Steinbuch Centre for Computing (SCC)

Information for IT personnel, technically interested parties and informants

The on-demand-on-premises deployment of the Jitsi instances was realized at the SCC within a very short time as an answer to the acute need for oral examination capabilities during the corona pandemic. The essential aspects for the technical implementation were simplicity of operation, data security and sovereignty (with regards to GDPR and examination regulations) and fast availability.

Due to the dynamic of the pandemic as well as the current rapid development of video conferencing solutions, this deployment represents a snapshot and might not be final. We appreciate feedback, suggestions for improvement and other helpful comments.

Information about this deployment

This deployment essentially consists of three components:

  • web-based frontend for auditors, which is connected to a relational database
  • middleware written in Python with access to the database and the OpenStack API of bwCloud
  • bwCloud resource pool at KIT hosting the Jitsi Instances

The Jitsi standard configuration has been adapted so that only STUN servers from German providers are used instead of those from Google.

End-to-end encryption is not yet generally available via WebRTC. The transport routes between the examiner and the bwCloud as well as the bwCloud and the examinee are encrypted. The bwCloud instances used are owned and controlled by KIT.
End-to-end encryption is so far only available in a combination of non-stable releases of Chromium (Canary) and Jitsi (Nightly) and is therefore not (yet) offered in this deployment.

Other tools with videoconferencing functionality with more features such as BigBlueButton were/are under discussion but have been dismissed to avoid unneccessary complexity.

Information for own hosting

The Jitsi software used for video conferencing can easily be self-hosted. Jitsi provides pacckages for all common Linux distributions as well as containers for container systems such as Docker or Podman. If you have your own server with an external connection, you can set up your own instance in less than an hour.

Easy to follow installation instructions can be found on the internet at the following links: