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Information Technology Exchange Center

  Support Services

September, 2003

Revised May, 2005

Revised November, 2006

Helping Members with Academic and Administrative Information Technology Since 1988

1.                  Purpose
2.                  Standard Support and Services

2.1       Introduction

2.2       Architecture Direction

2.3       Traditional Vendor Support

2.4        Level of Service

2.5        Answers to Questions

2.6        Hours of Support

2.7        Response Time

2.7.1        ITEC

2.7.2        Vendor

2.7.3        Help Desk Tickets within ITEC

2.7.4        Notification of Updates

2.7.5        Escalation of Help Desk Tickets by Member

2.8        Software Licenses

2.8.1        University-wide Agreements

2.8.2        ITEC Specific Licenses

2.9        Distribution of Software and Documentation

2.9.1        University-wide and ITEC Specific Software

2.9.2        ITEC Copying of Software

2.9.3        Member Copying of Software

2.9.4        Copyright and Trademark Requirements

2.9.5        Hot Backup

2.10          Member Responsibilities

3.      Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery and Planning Services

3.1        Introduction

4.      Remote Services

4.1        Introduction

4.2        Systems Covered

4.3        Costs

4.4        Initial System Review

4.5        Responsibilities

4.6        Hardware Maintenance

4.7        Software Maintenance

4.8        Optional Services

5.    Information Technology (IT) Hosting Services

 5.1      Introduction

 5.2      Scope

 5.3      Information System Strategy

 5.4      Technology Architecture and Currency

             5.5      First Step

 5.6      Transition Plan

 5.7      Hardware

 5.8      Software

 5.9      Member Advantages

                        5.9.1    Staff

                        5.9.2    Availability

                        5.9.3    Budget Stabilization and Costs

  5.10   ITEC Responsibilities

6.    Academic Software Initiative (ASI)

              6.1     Introduction

              6.2     Participation Options

              6.3     Description of Software

              6.4     Software License

              6.5     Distribution of Software and Documentation

7.    Training

Attachment A            Remote Services  

Attachment B             ITEC/Member Information for Hosting Services

      

 

The State University of New York's (SUNY) Information Technology Exchange Center (ITEC) is one of several special purpose organizations established by participating Members to support multi-Member, computer-related group activities targeted at improving the quality, quantity and cost-effectiveness of use of Information Technology in the University. 

ITEC personnel are employees of SUNY and adhere to all laws and regulations of the State of New York and all policies and procedures of SUNY.  ITEC is located at Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Twin Rise Building 200, Buffalo, NY 14222.

The CIO of ITEC is Mr. Ronald Brown.  He can be reached via:

Email:  ron.brown@itec.suny.edu
Voice:  716-878-ITEC (4832)
Cell:     716-574-0167
Home: 716-297-3324
Fax:     716-878-3485

Additional information about ITEC can be found on the home page:

http://www.itec.suny.edu

This information includes ITEC’s Mission statement, By-laws, membership, procedures for obtaining assistance, and links to our support groups.

Buffalo State College’s home page provides extensive information about their academic programs and facilities.

http://www.buffalostate.edu

 

  

1.   Purpose  

ITEC: The name of the organization is the State University of New York (a.k.a. SUNY or University) Information Technology Exchange Center (hereinafter referred to as ITEC) with resources located at and hosted by SUNY Buffalo State College (hereinafter referred to as Host).

Member: A Member is a membership fee-paying organization or institution that receives services from ITEC.

The purpose of this document is to provide ITEC Members with descriptions of the Standard Support Services; and options for Remote Services and Hosting Services available to them. 

This document describes the services for operating systems, databases, and layered products from the operating system vendors and other third-party vendors. 

Comments are encouraged.  Please address them to:

Ron Brown, CIO
Ron.Brown@itec.suny.edu

or

Barb Boquard, Assistant to the CIO
Barb.Boquard@itec.suny.edu

Buffalo State College
Information Technology Exchange Center
1300 Elmwood Avenue, TR 200
Buffalo, New York 14222
716-878-ITEC (4832)

 

2.   Standard Support and Services 

2.1           Introduction

ITEC’s Standard Support and Services are based upon ITEC’s mission: 

ITEC is a cooperative, voluntary organization funded by its Members, to acquire and share information technology in a cost effective way for all of the University.

