IT Updates

  • IT Help System. The Office of Information Technology implemented new IT service delivery support processes and a new IT Help Desk system to better track and manage all service and support requests. Also implemented was a network systems monitoring solution that continuously monitors all IT services, and network and server equipment performance and availability, and provides SMS Text Message alerts to IT staff in the event of a failure or performance issue.
  • Improved Internet access for the campus. A dedicated fiber-optic network connection to the UWS campus was installed, providing 100 MB/s of Internet bandwidth to the campus as well as a 10 MB/s private WAN to all university facilities off campus. This was a dramatic improvement over the previous 2 MB/s connection through T1 lines.
  • New student computer workstations. 45 new Dell Optiplex 755 workstations replaced outdated thin client student terminals on campus.
  • New network security architecture. A new redundant and modern firewall system was installed. This consisted of state of the art network and host-based firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, SPAM firewalls, and anti-virus servers. It also added a VPN (virtual private network) capability to the campus, allowing for the development of improved means of accessing campus electronic resources from off-campus.
  • Moodle Learning Management System Upgrade. Previously, the campus learning management system (Moodle) was hosted by a third party, however there were numerous quality problems with that system, so the IT staff established a new Moodle system on campus servers and assumed total control of the LMS.
  • Data Center Upgrade. The UWS campus data center was completely remodeled to provide a modern facility capable of hosting an enhanced IT infrastructure. New power circuits, a room-wide high capacity data center class uninterruptible power supply (UPS) with support for a future diesel generator, new telecom and server racks, and new cable management were all implemented in the server room. The data center was also outfitted with dedicated redundant air conditioning systems to ensure adequate environmental control for the university's IT systems.
  • Implement new core network for the campus. New servers with server virtualization technology were purchased and configured allowing replacement of 18 existing out-of-date servers. A new iSCSI storage area network (SAN) was implemented with an initial 36TB of storage. The system now supports over 60 servers in its clustered virtualization environment and provides extremely high redundancy and fault tolerance, as well as flexibility to add new services when needed without having to obtain new dedicated hardware. All core network routers and switches were replaced. New backup and disaster recovery hardware and software was installed to protect critical information assets. Off-campus clinics are now fully integrated into the UWS network. Here are some pictures of some server room changes. An all-new Microsoft Active Directory, Directory Services was implemented to provide authentication, authorization and auditing services for information resources. New secure network file servers were implemented and a SharePoint 2010 content management system was implemented to provide storage and access to files. The university's e-mail system was upgraded to Microsoft Exchange 2010, and the production database server was upgraded to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise.
  • Rewiring of the entire campus and implementation of a secure wireless network. Prior to 2011, parts of the campus had sub-standard network cabling and very little Wi-Fi coverage. The IT department then replaced the multimode fiber optic cabling connecting most campus buildings to the main data center and extended it to all campus buildings that did not have a fiber connection. Any buildings with less than Category 5e cabling were rewired with Category 6 cable. New managed switches were installed in all buildings. All networking equipment were replaced with enterprise class networking components capable of providing at least gigabit (1000 MB/s) connectivity to every port. An advanced campus-wide 802.11n wireless network was added, ensuring ubiquitous access to network resources from anywhere on campus.
  • Implementation of lecture capture technology. After an extensive evaluation of commercial lecture capture systems, we selected Tegrity for the new system at UWS. This was activated in June 2011 for testing and will be rolled out to the entire campus over 2011-12. As part of this process, intellectual property and copyright policies need to be revised. Here’s a page that further discusses lecture capture.
  • Conversion of telephone system to VOIP technology. Once the campus had been rewired, including the addition of extra network jacks in each work area, the IT department was able to dismantle the obsolete analog phone system and replace it with a VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) system. This greatly improved reliability, quality, and convenience.