Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

Matrix (chat) server maintenance

Wednesday, August 30th, 2023

All Matrix services will be offline for maintenance starting on Thursday 31th Aug 2023 in the morning around 06h00. Minimal downtime is 1h, but some bots/bridges may take longer.

The host system will be upgraded from Debian 10 to 12, followed by an upgrade of the database (PostgreSQL 11 to 15) and ~20 application servers.

Upgrade schedule: homeserver (people accounts)

First priority is the homeserver hosting our accounts and rooms. Estimated (best case) downtime ~1h.

Your Matrix clients (Element) will show connectivity errors during the downtime:

Matrix homeserver offline homeserver (bots, bridges)

Second priority is the homeserver, all bots, bridges present in the room and anything else. I expect most to be back after another few hours but Thursday evening at the latest.

The deprecated webhook bridge will be put out of service.

Not affected

The ETH homeservers and are not affected by this downtime.

Alternative: video conferencing with integrated chat.

home server maintenance

Wednesday, July 5th, 2023

Scheduled maintenance will be taking place on our file server on Wednesday, July 12, starting at 16:00. The service will be down for approximately 4 hours. We will be replacing the hardware with all-flash storage and upgrade the base system.

Update 18:15: the new home server is open for business. Most SMB + NFS clients will not have survived the 2h downtime and will have to be rebooted. We'll go through the most obvious ones, but if yours won't work, try restarting.

All home directories (Linux, Windows and Mac, SMB and NFS) will be unavailable during this time.

For emergency cases, you'll have read-only access to the backups as described here.

This migration will mark the end of the huge storage migration project of 2023. Thanks for your patience.

Migration to new calendar solution

Thursday, June 1st, 2023

It's time to say good bye to eGroupware and welcome to SOGo.
As we outlined in our previous posting, we will be switching to a new calendar solution.
We coordinated with those of you using group calendars and have migrated those already. Now it's time to move the individual personal calendars. This cannot be automated and will have to be performed by each user, but of course we're here to assist if needed.
To make the change as easy as possible for you, we have written a readme.
We ask you to complete the migration by the end of August, so that eGroupware can be decommisioned afterwards.
Thanks a lot.

group-data server maintenance

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

Scheduled maintenance will be taking place on our server on Wednesday, June 7, starting at 16:00. The service will be down for approximately 4 hours. We will be replacing some hardware and upgrade the base system.

All group shares will be affected except IPA, IGP and Galaxy.

For emergency cases, you'll have read-only access to the backups as described here.

Sophos Antivirus nears end of life

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

This applies to all self-managed computers (servers, workstations and laptops) on which the product "Sophos Anti-Virus" from the IT store is installed.

"Sophos Anti-Virus" will become End of Life by the end of June 2023 and will be no longer supported by the vendor or ETH Zurich. After this date, there will be no updates and your machine will not be sufficiently protected any longer.

ETH Zurich recommends using the built-in antivirus solution of the respective operating system.

Detailed instructions for uninstalling Sophos Antivirus and activating the antivirus solutions of your operating system can be found in the following link in the IT Knowledgebase: Anti-Virus: Replacement of Sophos for Self-Managed Devices.

Users of managed Windows Computers by ISG can ignore this information because we will manage the transition from Sophos to MS Defender automatically.

2022 in review

Tuesday, December 13th, 2022

This post is meant to give you a short overview of what has been accomplished in D-PHYS IT by ISG this year. We’ve been hard at work to further improve and extend our services for you, our customers. Since it took us almost exactly one year to fill our vacant Linux System Engineer position (once again: welcome Sascha!), we didn't have as much capacity for innovation as in previous years and had to focus more on system maintenance.

