Growth In ITS Servers & Networks

David Heise

November 2001

Introduction

During the last 5 years, the number and complexity of servers being administered by ITS Servers & Networks has increased by a factor of at least 3.  During the same period, the number of services added or significantly enhanced has increased by a factor of at least 8, and interdependencies have made the task of administering these services almost overwhelmingly complex.  At the same time, expectations of uptime and reliability have risen.

 

During this period of phenomenal growth, there has been effectively no change in staffing levels.  This is having a negative impact on the personal lives of these employees, and on their ability to keep all systems functioning at optimal levels.

 

This document portrays the network services that were available in 1996 and in 2000, together with support staffing levels.  It then lists the new services currently being worked on to meet the growing demands of the campus.

 

 

1996

2000

2001+

# Servers

        IS Building
        Chan Shun

 

6
6

 

40+


?

# Services

3

25+

Support for personal productivity, collaboration, knowledge work, and distance technologies (see page 4)

FTEs

        Staff
        Student

 

3.5 +  0.5
1.5

 

4
0.5

 

5
0.5

Disk space

0.5GB

1000GB

 

Manageable devices

3

100-150

 

User accounts

3000

5000+

 

Border management
(connection to Internet)

Outsourced

In-house, with 2 different vendors

 

 


1996

Network Services

  1. Web browsing beginning to spread, taking over from Gopher
  2. Email largely UNIX text-based, not in widespread use
  3. Banner access via terminal services over the network

 

Only three network devices had a management interface.

Our interface to the Internet was managed by a third party.

Server Topologies

IS Building – 3.5 FTEs

Machine

Functions

orion

Academic accounts

redwood

Banner, administrative accounts

Novell servers (several)

File & Print

Library

Patron database, catalog, lendings

Telecommunications

Call billing

Chan Shun – 0.5 FTE plus 1-1.5 student FTEs

Machine

Functions

web

Andrews web pages

web2

Personal web pages

Email (3 machines)

Email services

DNS & YP

Network name service and authentication

 

Staffing – 3.5 FTEs in IT, 0.5 plus students in CSIS

Shaded boxes indicate FTEs involved in supporting servers and networks.  Servers and Networks support was organized at this time as part of the Academic Computing department.  The system administration of the administrative system occupied a part FTE by a person who was also database administrator.  This is indicated with a dotted line bordering the box.  Internet services were supported by a part FTE out of the Computer Science and Information Systems in the School of Business.

 

Name

Position

FTEs

Dan Cress

Emerging Technologies Coordinator

1.0

Reg Swensen

Novell Systems Administrator

1.0

Bryan Clayton

Systems/Network Administrator

1.0

Limin Guo

Admin Systems Administrator
(half time)

0.5

Dan Bidwell

Internet services administrator
(half-time, based in School of Business)

0.5

 

Total FTEs

4.0

 


2000

Network Services (new or enhanced since 1996)

This list includes only new servers/services that were added since 1996, or were significantly enhanced.  All services that were offered in 1996 continued to be supported.

  1. Web browsing with powerful search capabilities, access to research databases, etc
  2. Feature-rich GUI email clients, accepted as part of standard business communications
  3. Forms server for Banner Client/Server, expanded network print services
  4. WebCT courseware
  5. Interim web news and events system
  6. Interim web email
  7. Firewalls (2 – campus and residence halls)
  8. Internet bandwidth management
  9. Content filtering
  10. Proxy services / Web caching
  11. Redundant disk services
  12. Backup servers (2)
  13. Machines were added to act as Oracle database server and as Oracle web server.  Redwood has continued to provide login and batch Banner processing. 
  14. WAN services (Wide Area Networking to PT in Dayton, Ohio)
  15. Wireless networking
  16. DHCP services for wireless and residence hall networking (dynamic allocation of IP addresses)
  17. Database server for supporting the telephone switch (separate from billing system)
  18. Additional departmental Novell servers (9)
  19. Ghosting services, for loading PC disk images
  20. CBORD – expanded services for interdepartmental and personal charging
  21. Electronic Access systems (being implemented)
  22. E-commerce – payment over the web
  23. Plant Services inventory
  24. HVAC – heating, ventilation, and air conditioning data and control networking
  25. Console servers (2)

 

We moved from outsourcing our Internet connection management to doing it ourselves, now with two separate providers, requiring more time in negotiating contracts and trouble shooting, but at significantly reduced prices.

 

The growing dependence on electronic communications via email and web has resulted in a greater requirement for uptime, and for disk space, with many more accounts and many more machines on the network.

Staffing – 4 FTEs

This enormous growth in network services is being supported with no change in staff FTEs and a decline in student labor.  Note that the campus network services previously provided out of Chan Shun have been moved into the IS Building, along with Dan Bidwell’s transfer to ITS.

 

Name

Position

FTEs

Dan Cress

Emerging Technologies Coordinator

1.0

Reg Swensen

Novell Systems Administrator

1.0

Bryan Clayton

Systems/Network Administrator

1.0

Dan Bidwell

Internet services administrator
(half-time, based in School of Business)

1.0

 

Total FTEs

4.0


2001+

Planning, research, and development is under way for a number of new services to assist in improving personal productivity and knowledge work, and to remain viable in the digital age, through the application of appropriate technologies.

Network Services (new services)

Active Directory is a prerequisite to many of these proposed services, for defining access rights and permissions.

  1. File & Print
    Develop a storage philosophy:  How much and for whom?
    Develop guidelines for file sharing and central backup.
    This will replace the departmental Novell networks.
  2. VPN Services
    Virtual Private Network – to allow off campus students and traveling faculty and staff to have access to Intranet services, research databases, full email services.
  3. Microsoft Exchange services
    Calendar sharing, meeting scheduling, document co-authoring, collaboration, folder sharing, etc.
    Developing an implementation plan for this, including training, pilot groups, etc, with a timeline and milestones.
  4. Relational Database services
    Support user development of applications in Access and Excel, with web interface capabilities.
  5. Web-enabled data warehouse to provide interactive data analysis of Banner data
  6. Streaming services  – audio only, and audio visual
  7. Upgrade web development and services
    To allow the use of data-driven technologies, consumer and enterprise portals, and automatic formatting according to browser and device type (eg, for PDAs), etc.
  8. Remote PC administration
    Virus data file updates, software updates, remote diagnostics.
  9. VOIP (Voice Over IP)
  10. Video conferencing via the Internet (instead of ISDN).

Staffing – 5 FTEs

In order to get the Active Directory project started, a temporarily vacant Programmer/Analyst budget was “borrowed” and Vaughan Nelson was moved out of Client Services to work with the Servers & Networks team.

 

Name

Position

FTEs

Dan Cress

Emerging Technologies Coordinator

1.0

Reg Swensen

Novell Systems Administrator

1.0

Bryan Clayton

Systems/Network Administrator

1.0

Dan Bidwell

Internet services administrator
(half-time, based in School of Business)

1.0

Vaughan Nelson

Network Directory Administrator

1.0

 

Total FTEs

5.0