2018 Platforms Migration Survey

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our New Platforms Survey.

We had an excellent response rate, with 174 users providing information that will help NeSI improve your experience on our systems. Overall, the majority of users said their experience transitioning to our new systems went well, with 64% of respondents reporting that the issues they encountered were resolved through the process. Another 36% of respondents still have issues outstanding, which we will continue to investigate.

We asked users to identify which stages of the migration process they encountered issues, and 121 people identified the following areas:

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                             Percentage of respondents that encountered an Issue


Overall, the majority of user feedback we received centred around four predominant themes: 

  • Increased security requirements
  • Challenges logging into the platform
  • Access to support (training and documentation)
  • Status of Data Transfer Service

 

Below is a quick response to some of the common issues you raised in each of those themes:

Increased security requirements

  • Difficulty setting up the multi-factor authentication
  • Password reset

Multi-Factor Authentication was added to the login process of all NeSI facilities to provide stronger protection against unauthorised access. Using multi-factor authentication helps keep your data and our systems safe. We acknowledge that our implementation of multi-factor authentication was not as seamless as it should have been. It is a work-in-progress and we recognise this was a pain point for many researchers who migrated to the new platforms. Please contact NeSI Support (support@nesi.org.nz) if you are having issues and we will do our best to assist you.

Challenges logging into the platform

  • Some users reported issues and system behaviours that prevented them from logging in
  • Some users said the instructions for logging in were difficult to follow


We are working on a number of the issues raised, from multi-factor authentication details to password expiry notifications. We are also reviewing our login documentation to ensure the instructions are clear, concise, and useful for guiding users through the login process. As a next step, we will be adding new questions and troubleshooting tips to our User Support Centre FAQ section.

Access to support (training and documentation)

  • Many people said they appreciated how willing the NeSI support team has been to support them
  • Some users indicated they would like to receive more training in topics such as using NeSI efficiently, software installation, etc.
  • Some users reported difficulty finding the right support documentation on our support centre
  • Some users reported that support response was a bit slow

Thank you for acknowledging the efforts of our support team, who have worked tirelessly during this migration and who attempt to respond to queries as quickly as they can. Your specific feedback on our support documentation has been useful and will help us make the NeSI User Support Centre easier to navigate. We are currently refining our training modules to better serve beginners to advanced HPC users. In the future, we will look at implementing training modules for specific topics.

Status of the Data Transfer Service

  • Some users reported that they were unable to move data to/from the new platforms efficiently without the Globus file transfer service in place

Basic SSH based data-transfer, the only option currently available on the new platforms, is inadequate for large data-sets. We acknowledge this has caused inconvenience for you and has made it difficult to continue your research. It is a priority for us to get Globus up and running, and good progress has been made with public availability expected in January 2019 and limited availability earlier.

 

Migrating to the new machines has been an exciting journey for both our team and our users, and a smooth (if not entirely seamless) transition for users has always been a top priority. Thank you again for your overwhelming patience and understanding through this process.

If you have any unresolved issues, please don’t hesitate to send us a request via support@nesi.org.nz and we will work with you to get these sorted.



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