Newsletter inside|out - IT news at ETH Zurich (28.07.2016)
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inside|out (Header)
Giorgio Broggi
Dear Reader

According to the ETH document "Strategy and Development Plan 2012 to 2016", "an effective ICT supply infrastructure and the associated services represent a precondition for excellent teaching and research and for efficient management of ETH Zurich". We are therefore committed to developing and offering innovative services. Services that do not exist as such on the marketplace, and from which research, education and knowledge transfers can gain added value. "openBIS ELN-LIMS" illustrates this category of services in an exemplary manner.

The production of video material in research and education has become an activity that requires professional support, because the material that is produced is consumed by a large and critical community. This includes a modern and highly available studio infrastructure, like the one we have been operating since mid-April 2016 for the ETH as well as for a wide range of academic customers.

VPN is also a part of the ICT supply infrastructure. Are you already aware of the advantages provided by the Virtual Private Network (VPN) of the ETH?

Have fun reading!
Giorgio Broggi, Head ad interim of IT Services
• … and action! The new video studio at ETH
• On the go? How to connect to ETH network
• "Data monsters" are hiding everywhere
Studio Manager Martin Wieser (left) and A/V-Senior Thomas Häusermann (planning and realisation) are providing innovative production facilities.

Professional video productions at the ETH Zurich
Thanks to the new video studio at the ETH Zurich, the efficient and modern production of high quality video content is now possible. The studio enables a wide range of scenarios to be realised, from the production of educational and learning films to statements, interviews, small roundtable discussions and even green screen recordings. Within the scope of professional post-production activities, multimedia productions are possible in combination with graphics, animation or other types of content.

ITS Multimedia Services offer a wide range of production and video content to those affiliated with the ETH Zurich: the recording of lectures for education purposes or events for knowledge transfers, documentations for research and films for communication purposes (image films, "Polybahnpitch", workshop talks). These offers are being supplemented and extended thanks to the new video studio: for the production of education and learning films (MOOC, TORQUE), digital and analogue input devices (tablets, visualisers, etc) are available. We can also record objects (demonstrations, detailed recordings) and sketches (animation, explanation videos) in high quality. These content-based recordings can be supplemented with shots of people (statements, interviews) in front of different backgrounds and with variable camera perspectives. Group recordings (panels, discussions) with up to four people are also possible. What’s more, a green screen means frontal shots and recordings with flexible backgrounds can be created. The studio was commissioned in spring 2016, and the official opening will take place in autumn. The supported infrastructure is available to all ETH affiliates and universities in Switzerland (subject to a charge). More information and images can be found in the ITS Blog.

Martin Wieser, Studio Manager ITS Multimedia Services (ITS MMS)
Armin Wittmann, Head of ICT Networks, and Robin Hansemann (from the left), both ITS NET, have a secure connection to the ETH network via the VPN tunnel.

VPN – encrypted data connection to the ETH
On the go and yet need to be connected to the ETH? VPN makes it possible. VPN (Virtual Private Network) establishes an encrypted data connection, like a tunnel, from the user device directly to the internal ETH network. Whether home office or Internet café – the device in use receives an ETH IP address, which means it has the same level of access is if it were actually physically connected to the internal ETH network. Smartphone, iPad, laptop or computer – the VPN software is available for all important operating systems. Install the VPN software, and remote access to the resources of the internal ETH network is ensured.

With a VPN, it is possible when outside the ETH to access services and data on the internal data network that require protection, and ensure they are protected or rather separated from the Internet. The VPN service is available to all ETH affiliates around the world, in order to ensure they can safely access internal ETH drives, log in to ETHIS or, for example, edit an ETH doodle as administrator. To establish a secure connection, a software client must be installed on the device first of all. If you want to establish a VPN tunnel, an active Internet connection is also required. In Switzerland, the roaming agreement SWITCHconnect-PWLAN has been concluded with the commercial providers Monzoon, TheNet and Swisscom. A connection is established to their Wi-Fi networks, and access to the Internet is only provided once a VPN connection to the ETH Zurich has been established. Find out more about VPN on the ITS pages.

Derk Valenkamp, service owner and team leader, Data Networks (ITS NET)
Caterina Barillari and Cristian Scurtescu, both in Research Informatics within Scientific IT Services, keep the "data monster" under control every day.

Research data management
Thanks to the increasing speed in which technological advancements are being made, data quantities in scientific research centres are growing constantly. A single research laboratory can generate terabytes of data in a short period of time. What can we do to tame the data monster and ensure we are not overrun by the flood of data? It's easy: good data management! With data management we back up data and provide it with useful information, so-called meta data. Researchers in the same department can then access the stored data at some subsequent point in time, and establish and utilise the respective correlations.

Scientific IT Services offer scientists advice, services and software solutions, to ensure research data can be managed in a secure and reproducible manner. Our internally developed data management platform, openBIS, is available to scientific facilities, groups and research projects as a service. We have also extended openBIS to include openBIS ELN-LIMS, which has been specially developed for life science laboratories. The software combines the powerful data management functions with an electronic laboratory journal (ELN) and a laboratory information management system (LIMS). Furthermore, ITS SIS offers consulting services and recommends best practices for all aspects of data management. Further information can be found on our website.

Bernd Rinn, Head of ITS Scientific IT Services (ITS SIS)