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inside|out (Header)
Dr. Rui Brandao
Dear reader,

It amazes me time and again how quickly the world around us is developing. Especially in IT. And I say this as a computer scientist. One would think of a computer scientist as being particularly accustomed to the rapid pace of technical innovation. But once in a while I catch myself admiring the newest devices and gadgets wide-eyed and in awe. It was the same when I entered a computer room for the first time as a young student. What a sight: rows of Apple Macs with their graphical user interfaces (then a privilege of the Mac).

Additionally to our current topics, in this edition we are also taking a look back at the past. In our new section "IT Finds", we gaze in collective amazement at how quickly IT is changing. We appreciate your comments on the ITS Blog regarding the memories you associate with the Macintosh. And if you have an IT Find, please contact us. We'll be happy to publish them in the next inside|out.

Warm regards,
Rui Brandao
• How do you feel about your research data?
• Phishing: take the test
• refine: major project with new technologies
• IT Puzzle: Journey back in time
Expert data management for cutting-edge research at ETH

Expert data management for cutting-edge research at ETH
Researchers are collecting ever larger and more complex amounts of data, which has to be annotated, processed and stored over long periods. In addition, regulatory requirements are becoming increasingly stringent. Funders and scientific journals often require research data to be published according to FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reproducible) principles. This requires systematic and integrative data management from the beginning of a research project to its publication.

Scientific IT Services (ITS SIS) provides researchers with essential services to meet these challenges. The collaborative data management software openBIS, which was developed by ITS SIS, is an example of this. It allows even large amounts of data to be stored and processed without any problems. openBIS has been available to ETH research groups for several years as an individual data management solution for a fee.

Free service, training and consulting

The "ETH Research Data Hub" has been in existence since 2018: a free (up to 100 GB) ETH-wide data management service based on openBIS. However, data management software alone is not enough to manage data professionally. Rather, training and consulting are required to be able to respond to the individual needs of the various research areas. The ITS SIS specialists offer help in this regard as well. ETH researchers can take part in special data management training courses several times a year and, in collaboration with the ETH library, ITS SIS supports researchers individually in the creation of data management plans. Further information can be found on Research Data Management and Research Data at ETH Zurich.

Dr. Bernd Rinn, Head of Scientific IT Services (ITS SIS)
Dr. Thomas Wüst, Group Manager Research Informatics (ITS SIS)

Sensitisation via phishing

Sensitisation via phishing
Emails are a practical and useful means of communication. However, they are often used by fraudsters to steal confidential data such as passwords or bank information. These so-called phishing emails pose a real risk. They can often be automatically detected and stopped by technical measures such as email filters. But unfortunately, not always. You must therefore assume that phishing emails will also end up in your mailbox.

Fake phishing mails to provide a wake-up call

To make your organisation even more vigilant and train it better, we offer a fake phishing test. If you manage a unit, you can order it from IT Services. Your team will then receive a harmless phishing email. It does not do any harm, but tries to lure users to a link and sensitises them to how quickly you can fall for phishing attacks. If you are interested, please contact Anja Harder. You can read about how to recognise phishing emails in the ITS Blog. And if you would like to receive a microfibre cloth from the IT Security Initiative (in the middle of the picture), write to

Anja Harder, Chief IT Security Officer for IT Services

refine: new SAP environment at ETH Zurich

refine: new SAP environment at ETH Zurich
Since January 2019, ETH Zurich has been operating a state-of-the-art S/4 HANA infrastructure, which serves as the basis for the ETH Zurich refine project. All ETH employees can access it via the ETHIS portal. The importance of refine lies above all in the new business concepts that the new platform implements. Setting up the physical and software infrastructure was a major challenge for ITS.

Under the auspices of the refine project, a completely new SAP environment was put into operation at ETH Zurich on 9 January 2019. The state-of-the-art platform supports modern financial and resource management at ETH Zurich. This, in turn, will allow the school's core activities (research, teaching, knowledge transfer) to be supported much more effectively and more efficiently. In addition to technical goals in the areas of finance, business organisation, human resources and logistics, the project also set itself challenging IT goals.

The contributions from IT Services mainly comprised
• the introduction of SAP HANA in-memory database technology
• the introduction of S/4 HANA, the third generation of the SAP software
• the construction of an entirely new infrastructure consisting of 30 servers
• the development of new software components using the latest SAP technology
• the porting of existing software products to the new refine structure in S/4 HANA
• the extremely complex migration of data from the old system to the new one
Thanks to a steep learning curve and the generous commitment of everyone involved, these ambitious goals were fully achieved. Further information, also on the tasks of the ITS staff members, can be found on the ITS Blog.

Dr. Giorgio Broggi, Head of Software Services (ITS SWS)

IT Find
What year does this IT Find date from?
Join us on a journey into the past. This Macintosh was rescued from the dump years ago by Mark Buschor, Group Manager of the ITS Service Desk. It was in a store room in the STB building on Stampfenbachstrasse. After being rescued from fading into oblivion, it now decorates the Service Desk in the ETH main building.

Take a guess and find out more about the IT Find.
Question: When was this Apple Macintosh first produced?