Specific objectives for ITEC are:

1.      to provide the University with technological leadership to further the effective application and support of technology in academic programs, administrative operations and underlying information technology infrastructure.  This may include assisting University-wide Programs with support for planning, evaluation, and implementation of technology, particularly interoperability among applications across SUNY;

2.      to provide cost effective ways to acquire, maintain and distribute software as a University-wide asset;

3.      to provide cost effective networked facilities for Members to access common software, thereby eliminating the need to provide this software locally;

4.      to provide a mechanism and forum for sharing knowledge among Members related to academic instruction, research and administrative information systems;

5.      to enhance services to Members. These additional services shall be based on the principle of cooperative and combined matching of Member needs with available products. This will result in effective solutions better than what individual Members can negotiate;

6.      to provide requested computer services and facilities including staff, software, equipment, and communications.  The services include: software distribution; software support; IT business continuity / disaster recovery and planning; security, network and application testing; hosting center; and remote services; and

7.      to provide a home for, as well as distribution and technical support of University-wide academic programs.

 

2.2           Architecture Direction

The ITEC’s Executive Board has directed ITEC to continue providing member support for HP/OVMS, HP/UX (UNIX), IBM AIX (UNIX), SUN Solaris (UNIX), and LINUX while beginning to move toward supporting one operating system and recommended vendor during the next five-year period.  This move is intended to:

  • Take advantage of sharing pooled resources (such as the ability to move resources from one program / Member to another as would be necessary during a disaster recovery scenario).
  • Reduce or stabilize expenses associated with supporting one solution versus many varied solutions.
  • Leverage hardware and software vendors University-wide.
  • Clearly establish a business partner that demonstrates a willingness and ability to support SUNY-wide services and functionality as defined by the University.
  • Select a business partner that has an established strategic direction in support of higher education. 

 The ITEC Executive Board endorses the findings of an analysis performed by the ITEC staff in the white paper entitled, “Future IT Architecture Direction.” 

The ITEC Executive Board has determined that IBM has demonstrated a clear willingness and advantage in each of the SUNY business strategies identified above and can provide support for each University-wide Program and, therefore, endorses IBM as the recommended vendor. This recommendation will be re-visited in an on-going evaluation.

ITEC will support one of the following architectures for new Members joining the program: HP/UX (UNIX), HP/OVMS, IBM/AIX (UNIX), SUN Solaris (UNIX), or LINUX and recommends Members strongly consider the preferred architecture (IBM AIX) for Banner, if not for all servers / systems at the Member’s site.  It is recommended that existing Members consider evolving to the preferred architecture as new hardware is purchased at the Member’s site.  Hopefully, Members electing to migrate to the preferred architecture will have this completed over the next three or four years.  (The Members that have selected to make the change found it took a few months to complete the Banner transition.  The problem Members will have is when to do the transition.)
 

2.3    Traditional Vendor Support

From a simplistic point of view, ITEC centralizes the traditional vendor software support for problem resolution, distribution, upgrades, etc., to one organization in SUNY.  This coordination provides Members with a single point of contact for problem resolution and questions, as well as keeps costs of support to a minimum and Quality of Service (QOS) to a maximum. 

Table 1 below provides a review of traditional vendors supported by ITEC.

Table 1.

ITEC Support Group

Area of Responsibility

Application Support and Development

  • CMS – Course Management Programs
  • Listservs
  •  IBM Lotus
  • Academic Software Initiative (Oracle Academic, Kermit ESRI, Mathematica, Maple,  Minitab) and SolidWorks
  • ITEC Helpdesk issues
  • General questions for routing within ITEC
  • Use of Layered Products – e.g. Microsoft Office
  • Faculty web pages

 

Layered Products

  • Oracle
  • Hyperion
  • Group 1
  • Compilers

Systems and Networking

  • HP OS and Layered products
    • OpenVMS
    • HP UNIX
    • TRU64
  • IBM OS AIX
  • SUN UNIX
  • Linux
  • Microsoft OS and Layered Products
    • Exchange
    • Windows Server and XP Professional
  • Lotus
    • Domino Server
    • Lotus Notes

In addition, ITEC pre-tests most software, works with Members on version control, and serves as a central point for vendor support and conflict resolution. 

ITEC’s Standard Support and Services is similar to that offered by a vendor under their standard support / maintenance program for the software.   Contact procedures for various levels of problems both during normal hours and outside of normal hours are documented on the ITEC website under the section of “Procedures for Obtaining Support and Assistance from ITEC.” 
 

 2.4           Level of Service

The type and level of service ITEC offers under the Standard Support and Services program is directed towards the experienced technical staff that is trained, keeps up-to-date with training, and uses the software on a regular basis. 

If Member staff come across an issue (bug, undocumented error, etc.), they will first request assistance from the local support contact at the Member’s site.  If the local support contact does not have an answer, then the local support contact requests assistance from ITEC.  Local Member contacts can be found on the ITEC home page under “Participating Institutions.”
 

