IT Connect
Information technology tools and resources at the UW

20150723: 1st Nebula billing cycle for FY16

We are approaching the 1st FY16 monthly billing cycle for Nebula. This is an informational update so you have a chance to update information feeding that billing cycle. We are also providing an update on our plans related to removing Nebula resources that are not claimed (paid for).


What and When:

Earlier today, Nebula processed all the eligibility groups for departments for the first time, re-assigning users based on the membership of your eligibility group.


This was the bulk user “purge” we asked everyone to patiently wait for—thanks for waiting, it saved us a lot of time and kept our costs down. For many reasons, we didn’t actually purge any users—we simply just marked users who no one claimed for their department for later action (more about that below). If you review your users in MyIT, you will see that it reflects your eligibility groups.


Nebula will submit billing charges for July 2015 at the end of the month.


You can review your expected charges for Nebula file services and Nebula desktops via MyIT. What is represented in MyIT is based on 3 things:

  1. Which desktops are assigned to your department
  2. Which users are in your department’s eligibility group, which by extension determines which Nebula home directories are associated with your department
  3. Which shared file service paths or Windows file service paths are assigned to your department


You can expect that what you see in MyIT is what we’ll submit billing charges for.


With respect to our plans for Nebula resources who have no one willing to pay for them, here are our intentions:

  • We will remove access to the home directories of users who are no longer in an eligibility group. All Nebula home directories have a snapshot with a 1 year retention beyond deletion, so even if something is undesired now but you later need access, this is a fallback. We plan to delay deletion of undesired home directories for a month to provide a grace period for mistakes.
  • We will remove access to shared file service paths which have no department assigned. Prior to doing so, we plan to contact all users who have access to the file service path to let them know of the impending action, so there is an opportunity for a department to step forward and pay to continue. Again, we plan to delay deletion for a month to provide a grace period.


There are other Nebula configuration we will take action on in the future. Future actions we’ll take include removing “unclaimed” user accounts (and by extension access) on the shared file services, removing access to Nebula VPN services, and removing the “Nebula supported” flag which the UW-IT service desk uses in routing requests.


What you need to do:

The mechanisms we’ve created over the last 4 months and may not be as accurate as everyone would like. Since there will be billing charges based on these soon as well as the additional actions I mentioned, it would be best to fix up any inaccuracies now.


If you are a contact for a Nebula department, here are the specific things you should do to review:

  • Go to MyIT and review the ‘Users in My Department’ report: This should only include the users in your eligibility group. If there are missing or additional users, you need to update your eligibility group. NOTE: if you visited MyIT this morning, you are very likely to see a different set of users listed now because we processed the eligibility groups for the first time today. We plan to process eligibility groups once daily, so if you do make changes, you should expect MyIT to reflect those changes the following day.
  • Go to MyIT and review the ‘File Services’ report: This should only include those group directories and home directories for your department (i.e. that you will pay for). If there are missing or additional paths, then send a request to to resolve the file service assignments. If the amount of usage for a given file service path is unexpectedly large, you may want to take action to reduce the use to reduce your cost. If there are home directories you do not want, you can adjust your eligibility group membership. If you do not want to remove a user from your eligibility group, but also don’t want that user to have a Nebula home directory, we have a solution for that, but at this time you’ll need to send a request to for that solution.


We are aware of a number of eligibility groups which have no members, and have separately already contacted departments where this is the case. You may need to take action if you were contacted about that.


We are aware of several shared file service paths which have no department assigned to them because our initial assignment was requested to be removed. As noted above, we plan to contact the users with access to these locations. You may need to take action if you are contacted about that in the future.


More info:

If you are wondering what a Nebula eligibility group is—see


If you are having problems getting your eligibility group to have the right set of users, we can provide a list of which users were associated with your department prior to today.


That document includes a variety of assistance for departmental contacts who use MyIT to review their Nebula use. We are happy to help you if you need further assistance or explanation—just send us a request at