a fair bit to unpack, so I’m going to take a slightly different approach to make sure the relevant info is front-loaded and you can read on for more details and musings on the whole thing if that’s of interest.
So here are the four bullet points of dry and succinct details, with more information on each topic further down the newsletter.
1: Migrations are continuing for the new versions of WordPress, Confluence, and Gitlab in GCE. And, naturally, the spiffy new(ish) Unix environment. Information on migration can be found at https://virtualhelpdesk.cels.anl.gov/docs/migrating-from-legacy-to-gce/.
2: External SSH to Legacy is going away May 17. Make sure you have your GCE account set up if you want to continue using Legacy from offsite after that date. More details at https://virtualhelpdesk.cels.anl.gov/2021/04/13/direct-ssh-access-to-login-mcs-anl-gov-from-offsite-being-retired-may-17-2021/.
3: You may have noticed a “Migrate JLSE account” button on https://accounts.cels.anl.gov. We’re in the process of getting things ready for JLSE to switch to using CELS/Argonne accounts, just like GCE and LCRC. If you’re not a JLSE user, no action is required on your part. If you are, you will receive a more detailed notice on the process soon.
4: We’ve got a number of new (and newish) employees in CELS Systems who you may or may not have met. Read section 4 to find out more.
Okay, that’s the executive summary. If you want more exposition, read on, MacDuff.
1- GCE Service Migrations: We are moving forward getting all the requisite services available in GCE. Some are easier than others, but we’re making progress. For a lot of these, we’re needing some engagement on your part of the process, since you’re the best-informed source on who’s using things and how they’re being used.
Sometimes we’re a capable and enthusiastic tech partner in making things go, but sadly, sometimes we’re just the tech monkeys who climb the scaffolding and jiggle the cables until things change from red to green. We want to be experts in all of this, but there’s a lot of tools out there and a limited number of hours in the day to figure out both the back end and the front end. This is all a lot of words to say we’re partners in this, and our goal is to get you moving forward with what you need, so don’t be surprised when we reach out to get a deeper understanding of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it and how best to transition to the new environment.
We’ve always held a personal sense of pride in the Legacy environment, because it was built over decades as a collaboration between the Systems team and the researchers who use it, and I’m similarly hoping we can have the same button-popping pride in GCE once we’ve built this up, both Systems and you, the users who use it and tell us what you need.
2 – Legacy SSH: The banner messages are in place, it’s hard to ignore that SSH to “login.mcs.anl.gov” is going to start breaking from offsite if you haven’t taken the right steps to rectify that. While the Legacy environment is still a thing, I’m hopeful the move to getting yourself set up in GCE will inspire a desire to migrate your data over to GCE and start using that instead. There’s now a freeze in Legacy – we won’t be installing new software packages there anymore, especially since every software environment there has reached end of life.
We’ve got Ubuntu 18.04 and 20.04 available for use in GCE. As soon as we figure out migration from Jenkins CI we’re going to get the remaining viable compute nodes in legacy moved over into GCE as well, so let’s keep that momentum going.
Login, run some jobs, tell us what’s missing. We’re trying to be super responsive on requests for GCE enhancements. The only reason we’re able to support a robust development environment is because you tell us what you need. If we can’t provide it, we’ll certainly tell you. As I keep saying, this whole environment is a partnership, so let’s make it work.
3 – JLSE migration: Not a lot more I can add on this, except to say if you see that “Migrate JLSE Account” button when you login to https://accounts.cels.anl.gov, and you have a JLSE account, go ahead and press it. This is staging data for an eventual switch to using ANL accounts in JLSE just like we do in GCE and LCRC. Doing that isn’t going to change anything for you yet, and there will be separate communications to JLSE account holders on how this will all proceed. By clicking that button, you’re just getting stuff pre-staged, which is a fine thing to do.
I also recognize many JLSE account holders don’t get this notice, so this is really targeted at CELS users who have JLSE accounts. And if you’re sitting there reading this saying “What is JLSE and does this affect me?” then you should visit https://www.jlse.anl.gov and see if it does. And if it doesn’t then you’ve just gained a bunch of time back! You’re welcome!
4 – New Employees: I’ve been derelict in my duty to announce these, so let’s introduce (in alphabetical order) Maged Messeh (Linux Administrator), Richard Pacheco (HPC Linux Administrator), Steve Swartz (Application Developer), Rob Tovar (User Support), and Dan Zidel (Windows Administrator, User Support). More details on these fine folks follow further (how’s that for alliteration?)
Now let’s go in order of joining the group. Starting with Dan Zidel who joined us in September of 2019. Dan’s our primary Windows administrator, and also pulls shifts on user support, as many of us do (including yours truly). He’s primarily tackling our BIO and EVS Windows environments and getting them integrated into our processes and management systems.
Next up, joining us in November of 2019 is Rob Tovar, who’s a part of our User Support team, as well as assisting in the back-end work that comes with being in CELS Systems. I’m sure many of you have dealt with Dan or Rob already and have a good sense for their focus on making sure you’re able to accomplish what you need to. It’s a given, that’s why we hire people like this!
Steve Swartz joined our team as a developer in December of 2019, and he’s a big part of the great work you see when you login to https://accounts.cels.anl.gov. He started as a contractor in ALCF as part of the Userbase3 project there, and is now focused on CELS-related enhancements to that, as well as other web development tasks on the team. He’s knocked out some great accomplishments as part of UB3 as well as other tasks thrown at him by me (one will be announced when Limited Ops ends)!
Richard Pacheco joined us in September of ’20 (our first pandemic hire!) and is also our first foray into remote working. Richard’s part of the LCRC sysadmin team and is based out of Puerto Rico, which means you may not get a face-to-face with him when we return to the office, but he’s a glowing example of the quality of work that’s achievable in Systems Administration, regardless of location. We’ve got some goofy awards we give out in CELS Systems, and he’s already won some, so there’s scientific proof!
Maged Messeh is our most recent addition. Joining us in February of this year, he’s currently based in the Champaign/Urbana area and is focused on the “core IT” functions in the group. He’s come up to speed really quickly, and I expect as more of you migrate into the GCE infrastructure you’re going to have more interactions with him. He’s already expertly handled our back-end license server migration into GCE, as well as the upgrades to our Jenkins service.
That covers the topics that are at the forefront of my mind right now. I promise the next one won’t be so delayed, and I imagine as we migrate more and more to GCE there’ll be more of these. Thanks for reading!
As always, send support requests to [email protected] which get read by the whole team, and fire any questions you need me to answer as a reply! Stay safe, stay healthy!