 2.5           Answers to Questions

Standard Support and Services covers answers to specific questions from the Members’ technical staff (e.g., the interpretation of an error message).  Answers supplied may be in the form of reference to a manual, electronic documentation, web site, etc.  Answers do not include responses to general “how to” questions, development of programs, design of applications or performing repetitious activity, etc.  In addition, answers do not include writing any application code, control language code, etc.  This is consistent with traditional vendor customer support. 

At times it may be difficult to determine what support is included and what support is not included under ITEC’s Standard Support and Services.   ITEC is guided by the principle “if we can provide a solution we will.”  In a situation where it is unclear whether or not the support is included, the ITEC staff will strive to resolve the issue for the Member.  The staff will then refer the situation to ITEC’s CIO to decide if the situation is or is not included in the standard services.  If the CIO determines it is beyond the scope of the service a Member has services for with ITEC, the CIO will contact the appropriate Member representative responsible for technology or the ITEC Advisory Committee member.  The CIO and the appropriate Member representative will discuss the situation and will decide on a long-term solution for providing the support for the area in question.  This allows the Member to obtain a solution without delay and it makes it easy for the ITEC staff to determine if they should respond to certain problems…they respond to all of them
 

2.6           Hours of Support

The ITEC office is usually open from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on normal Buffalo State College workdays.  Occasionally, the entire staff is attending staff meetings or training events; during these times the phone will be forwarded to a recording that indicates procedures to follow for immediate assistance.   The recording will indicate who should be called, along with the phone number to call, for urgent support requests.  For non-emergencies, a voice message can be left and it will be routed to the individual as soon as the office is open. 

It is important to note that the emergency contact numbers on the recording are cell phone numbers.  It may take more than one try to reach the ITEC staff member.  Even though there is voice mail on the cell phones, sometimes there are delays in cell phone service due to the location of the staff member.  If the Member does not get a response in 15 minutes, the Member staff should call the number again or try one of the other numbers.  

ITEC is available for assistance during non-office hours for scheduled activities and also is available for urgent issues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

 

2.7           Response Time

2.7.1        ITEC

Members should expect a response back with a solution or update of a problem within one hour.   Response time during business hours is generally 15 minutes.  If the office is closed, please leave a voice message for non-urgent issues, or follow the procedures indicated for urgent issues.

2.7.2        Vendor

SUNY has designated the single support organization for University-wide software contract supported to be ITEC.  Therefore, all technical support calls to vendors must be initiated by ITEC.

ITEC has a track record of answering most questions without vendor assistance.  When ITEC needs to contact vendors for assistance in problem resolution it normally takes at least one day for the vendor to respond.   For urgent problems ITEC can usually contact the vendor immediately and the wait time maybe anywhere from a few minutes to hours.

A complete description of how to get support can be found on ITEC’s web site under “Procedures for Obtaining Support and Assistance from ITEC.”

2.7.3        Help Desk Tickets within ITEC 

Refer to “Procedures for Obtaining Support and Assistance from ITEC” for information on ITEC’s help desk system found on ITEC’s website (http://www.itec.suny.edu).  A daily review of tickets is done by ITEC staff.  Members rank the tickets low, medium, high, or urgent impact.

2.7.4        Notification of Updates 

The ITEC help desk ticket will be updated every time any progress is made on resolution of a problem.  The requestor will be notified with an e-mail message and URL to check for progress on the problem.

2.7.5        Escalation of Help Desk Tickets by Member

The requestor can adjust or upgrade the ranking of the ticket at any time.  Refer to “Procedures for Obtaining Support and Assistance from ITEC” found on ITEC’s website (http://www.itec.suny.edu). 

 

2.8           Software Licenses

2.8.1        University-wide Agreements

Most software has a license for which the University has contracted on behalf of participating Members.  This may be either a Member and / or System Administration license or a University-wide (U-wide) license covering the entire University.  In general, ITEC is responsible for distributing licenses (and “keys” for use) to the Members.  Participation in the software (or maintenance) program also includes receiving updates and new releases of the software.

2.8.2        ITEC Specific Licenses

Similar to University-wide software agreements, some software is ITEC specific and is only available for Members.

 

2.9           Distribution of Software and Documentation

2.9.1 University-wide and ITEC Specific Software

The University-wide and ITEC specific software agreements require all software to be sent to ITEC.  Urgent members’ needs will be addressed as soon as possible.  Most software will be available within 10 working days of ITEC’s receipt of software.

The most current version of software is available in Getsoftware or by FTP server from ITEC’s website (www.itec.suny.edu, ftp.itec.suny.edu, and ftp://sunydbas@ftp.itec.suny.edu).  CD distribution is available if software is not available through Getsoftware and will be shipped using an overnight delivery company.  The Member is responsible for obtaining any software that is not provided by ITEC.  

