May 2008 Archives

Open Beta and Beyond - a few milestones of note

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Over the past few months, much progress has been made.  I'd like to take a moment to recognize some of it.

Progress made on the PASS Beta

For example, on February 4th, we entered our second stage of the Beta and provided Web hosting for personal space and departmental space.

Then on March 17th, we launched the Open Beta, where any Penn State Access Account holder may sign up and automatically have a home folder created in the Beta system.  Web hosting also started to include Clubs and Courses.  We also augmented our service portfolio in the Beta to include:

Additional services and tools like blogs are coming down the pike.

Part of the features of the Open Beta, in that any user may sign up, is only possible by using the production Penn State Directory (LDAP) service.  The directory went through two major transitions, including the February 11, 2008 update to use the UID attribute instead of the PSDirIDN attribute for the user entry Distinguished Name (DN) (see alert-596), and the March 15, 2008 update to make the LDAP service the master service for all group information, including User Managed Groups (UMGs), taking this role over from DCE (see alert-628).  Then on March 17, we configured the PASS Beta to stop using the test LDAP servers and switch to a new production replica.

Another major step towards having the Open Beta is a new set of documentation.  Since the Closed Beta allowed us to just provide it to Penn State faculty and staff, we were able to use a closed wiki service for documentation.  To provide service in general to the Penn State community, we needed open documentation, which is now available at http://css.its.psu.edu/PASSBeta/.  Those of you with access to the private wiki may notice some additional information there.  The case is that new documentation is developed in the wiki before being polished and then published into the open documentation site.

Progress made on the Production PASS

We've also been busy getting the new systems ready to house PASS after July 7. 

The new systems have been purchased, delivered, installed, configured, powered on, and await some further "burn in" testing before we start to move the first wave of early adopters.  We will move the early adopters in ITS first before extending the invite to those outside who have departmental Web space and virtual Web domains hosted with us.  If you are interested, feel free to let us know (send an email to passbeta /at/ aset \dot\ psu (dot) edu).  Note that the new environment will use separate gateway servers (CIFS, NFS) and likely a separate set of new tools from production.  Some tools need to be recoded; some from scratch.  

That's all for now.  New stuff is coming out all the time.  Subscribe to l-passbeta to hear the updates as they come out, and if you can, sign up for the PASS Beta and help us lead the change.

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