Feb, 2013

IT Services Weekly Update

Critical Services (Banner, Moodle, Wireless, Internet)

  • All services functioning normally.

KPI Spotlight

Within the past 3 weeks, we’ve seen about 257,000 logins to the student webmail system from 8,842 unique users.   If we break down these quarter million logins, we see:

  • 60,000 from on-campus
  • 197,000 from off-campus

On average, this breaks down to:

  • 11,600 logins/day
  • 490 logins/hour
  • 8 logins/minute

Distribution of these logins through the hours in the day:


Service Improvements

  • Excel Training – We have brought in an external trainer to provide an introductory course on Microsoft Excel for faculty and staff, which started on Feb 21 and has 24 participants.  The course consists of four 2-hour sessions, and participants have indicated that it is excellent material and is being delivered very effectively.  We have booked several other courses in the future, including Outlook Tips & Tricks, Word level 1, and Excel level 2.
  • SWATCA – The annual Teachers’ Convention is the largest conference hosted on the University campus, and includes heavy use of audio/video technologies in our classrooms and computer labs.  All accounts suggest that this year’s event went very well.

IT Services Weekly Update

Critical Services (Banner, Moodle, Wireless, Internet)

All services functioning normally.

KPI Spotlight

As we enter the busy mid-term exam period, the Learning Management System (Moodle) is functioning well with the heavy load we are seeing:

Feb 13 – 453 exams completed (one room)

Feb 14 – 643 exams completed (two rooms for 6 hours of the day)

Service Improvements

We have installed Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) in Anderson Hall, Turcotte Hall, and Tsuu T’ina House.  This ensures that our network infrastructure supporting wired and wireless network and telephones continues to operate in the event of a brief power outage.


Project & Portfolio Management tool selected

Over the last year, the IT Services Project Management Office (PMO) has conducted a project to identify the requirements for an enterprise-class Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) tool.  During this time, many meetings were held to communicate the project objectives and collect  requirements from departments and units across the University, with focus placed on those that conduct projects on a regular basis.  An online survey was also used to collect functional requirements of a potential tool.

Using the results from the meetings and survey, the PMO sent out a request to 14 PPM tool vendors, in Dec 2012, for information and pricing for their PPM solution.  After a rigourous selection process, including demonstrations of a number of the candidate tools, the selection committee chose AtTask Inc. (www.attask.com) as the PPM tool vendor.

Over the next two months, IT Services will work with AtTask to implement and configure the system to our needs.  We anticipate launching the new PPM system on April 1, 2013, after which it will serve as the focal point for project management and project governance in IT Services.

During the implementation of AtTask within ITS, we would be happy to discuss our experience with other units on campus who may be interested in utilizing this tool as well.

For further information concerning the PPM Tool project, please contact Chris Roberts.

IT Services Weekly Update

Critical Services (Banner, Moodle, Wireless, Internet)

All services functioning normally.

KPI Spotlight

The IT Services project register is used to track project initiatives within IT Services and ROSS (Student Information Systems):

Active Projects: 32

Proposed Projects: 10

Projects completed within the past year: 67

Service Improvements

The Registrar’s Office noted that students were having difficulty locating the Academic Calendar.  A new link has been added to the Home Page to facilitate access.


Advizor implementation in Advancement

As part of the Ellucian Portal/BI project, a data visualization tool called Advizor was implemented in Advancement in December to query constituent data in ways not previously possible.  It has been extremely well received, and allows fundraising staff to answer a multitude of questions pertaining to their data visually and in real-time without assistance from technical experts.  A subsequent extension to this platform is now underway to leverage its predictive analytics capabilities, allowing the department to leverage its historical data to make predictions about future events.

IT Services busy during Christmas break

IT Services completed a number of system upgrades during the Christmas – New Year period, taking advantage of precious time when there are fewer students, faculty and staff on campus.  These upgrades included:

  • Service Monitoring System Upgrade (Microsoft Manager System Center 2012)
    Operations Manager provides infrastructure monitoring that is flexible and cost-effective, helps ensure predictable performance and availability of vital applications, and offers comprehensive monitoring for the data center and cloud, both private and public. It enables IT Services to set thresholds and monitor baselines.
  • Network Services Upgrades (QIP, Firewalls)
    These are essentially maintenance upgrades. The firewall upgrade is effectively a new engine with more horse power to meet the growing needs of the U of L, and capable of handling more Internet traffic from more users. QIP is the system that handles the IP addressing of devices connected to the U of L network.  It provides better functionality, resulting in a more robust system, and to handle the growing needs of the U of L users.
  • Telephone Services Upgrades (Unified Communications)
    Staff applied patches to provide stability to our telecommunications, an offshoot of which reconfigured the phone system to a new server. A virtual machine now provides a higher level of disaster recovery and redundancy to one of our Life Safety Systems.
  • Servers & Storage Upgrades (Load Balancer, Storage)
    Load balancers that handle Exchange mail and Moodle Services, and large disk upgrades both provide added stability to campus IT services.  Communications Technology is constantly doing work behind the scenes that is preventive while supporting and enhancing all of the University’s systems.

Websites launches

The IT Services Web team continues to migrate old legacy sites into the new Drupal-based content management system. The following sites were launched within the past few weeks:

Classroom Support

Conference & Event Services

Human Resources’ Wellness site

Information Technology Services

Facilities’ campus Sustainability site

Alberta Conference on Linguistics (Nov. 2012)

Western Canadian Deans of Graduate Studies conference (Jan 31-Feb 1)