2.9.2 ITEC Copying of Software

Most of the software agreements require ITEC to distribute the software and any documentation that is in electronic form.  When this is done over a WAN, the software is to be copied via a secure method, which may be through SUNYNet’s intranet or by using some kind of encryption.  Other methods of delivery include producing a single copy of the media and sending it to the Member (e.g., CD and DVD).

2.9.3 Member Copying of Software

Most of the software agreements allow for the Member to copy the software and electronic documentation media for use within SUNY.  (Check each agreement for specific restrictions before copies are made.) 

 2.94 Copyright and Trademark Requirements

Should an agreement allow for copying the software, it will require the copyright and trademark information to be included on each copy (both electronically and on the label).

 2.95 Hot Backup

ITEC has hardware and software available for restoring mission critical applications during a disaster at a Member’s data center.
 

2.10     Member Responsibilities

The Member is responsible for all the normal operations and running of the system(s) at their site.  For the Standard Support and Services offering, ITEC simply replaces the software vendor for problem resolution and coordinates software media distribution, either electronically or by Member-based purchases.

Unless a Member subscribes to the Remote Service offering (below), the Member is responsible for items such as:

·         providing trained support personnel to contact ITEC

·         hardware purchases

·         hardware maintenance

·         software (license, maintenance, upgrades, etc.) that ITEC does not supply

·         hardware configurations

·         installation of software

·         configuration parameters on

o        operating systems, and

o        layered products

·         performance tuning

·         performance monitoring

·         application development

·         backups

·         monitoring system availability

·         printer queue setups

·         training of staff

 

3.    Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery and Planning Services

 

3.1           Introduction

ITEC is starting an Information Technology Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (IT BC / DRP) Project in conjunction with the SICAS Center, the SUNY Training Center, and System Administration. The initial focus of this Project phase is on Banner Members.  Recovering the Banner database and applications, providing a web-based e-mail for emergency communications, and providing access to SUNY Business Systems for a State-operated Member site during a disaster are the initial focus of this Project phase.  The Project will assist Members in planning for the protection of their databases and code trees (applications).  Electronic data vaulting has been tested with a few Members by copying the Banner database and applications to an electronic data vault at ITEC.   

Also, ITEC is preparing an “IT BC/DRP Application and Information Database” to be the repository of information needed for an IT disaster recovery.  This will include some traditional “fixed field” information entry and scanning of documents into a database (e.g., equipment lists, diagrams of existing systems).   In addition, a template is being designed that will outline the various roles of the IT BC/DRP Task Force allowing the Member to respond to a disaster in an orderly and planned manner.  Furthermore, a step-by-step response to a hypothetical disaster will be included.

Contact ITEC’s CIO for additional information on the IT BC/DRP Services offering.  As this offering progresses, additional information will be added to this document and presented at various conferences such as Wizards and STC.

 

4.    Remote Services

 

4.1           Introduction

The Remote Services offering provides a cost effective alternative to Members by providing experienced technical staff to perform high level system administration tasks.  Computer System Administration addresses how organizations seek methods and services that will allow them to easily manage complex systems, accommodate fast changing technologies and user needs, and reduce costs.  As organizations strive to establish a closer link between Information Technology architecture for both Academic and Administrative users, they begin to see the value of and need for high level System Administration of their systems at the strategic level.  Members are faced with increasing pressure to do much more with less, which increases the need for strategic System Administration.

As part of the Remote Services offering, ITEC staff performs non-repetitive computer system administrative tasks such as the installation, monitoring, and setting up of system procedures for computer systems (mainframe or server).  For example: installation of a database software or operating system, compilers, performance tuning reports, and developing procedures for backup and recovery of the disk system.  

Remote Service should not be confused with the Software Support and Services that are part of the ITEC membership fee (see section Software Support and Services).  A campus must be a Member that entitles them to Software Support and Services as a prerequisite to electing to receive Remote Services.  The goal of the Remote Services offering is to empower Members to do routine tasks and have ITEC take responsibility for those tasks that are not done on a regular basis or require a high level of training (such as installation of the Oracle database). 
 

4.2            Systems Covered

The Remote Services option does not cover all systems on a Member site unless the Member has made arrangements for ITEC to do Remote Services on all systems.  The Member and ITEC shall define what systems are covered by the Remote Service.  An example:

A Member running Banner on UNIX or Open VMS will have a production system and a development system.  In general both of these systems would be covered as a Remote Service.  The Member will have the option of ITEC performing Remote Service for the operating system(s) and / or Oracle databases on a per system basis.  Each is priced separately.  If the Member has an e-mail system running on Linux, it will be considered an additional Remote Service.

