Internal CN discussions during the summer led to broad internal consensus on future directions and these plans have since been debated and refined with the aid of the user community. They can be summarised as a two-pronged thrust towards the supporting desktop computing and improving our physics computing services (data and CPU), underpinned by a coherent approach to data serving and a reliable, fast networking infrastructure.
For the desktop, the vision is of centrally organised Home Directory File Servers and Binary Program Servers supporting a set of ``shrink-wrapped'' environments for UNIX workstations and X-terminals, and complementing continued development of the existing NICE (Novell Integration Cooperation and Evolution) environment for PCs and Macs. Log-in ``homes'' will be provided either on Public Login UNIX Servers (PLUS) machines for general use, or on WorkGroup Servers for dedicated use by well-defined communities such as experiments. Valuable experience has been gained in the pilot project to provide the CHORUS experiment with such a WorkGroup Server. Other dedicated servers will fulfil specific functions. A CERN-wide distributed file system based on AFS/DFS is seen as playing a central role in the new architecture, and this will allow users to access their files in a coherent way from different locations, such as their offices, their laboratories, their home or even, for CERN's visitors, from their home institute.
For physics computing there will be a major expansion of the CORE services and an associated run-down, over a period of some years, of the CERNVM services. An initial target is to move LEP batch production work off CERNVM by the end of 1994, allowing downsizing at that time to cope with the remaining interactive load for a two further years until the end of 1996, with this load being progressively absorbed by WorkGroup Servers supporting the desktop. Experiments will be helped in their migrations by special task forces. The provision of uniform access to data will also be a prime concern in this area.
Having served us well for many years through a period of explosive growth, CERN's internal network wiring is now in need of a serious overhaul to improve reliability and maintainability. We will be moving in a phased way towards a structured hub and spoke scheme based on optical fibre and high quality twisted pair, with selected zones behind routers. This move will be complemented by improved network management software.