Some highlights of 2022:

  • Mail server: the D-PHYS mail server got an OS upgrade in spring and was migrated to our general hypervisor setup, which adds redundancy and facilitates maintenance. In addition, work is in progress to support DKIM and further tighten our SPF and DMARC settings.
  • Web server setup: the main D-PHYS web server got an OS upgrade in spring, test and staging environments and optional ssh access for power users.
  • Infrastructure work: our Ansible deployment setup was further extended and refined and the first Windows servers have been added.
    Work has started to replace the Sophos virus scanner on managed Windows workstations.
    We migrated our floating licenses from three servers to a single high availability server.
    Within the next year, we'll migrate all eGroupware users to the new SOGo calendar.
  • Storage: in 2022 the disk space occupied by data and backup grew from 3.7 PiB to 4.8 PiB, marking a significant annual growth in storage volume. A major storage migration is due in early 2023.
  • Matrix/Element: This year we counted 737 active users, who sent 1'019'205 messages in 5'259 rooms that were created on our server. Our users also participated in 423 other rooms where 1'190'446 messages were sent. Two additional research groups migrated from Slack to Matrix.
  • ISG lecture series: our Basics of Computing Environments for Scientists lecture series was held twice in 2022 with surprisingly low attendance.
  • Outages: apart from some short-term network interruptions, our systems were pretty stable in 2022, with the notable exception of a localized "3 dead disks in a RAID6" disaster in September.
  • OS upgrades: most managed Linux workstations were upgraded to Ubuntu 22.04 and the majority of servers are now running Debian bullseye. The Windows team prepared a new LTSC release and a Windows 11 setup. The managed Macs were all upgraded to macOS Monterey.
  • Software upgrades: mostly incremental upgrades in our Windows and Linux software list this year.
  • IT security: with the world being what it is, IT security plays an ever increasing role in our work and permeates all our plans and projects. We also take part in the current rewrite of ETH's IT security regulations.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my whole team for their hard and dedicated work all year long.

Happy Holidays and see you in 2023!

new ISG staff member

Thursday, October 6th, 2022

It is my pleasure to welcome Sascha Giger into our group. He joins us to complete the Linux team.

Welcome Sascha!

Web server upgrade

Tuesday, February 8th, 2022

This Thursday 2022-02-10 starting at 07:00 we will upgrade the server hosting most of our websites.

Affected websites

The following websites are unavailable during the downtime:

Important changes for website owners

All website owners: If you are a website owner/admin, please join our new Matrix room, to get support and news. After the upgrade, please check your websites for problems.

Python WSGI app owners: All WSGI apps have been switched to use a virtual environment to pin the currently used Python package versions. We encourage you to review and upgrade your dependency versions (via requirements.txt) after the server upgrade. Please read our new WSGI documentation for details.


  • OS: Debian 10 -> 11
  • Python: 3.7 -> 3.9
  • PHP: 7.3 -> 7.4

Partial Network Downtime on Mon 6th Dec after 19h00

Monday, November 29th, 2021

The central Informatikdienste will have a scheduled downtime of all networking (cable and wireless) in the buildings HPK, HEZ, HPM, HPL and HPW on Monday 6th Dec 2021 in the evening between 19h00 and 23h00.

This is the second of three downtimes for the ongoing project to split the current networks into smaller chunks. This major undertaking will also induce a short downtime for some computers in the dynamic DHCP pool in other buildings (as some of our IP ranges are being moved to the listed buildings).

Users don’t need to do anything and their computers should come back online automatically. Otherwise try to reboot or get in touch with us.

In order to prepare for the migration, Informatikdienste will forbid all changes to their DHCP servers between Friday 3th Dec 13:00 and Tuesday morning. As a consequence we will not be able to register new devices or hostnames during this period.

Emails erroneously flagged as spam

Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

Between yesterday Tue 23rd Nov 07:27 and tonight Wed 24th Nov 01:48 several hundred emails have erroneously been flagged as spam by our mail server. Please check your SpamBox folder for potential false positives during that period.

While we are constantly updating our filtering rules to catch the nasty spam, we are always doing our best to avoid flagging real emails as spam. We apologize for this and are still investigating the details of the root cause. Because the bulk of the messages were being correctly delivered, it took us several hours before we noticed the problem and could fix it.