ITEC will work with Members to define the systems and level of support covered under the Remote Service.
 

4.3            Costs

Costs for Remote Services depend on the specific services to be provided.  In general it is on a per system basis.  However, if a system is used for development (i.e. for Banner) and is setup similar to a covered production (i.e. Banner) system, there will be no additional costs for one development system.  

ITEC’s CIO will determine costs, after the scope of systems is known and the work needed is defined.  The information herein describes the minimum included with the Remote Services offering from ITEC.  Should Members need additional functions performed; associated costs can be determined and presented to the Member.  Examples of additional functions would be Exchange and Notes which are entire enterprises and, therefore, will be an additional charge.  For the Remote Services offering, ITEC’s operational goal is to recover costs on a fair basis based on services selected.
 

4.4            Initial System Review

The objective of the Remote Services offering, in order to be cost effective, is to have systems performing similar functions and be configured similarly within the University.  To accomplish this, ITEC and the Member requesting Remote Services will review the existing hardware and software architecture of the computer system(s).  The Initial System Review will include items such as:

Hardware configuration
            Memory
            Number of processors and speed
            Network interconnections
            Disk and sub-systems

Software configuration
            OS type
            Oracle configuration
            List of products and version of software currently running

Other
            List of existing issues the Member has with the system(s)

Main purpose of the system and type of users
            Hours of operation
            Backup and recovery process
            Usercode assignment routines
            Identification of local technical support contacts

After this Initial System Review, ITEC will prepare hardware and software recommendations for the system(s) with the intent to bring the system up to current levels of software and hardware, and implement “best practice” standards for the architecture.  Compliance with these recommendations will allow ITEC to administer systems in an effective way and improve the Member infrastructure to optimize the service to the Member’s community.

If the Member and ITEC agree that there should be a change in the architecture, they will work together to identify a set of tasks to be completed.  This could include ITEC upgrading the operating system, database, or layered products.  The Member may need to acquire additional hardware and software licenses as part of these recommendations.  The Member and ITEC will need to agree on the tasks, responsibility for each, and a timetable.  Any changes to the timetable will need to be approved by both the Member and ITEC. 

Looking toward the future, ITEC and the Member will work together to keep the architecture up to date.  ITEC and the Member will perform reviews of the architecture at least once a year.   ITEC and the Member will work to implement new hardware as it is needed.   Similarly, software will be upgraded to keep relatively current.  In general, ITEC and the Member will perform a yearly review to ensure the Member will be able to run its application(s) effectively.

 

4.5           Responsibilities

The objective of the Remote Services offering is to have ITEC provide the Member with support of non-repetitive tasks and provide a high level administration.  Determining the functional responsibilities of ITEC and the Member is critical for the proper running of the computer system.

Similar services may be provided for administrative tasks that are repetitive and can be documented by ITEC.   ITEC is willing to perform almost any task, but at an associated cost.  Appendix A, ITEC / Member Responsibilities, is a list of tasks associated with Computer System Administration.  Both the Member and ITEC will need to come to an agreement as to who is responsible for each of the tasks.  For example, ITEC may be responsible for software installation and the Member may be responsible for obtaining software licenses and support.

In general, the Member is responsible for: all day-to-day activities, all repetitive tasks, and those tasks and processes documented by ITEC that should be performed as necessary.  These tasks should be documented in such a way that they are able to be done by a non-system administrator, an experienced operator, or an entry-level programmer.

Names and contact information for Member contacts must be submitted to ITEC.  It is important to have at least a primary and a backup person responsible for the day-to-day activities for which ITEC is involved.

ITEC may need access to an onsite PC with a serial port and ethernet connection.  For example, the serial port should be connected to the operator port on the system.  The PC should have a special board in it that allows for remote activity through TCP/IP to give ITEC the control necessary for making software upgrades, installations, and other related administration functions.  When this function is not needed, the service (function) can be disabled for security reasons.  The PC needs the ITEC standard software installed for remote connectivity.  Currently it can be any one or more of the following:  PC-Anywhere, Terminal Services (Remote Desktop), VNC, Telnet and ssh (for non Windows machines).  Other reasonable needs of ITEC and the Member will be addressed as soon as they are identified and a resolution mutually agreed upon by both.

ITEC also will need to have remote control access to any machines that ITEC will be installing or upgrading software on. 

The Member will ensure that adequate bandwidth and proper network connectivity / access is in place between ITEC and the Member site.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

4.6           Hardware Maintenance 

The Member is responsible for maintenance of all hardware.  In the event of a hardware problem, the Member should contact the vendor for resolution.  Response time and other levels of service need to be incorporated into the hardware maintenance agreement between the Member and the vendor.  If a problem occurs, and it is unclear whether it is a hardware problem or not, the Member is responsible for contacting both the vendor and ITEC.  ITEC will assist in finding a resolution to the problem.
 

