July 12, 2012

Systems Management

What was once a highly manual process done in the middle of the night by a “team of zombies” will soon be automated. Each month during the night, systems support staff are tasked to install patches, or bug fixes, on as many as 300 University servers which can take up to 15 minutes per server including rebooting.

The University of Lethbridge recently tendered an RFP on systems operations management, which will vastly reduce this labor-intensive work. It also will assist in the development of a strategy of systems management that will allow IT to have greater visibility into the increasing complexity of the U of L’s computing systems.

The successful respondent, LongView Systems, will assist IT Services in the implementation of an enterprise patch management platform, which will fulfill outstanding requirements outlined by the Auditor General.  In addition, ITS and its partner will implement tools that provide reporting and dash-boarding of U of L critical systems. The result will produce increased reliability and efficiency across the computing systems portfolio.

Right Answers

An increasing number of University users (students, faculty & staff) are experiencing difficulties using applications and searching for solutions to their issues.  On average 30% of all calls to the IT Solutions Centre are concerning the use of applications.

The Solutions Centre (SC) is near or at capacity with its workload.  Automation of some knowledge requests will help ease the load on the SC staff, letting them provide more solutions in a more timely manner.

The University of Lethbridge has entered a partnership with RightAnswers for self-service support. RightAnswers is the industry leader in Knowledge Management and providing self-service solutions.  Currently it provides more than 150,000 solutions for  approximately 300 common applications.  The University community will be able to gain access to the RightAnswers knowledge base through the web.  Users can use their iPhone, iPad, Windows laptop or almost any device with an internet connection to search for answers to software issues.  The University of Lethbridge can customize the content on the knowledge base to suit the University’s needs or settings.  This service has solutions from Microsoft office and Internet Explorer to iPad and iPhone.

Kathy Retirement

The University community bid farewell to one of its longest serving employees in June.

Kathy Lee, in Information Technology,  “troubleshoot-ed” (troubleshot?) and assisted with her last PC, Macintosh, telephone, printer, any many other technology devices and services, after 30-plus years.

It’s with mixed emotions we say goodbye.

Concordia move

In June, four ITS network staff traveled to Edmonton to spend two days moving computers, videoconferencing suites and other technology to the campus’s new location at Concordia University. The move needed to be accomplished between summer semesters, and downtime for  campus staff was less than a day.

U of L Edmonton students will  now be attending classes at a campus rather than at an office building in the downtown core, and Concordia’s IT staff will provide all technology support—an extra benefit that did not exist in the downtown location.