CCS: Opening Doors Through Technology
In support of CCS’ Vision, To be technology and knowledge solution leaders, partnering with University communities, enabling excellence in teaching, learning and research, we have developed a series of White Papers that provide detailed analysis on technology trends that have been identified as important to the campus community. These papers may be in response to various committee requests, such as Information Services Committee, or in response to requests from the CIO or CCS Management Team. They are intended to offer guidance, aid in decision making and open discussion. They do not necessarily represent direction or policy. We hope that you will find these studies useful and that they assist you in making decisions and expanding your understanding around options for the implementation of emerging technologies.
CCS: Changing lives, improving life by enabling our community.
When considering any IT software solution, due diligence must be taken to ensure that we have done all that we can to protect our investment and UG assets. Whether the solution is to be hosted on University of Guelph premises or up in the “cloud” there is much to consider. Read our Assessment Checklist to aid in your decision making.
Tablet devices, especially the iPad are becoming a more common sight on campus. The iPad at U of G article details one person’s experience with integrating the iPad into his work day as a productivity tool, outlining successes as well as failures.
A small library cannot become a big one just by building more cheap shelving. It requires shelving appropriate for different resources. … and it requires a catalogue system to access content by its attributes, and acquisition and collection weeding practices to manage the value of the collection.
The demand for storage continues to grow. While part of this growth demands high performance storage for effective online applications, a growing portion of this storage has different characteristics that suggest lower cost storage alternatives. To meet storage demands, an enterprise storage infrastructure must include technology with different cost/performance characteristics.
Managing cost also includes comprehensive data management practices and tools to ensure information is stored efficiently and securely. A comprehensive Digital Storage Plan is the key.
- Data management strategy with institutional information management policies and guidelines aware of the content offered and stored.
- Storage infrastructure strategy with alternative storage services at pricing sensitive to operating costs, unit/user ability to pay, and institutional resource management strategies.
The paper An Enterprise Strategy for Low Cost Storage presents strategies to increase storage capacity and reduce unit costs.
While CCS is offering a storage service to campus on new storage infrastructure, there seems to be an opportunity for a second tier, lower cost, service to cover other storage needs of departments and individuals. Questions asked include:
- Is this perceived need common?
- If it is, how is the storage industry reacting?
- What solutions are being offered or developed to meet these needs?
- Where does this tier of storage fit in the overall future of storage?
- Where does cloud storage fit in?
CCS should not attempt provide low cost raw disk storage but focus on establishing a broader suite of information management applications and value-added productivity tools for major content management applications. A data management platform would optimize enterprise costs. Information lifecycle management would move data to alternate tiers as the data ages, ultimately securely destroying obsolete data or moving it to a permanent archive. Separating storage technology from storage services supports newer more cost efficient technologies, including cloud storage. The Expanding CCS Storage Services report describes how CCS could support the growing challenge of Information/Data Management by individuals, research teams, and departments.
This investigation considered opportunities to improve energy use efficiency in the campus Data Centre complex operated by CCS. An analysis of the Data Centre systems and their current energy use was compared with current industry best practices to produce a set of improvement recommendations. They include
- immediate low-cost operational changes to reduce energy waste,
- limited-cost tactical changes to improve monitoring and manageability of energy use, and
- longer term strategic plans, with significant project costs, to evolve the Data Centre to optimal best practices and an improved cooling system
The Energy Efficiency Improvements in the Campus Data Centre report describes how energy is used in the Data Centre, identifies areas of inefficiency, and recommends next step activities to reduce consumption.
A Business Analyst (BA) contributes to the success of IT projects by bridging the gap between the viewpoints of business managers and IT analysts. The role of the BA is to describe the business problem, solution alternatives, and deliverables of a project in business terms. The BA adds value through better defined projects resulting in more successful technology and knowledge solutions. The result is lower risk, more cost effective, and highly successful projects. The BA understands business management practices and processes and is an advocate for the business leader. The BA has the skills to apply industry-best-practice business analysis and the competencies to build relationships and to effectively communicate business and technology concepts and solution values to many audiences. The BA is a valued enterprise team player. The Defining the Value of the Business Analyst report describes the role of the Business Analyst and how they can bring value to business unit driven projects that involve IT systems.
CCS is charged with providing effective and reliable services for synchronizing Gryph mail and calendars with institutionally owned Blackberry devices. The current solution, Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) coupled with Zimbra Connector for Blackberry (ZCB), suffers from some systemic but largely manageable issues. Still, there are sufficient concerns to justify investigation and evaluation of other options. Astrasync, a third party application for the Blackberry, appeared promising and its utility was assessed. The Blackberry Support Recommendations report reviews the BES offering and Astrasync, including recommendations to move forward.
Maintaining and supporting the latest Personal Computers (desktops/laptops) is an expensive affair. The Hosted Virtual Desktops report explores Hosted Virtual Desktops, a new technology that promises significant reduction of these equipment costs and improved support of IT resources for information workers.
Although the use of wireless mobile devices is rapidly growing, the rising costs and required support are a major concern. The Mobile Device Costs report presents an overview of the current costs, and investigates cost saving mechanisms. The recommendations focus on an enterprise management solution that not only reduces cost but enables enterprise support of these productivity tools to maximize their value to the University mission.
Google has updated their YouTube Direct tool for managing user contributed multimedia content. It could be a useful tool to manage audio and video content on University web pages. This quick investigation defines the product, considers opportunities and issues related to using it in the University, and recommends additional development associated with its use.