4.7           Software Maintenance 

The Member is responsible for acquiring all software licenses, upgrades, and support.  If the software is part of a University-wide license, the Member must sign a Participating Institution Agreement (PIA) and pay the associated fees.  For University-wide licensed software, ITEC will perform upgrades on the system, resolve problems, etc.  For software licensed by the Member and not SUNY (i.e., SAS), ITEC will work with the Member in performing upgrades and with problem resolution provided the vendor recognizes ITEC as an authorized support contact for the Member.
 

4.8           Optional Services  

ITEC can provide other services that may be beneficial to the Member.  Examples include monitoring of systems and notification of a problem and remote operation of the Member computer when Member staff is unavailable.    

If a Member is interested in a similar type of service, contact ITEC to determine the viability of including the service in the Remote Services agreement for that Member.   

 

5.   Information Technology (IT) Hosting Services  

Note: At the present time the hosting covers the “core” Banner products and no third party products.  These are being evaluated by the SICAS Center as to which of these products will be fully supported by them.  The ITEC Executive Board will then make appropriate changes in this section for Hosting.  Until this happens, ITEC will on a Member-by-Member basis address the products outside of “core” Banner.
 

5.1           Introduction 

Transitional and permanent information technology (IT) hosting services is an offering in which ITEC is responsible for providing the computer hardware and the operations of the computer system(s) for a Member.  The hardware is generally located at ITEC although there may be some small servers in support of three-tiered architecture (WEB applications, forms, print spooling, and so on) at the Member’s site.  The day-to-day operation of the local server(s) is the responsibility of the Member.   

The types of hosting services that have been provided effectively are those that can be replicated for more than one Member or University-wide program(s).  ITEC is willing to host or coordinate any reasonable service requested by the Member for either a transitional period of time or on a permanent basis.          

The Hosting Service provided by ITEC is usually a cooperative effort of the Member and other University-wide Programs, including SUNY’s Training Center, SICAS Center, and SUNYNet.  The combined effort of these University-wide Programs makes an excellent service available for Members to voluntarily select.

 

5.2           Scope

There are two major administrative functions that a Member requires for high quality and high availability of service: administrative information systems and e-mail.  Both of these services are critical to the operation of the Member site while not critical to the Member’s mission involving academic instruction and research. 

The Hosting Services offering described herein is for Member administrative systems and e-mail systems.  The administrative information system Banner from SunGard and various e-mail systems from IBM and Microsoft are used.  Other packages and “home grown” systems can be considered for the Hosting Services offering.  The Banner application is selected because it is supported by the SICAS Center and is the most widely used administrative information system in the University. 

 

5.3           Information System Strategy

Members selecting the Hosting Services offering are making a long-term strategic decision for the delivery of administrative information systems and e-mail systems.  A significant amount of staff time at ITEC and other University-wide Programs maybe required to migrate a Member to a hosted architecture.  While a Member can terminate this service, it usually requires the same effort in returning to a Member-based solution.  (See the ITEC Bylaws for terminating an offering.) Members considering the Hosting Services offering should contact existing users to discuss their experiences as well as those who considered the offering but did not select it.

 

5.4           Technology Architecture and Currency

The Member is relieved of the activities associated with upgrades, replacement, and maintenance of software and hardware resources.  Equally important, the Hosting Services offering assures the Member that they will not fall behind technologically and that they will have predictability in budgeting for Banner and other services in the future.  In addition, Members selecting the Hosting Services offering will have a near “high availability technology architecture” for their applications and not the expense to acquire and / or support it.

Example:  A Member using SunGard Banner for administrative services:   ITEC would provide server hardware, operations support, operating system and Oracle system administration (database and application server) for Member databases on said servers.  The Member would still require operations support for running reports, scheduling batch jobs, performing application upgrades and troubleshooting.  The SICAS Center would provide the application support the Banner application.  ITEC would provide the necessary connectivity to SUNYNet’s Intranet and the Internet from ITEC. Members would need to provide similar connectivity from their site.  This is critical for good performance.  This connectivity is similar to what is required for other University-wide Programs such as SUNYConnect (library automation), and the SUNY Learning Network (SLN).

 

5.5           First Step

The first step in the transition process is a set of meetings with the Member staff and ITEC staff.  The purpose of these meetings is to make sure that all expectations and responsibilities of all parties are clear and understood (refer to Appendix B).  After the initial meeting the Member will then review their decision about the Hosting Services offering to make sure it meets needs and expectations.  If a Member decides to migrate to a Hosting Service, additional meetings between the Member and ITEC will be scheduled to keep all parties updated. (Note:  Meetings can take place in a variety of ways – videoconferencing, conference calls, and such technologies).

