Stay updated with the latest IT news at ETH ...
inside|out (Header)
Dr. Rui Brandao
Dear Readers,

I wish I could write here about a "post-Covid period" and about how glad I am that the worst is behind us, but it seems to me that we're still deep in the thick of it. For this reason, this inside|out contains two "Behind the Scenes" topics dealing with the Covid crisis: A field report from our data network team on how they coped with the sudden extra workload created by working from home and online teaching and how ITS managed to implement online and session exams during the Covid crisis together with Academic Services and LET.

The third article looks beyond the pandemic and introduces our IT Training Lab's Young 'n' Rising programme, where IT trainees are confronted with real problems and solve them together. A recipe for success that not only prepares our trainees for practical application, but also provides IT solutions for you at ETH.

We also invite you again to take part in our IT puzzle. This time a gift from Carl August Zehnder to the ITS.

Warm regards,
Rui Brandao
• 30,000 successfully sent to home working
• Online Exams in the Covid Age
• Working from Home securely
• Young 'n' Rising: Open for Business
• Smart Working Training Days
• An IT puzzle – a trip back in time
• SWITCH edu-ID & swisscovery
Network expansion during the crisis
Network expansion during the crisis
In mid-February 2020, the scenario of a total lockdown was discussed. On this, we had to make forecasts here about changing needs and the load situation for ETH Zurich's data network and telephony infrastructure. Protected information is accessed from outside ETH via VPN. Replacement of the VPN hardware due to age was scheduled for autumn 2020 and now had to be brought forward. To be reachable by telephone via the ETH telephone number, blanket authorisation for redirection to sites outside of ETH had to be granted in advance.

High network performance at ETH Zurich was suddenly no longer required, remote access to the server and laboratory infrastructure via VPN was in demand instead. However, the new VPN hardware with three times the bandwidth capacity was only ready at the February. It was put into productive use within days and successfully implemented on 17 March 2020, one day before the lockdown. For cost reasons, there was no general authorisation for telephone users to forward their ETH telephone number to a number outside of ETH. Their desk telephones were to remain in the ETH office and a mobility solution for the ETH telephone number was only installed in our lab. At the end of February, a forward-thinking decision was made to grant this diversion authorisation to everyone.

Overall, and in comparison to other institutions and companies, this fundamental change of usage and load in the IT infrastructure was handled with flying colours and good user feedback. More information in ITS Blog.

Armin Wittmann, Head of ICT-Networks (ITS NET)
In-person Exams despite COVID-19
In-person Exams despite COVID-19
Thanks to conversion work at HG and ONA, the online exam session in August 2020 was successfully completed. Despite Covid regulations, with few restrictions and full satisfaction for lecturers and students, even at the usual capacity. This is all thanks to the excellent professional cooperation of various ETH organisations.

The defined Covid measures meant drastic modifications for the upcoming online semester end- and session exams. In addition to the ETH crisis management team, the 'small' circle of ITS NET and SDL quickly discussed possible options with colleagues from the Real Estate Management, Facility Management and LET departments.

The big problem of 'distance': The regulations did not allow for the required amount of exam places in the computer rooms. In addition, the normal privacy shield had to be extended to form another physical barrier for possible pathogens. Together with a hygiene and cleaning concept, a solution for the permanently installed rooms was soon found. And, fortunately, three HG lecture halls were designated as additional exam rooms in this urgent situation. This allowed computers to be moved so that the maximum number of allowed exam places in each room could be ensured. The two rooms that needed to temporarily set up (HG G1 and ONA E7) – which represent 2/3 of the ETH's total (stand computer) exam capacity – presented a special challenge. You can read about how this was solved in ITS Blog.

Stefan Geissler, Team Lead Online Examinations and Computer Rooms, Managed Services (ITS SDL)
COVID-19 doesn't stop Hackers
Over and over again, attackers take advantage of the current COVID crises by sending out fraudulent email. Please remain vigilant and don't forget basic IT security measures when working from home. Learn more about “Working from home securely” in our blog article.
Read more
You benefit. We learn from it.
You benefit. We learn from it.
From now on, ETH staff can benefit from trainees' skill. Young 'n' Rising is a new cross-profession young service team. It supports current and planned projects with resources in the areas of organisation, planning, IT or design of interactive media.

As a new element in ETH professional training, trainees at Young 'n' Rising make their skills and resources available to customers. The assignment help students to gain practical experience and expand their knowledge.

The trainees have already successfully implemented several projects in the first year of Young 'n' Rising or are currently working for various customers: Web applications with interactive world maps or for managing of laboratory inventories; automated import and processing of data; conception and implementation of sophisticated video productions.

Young 'n' Rising is looking forward to interesting assignments that it can support and where young people can learn. Learn more about making contact and about their projects in ITS Blog.

Martin Schneider, Coach at Young 'n' Rising and Deputy Head of the IT Training Lab (ITS PPF)
"Smart Working Training Days" for Microsoft 365/Teams
Sign up for the "Smart Working Training Days" (in German)! With working at home, virtual meetings and chat conversations, Covid-19 has radically changed the way we work. We deal with issues concerning online collaboration in the courses.
Read more
Who’s familiar with this IT find?
Who’s familiar with this IT find?
Join us on a journey through time. This find was received by the Director of IT Services, Rui Brandao, as a gift from Carl August Zehnder, Professor Emeritus for IT at ETH.

Take a guess and discover more about this IT Find.

Question: This storage might have cost around $ 250,000 at the time.
How much would it have cost at today’s prices?

3,000 CHF  |  3 CHF  |  0.03 CHF
SWITCH edu-ID: new Access for the ETH Library
To be able to use the services of the ETH Library in future, a new registration is necessary. Please read the instructions on how to register for the edu-ID in IAM as an ETH member and how to link it to ETH.
Read more