2020: The Year in Review

In the past, the CLASSE-IT holiday newsletter has included statistics summarizing our activities for the year. However, 2020 is a year that defies comparison with any that came before it. It is hard to overstate how COVID-19 has upended our workplace. Simple, routine tasks now take much longer to accomplish. We rely on computers even more than we used to. And we can only talk to each other through Zoom.

When the lockdown began in March, the need for remote computing resources was immediate and overwhelming. In the days and weeks that followed, the CLASSE-IT team provided individual guidance to nearly 50 CLASSE employees (20% of the lab) in their transition to working from home. We scavenged for loaner laptops and monitors, trained staff on connecting remotely, and even debugged some home internet problems. We built new tools for tracking personnel work status, and we implemented no-touch procedures for safely exchanging laptops, all while coping with disruptions in the global computer supply chain. As one indication of the "new normal", the volume of traffic through our ticketing system increased by 25% this year, to 21,000 emails.

COVID-19 also created a major development project for us: As part of CHESS's conversion to remote user operations, we researched and commissioned a new centralized remote desktop system with advanced performance and security features, and we put together applications to support socially distanced communications and workflows. Amid all this activity, we managed to complete our previously planned maintenance and upgrades, including a revamp of the IT infrastructure at CHESS's Sector 7.

COVID-19 has shown how interconnected we all are. For the most part, the CLASSE-IT team has been working from home, but many of you at the lab have given us invaluable assistance with on-site logistics — rebooting computers, servicing printers, receiving packages, and generally acting as our eyes and ears. We are grateful for everyone's help in navigating this unprecedented year, and we look forward to the time when we can all reconnect in person. Please have a happy and safe holiday break!

General network and server maintenance will occur every Tuesday from 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM. The CLASSE-IT group will always announce any expected disruptions in our NewsLetter and via CLASSE-IT-NEWS-L, but with the size and complexity of our network there is always the potential for something to go wrong. We will do our best to contain all network maintenance and planned outages to Tuesdays from 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM.

Unless other arrangements have been made, CLASSE-managed Windows systems may be updated and rebooted on Tuesday morning at 2:00 AM, so please avoid critical or lengthy operations at that time. For more details, please see SystemExpectations.

Questions or problems? Submit a service request.

Other resources:

Topic revision: r8 - 22 Dec 2020, WernerSun
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