 

5.6           Transition Plan

Once the Member makes the decision to accept the Hosting Services offering, the Member and ITEC staff involved will develop a plan that assigns tasks (who does what) and sets the timeline for transferring to the hosted environment.  This plan will allow the Member to have direct input on the schedule and installation of additional resources at ITEC if needed.

 

 

5.7           Hardware

The amount of hardware resources needed for a Member is discussed at an initial planning meeting and can be determined prior to committing to the Hosting Services offering.

The “critical” server / mainframe hardware (does not include hardware such as desktops, notebooks, and specialty hardware), operating system(s) and layered products (compilers, utilities, and other such programs used to develop applications), and database software and utilities are included as part of the hosting.  This will include the hardware at the Member site to connect to the hardware at ITEC.  Members are responsible for their network connection to ITEC through the SUNYNet Intranet services or they will need to provide their own secure network connection that is compatible with the SUNYNet Intranet Services offerings.  SUNYNet Intranet Services is optimized to offer these network connections and services at the best service to a Member.

The hardware supports the services a Member needs and is shared with other Members and University-wide Programs.  This may be of concern to some Members.  The hardware and related software are installed so each Member has the “feel” of having its own hardware. 

 

5.8           Software

Software licenses, support, upgrades, etc. are provided through the University-wide Programs or by the Member directly if there is not a University-wide contract in place.  ITEC usually provides operating systems and layered products, Oracle software, etc., through University-wide contracts and ITEC membership fees; the SICAS Center provides the similar for Banner.  These and other software are available through University-wide contracts that are very favorable to the University.

The software for which there is no University-wide contract will need to be supplied directly by the Member or reimbursement provided to ITEC for the cost of the software license, support, and maintenance.  A typical example of one such product is a COBOL compiler which is required by SunGard Banner.

 

5.9           Member Advantages

The following are some of the advantages a Member may find in selecting the Hosting Services offering:

 5.91     Staff

The Member that selects the Hosting Services offering will allow the Information Technology (IT) staff to concentrate on services that are not easily provided in a hosting arena.  This will provide better service to the Member’s end users.  ITEC is able to offer these services for Members because of the similar functions that are easily replicated for a single site.  

The tasks described in the Hosting Services offering are usually not done by staff on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis.   For example, major upgrades to the Oracle database software usually is done once a year, at most twice a year.  A person who only performs these tasks once a year will need to investigate the upgrades, look for patches, verify compatibility with the operating system and other products, etc.  In addition, the cost for keeping a person minimally trained is time consuming (usually two to three weeks per year for training and the major conference) and expensive.  In addition, training is one of the first items usually cut in tight budget times.  The DBA responsibilities require that the DBA keeps up-to-date with current releases, required new modules, and functions of the software.  ITEC database administrators provide depth and expertise in performing the tasks effectively and efficiently. 

5.92     Availability

The 24x7x”forever” is impossible.  There will always be hardware and /or software problems unless very expensive fully fault tolerant systems and networking are purchased.   Combining the resources of Members and University-wide Programs allows for the selection of a technology architecture (software, hardware, networking, power – UPS/generator, and staffing) that allows near 24x7x”forever” availability for the Member end users.

By combining the common service functions of Members and University-wide Programs, ITEC has been able to provide an environment and architecture that allows members to have a high availability of technology architecture at a lesser cost than a Member may have independently.  


5.93     Budget Stabilization and Costs

The Hosting Services offering provides the Member with a predictable budget for the services, software, and hardware covered in the hosting.  Usually Members have a large expenditure of hardware to support administrative information systems every three to four years.   The sharing of resources allows ITEC to make yearly purchases to meet the need of the services provided during the coming year.  Since hardware technology continues to drop in cost (about 20% to 30% per year compounded) there is no purchasing needs beyond the coming year. The Hosting Services offering provides Members a predictable budget to support the selected hosting service.

The Hosting Services offering requires membership in ITEC.  For the Banner program described, membership is required in: ITEC for Basic and Remote Services for operating systems and Oracle DBA resources; the SUNY Training Center for the ITEC training program; and the SICAS Center for Banner licenses, support, maintenance, and SICAS enhancements.  These fees are fixed and provide the Member the services that they now will be receiving.

Cost for the Hosting Services offering will be determined after the initial meetings with the Member.  \

 

5.10     ITEC Responsibilities

ITEC shall provide the Member with operating system software, Oracle software, and related server hardware for support of the administrative student record software provided through the SICAS Center.  This includes:

  1. first and second tier software support;
  2. software licensing and related maintenance;
  3. software installation, including updates and required fixes / patches;
  4. software documentation as provided by vendors;
  5. assistance with training tracks for Information Technology staff;
  6. hardware and related maintenance (8x5 w/4 hour response time);
  7. backup of data at ITEC;
  8. monitoring of server performance;
  9. assistance with Wide Area Network (WAN) connections;
  10. training or written documentation as needed for day-to-day operations;
  11. services as a clearinghouse for information and Member expertise;
  12. recording, reporting and monitoring of problems, questions, and resolutions through the help desk system;
  13. facilitation of communication via discussion lists, help desk, and e-mail as needed;
  14. providing procedures for obtaining support and assistance from ITEC; and
  15. performance of vendor contract negotiations

 

6.   Academic Software Initiative (ASI)
 

 6.1           Introduction

The Academic Software Initiative (ASI) offers faculty software tools and utilities to be used in support of traditional instructional methods.  The goals of this initiative are to ensure that SUNY is at the forefront in utilization of software to enhance instruction and academic research; more importantly to foster a quality academic experience by identify and making available to faculty and students the most current and appropriate software tools available.  The ASI includes:  Oracle Academic, Kermit, ESRI, Mathematica, Maple, and Minitab.  SolidWorks is an additional software package available through ITEC.

Advantages of participating in the ASI include: most of the programs license all Member-owned and operated computers for a single annual fee; updates and new releases are made available at no additional cost to the Member so use of software will be encouraged across disciplines without increased license or support costs to the Member; and curriculum development between Members will not be hampered and may actually be promoted.  In addition, most programs also license faculty, staff and student home computers making use of the software time and place independent.   

6.2           Participation Options 

Members may subscribe to the complete ASI package (Oracle Academic, Kermit, ESRI, Mathematica, Maple, and Minitab) or select portions of the software package.   SolidWorks is not included in the complete ASI package but may be subscribed to individually. 

6.3            Description of Software 

Below is a brief description of each software program offered:       

Mathematica: Technical computing and analysis software, including interactive calculation, visualization tools, and a complete programming environment. Participation in this program provides a Member with licensing for all Member-owned and operated academic machines (faculty, academic staff, and lab computers), as well as faculty, academic staff and student home use.

Maple: Technical computing and analysis software, including interactive calculation, visualization tools, and a complete programming environment. Participation in this program provides a Member with licensing for all Member-owned and operated machines, as well as faculty, staff and student home use.

Minitab:  Technical statistical computation software.  Participation in this program provides a Member with licensing for all Member-owned and operated machines, as well as faculty, staff and student home use.

ESRI:  ESRI geographic information systems software is widely used across disciplines and across SUNY Members.  Participation in this program provides a Member with licensing for all Member-owned and operated machines, as well as faculty, staff and student home use.

Oracle Academic-Only Licensing:  If an individual department at a Member site wishes to use any of the Oracle database and related products for which SUNY is licensed, only for instructional purposes, the department may receive licensing and support through this program.

SolidWorks:  3D mechanical design software that allows users to create 3D models from 2D data, provides design communication capabilities, facilitates the sharing of 2D and 3D product design information, and provides for designing and changing components from within the assembly.
 

6.4           Software Licenses:   

Refer to Section 2.8 of this document for policies and procedures on software licensing.
 

6.5           Distribution of Software and Documentation:  

Refer to Section 2.9 of this document for policies and procedures on distribution of software and documentation. 

 

7.   Training 

For any of services that ITEC offers, the Member staff must be appropriately trained.  (Refer to ITEC’s By-laws found on ITEC’s home page http://www.itec.suny.edu.)     ITEC has an agreement with the SUNY Training Center (www.tc.suny.edu) for offering an ITEC Technical Training Program.  This program: 

  • determines the level of training Member staff needs at the various levels of services they receive from ITEC;
  • performs an ITEC-wide needs assessment; and
  • offers training based on the needs of ITEC members.

The ITEC and Training Center staffs work closely in determining the training requirements and the Technical Training Program. 

Members are requested to provide reasonable training to their staff in regards to their agreements with ITEC.  ITEC and the Training Center will work with Members to develop a appropriate training programs.  In the event that the plan to remediate or enhance Member needs is not implemented, the ITEC Executive Board will be informed and will decide on a resolution to this issue.

The forms of the training program include:

  • contracting with traditional training vendors to offer training for members
  • “Wizards”
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • conferences

 

 Appendix A  Remote Services

Appendix B   ITEC/Member Information for Hosting Services


 

 

 


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