Monthly Technology Report

To improve the visibility of the work in Computing and Communications, we also will report out monthly on large work products and efforts for the month. This is a small synopsis of much of the work that has been accomplished over the summer. Thanks to all the staff and collaborators for all the hard work.  Enjoy!

OCIO Compliance – Completed and submitted the 2018 State of Washington Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) policy compliance certification. A new Security Team has been charged to have official responsibility and oversight for the security of college systems and network infrastructure. This is the implementation of a collaborative approach to work that has always been done, but not always coordinated or viewed from an enterprise perspective. The first efforts of the team will be to review and update the incident response plan and the security program. Preparations are being made to have a security program compliance audit conducted by an external third party. State OCIO policy requires that we have a security program in place and that it be audited every 3 years.
Our brand new Physical Computing Center (PCC) is now operational. A successful beta run this summer has been completed on the PCC, that now occupies the old classroom across from Media Loan. With Evergreen Foundation support, faculty collaboration and a high level of student engagement, we now have a very cool technology/maker space on campus. This facility boasts a wide array of technologies for students to explore including robotics, a networking sandbox, 3D printers and all kinds of interesting computer interfacing tools. We are excited with the possibilities and look forward to continued expansion and use as we go into the first full academic year with this new technology space.
Staff Reorganization and the Technical Support Center (TSC) – There has been significant changes over the past month with layoffs and union actions impacting the teams across C&C. New faces are now at the TSC and in Curricular Support. In light of Mark Holm’s departure, we are focused on keeping the TSC functioning at a high efficiency and getting this key vacant leadership position filled as quickly as possible. Coupled with the staffing changes in the TSC, Computer lab and office computer upgrades have slowed somewhat.  We are working hard to buckle down and get equipment to users as quickly as possible. The focus now being faculty before the start of school. In addition we are upgrading a few computer labs across campus and are in the process of upgrading all student lab computer images in preparation for fall quarter.
Schedule Evergreen is now live! We have officially launched Schedule Evergreen to the community and are busy with the post roll out discovery fixes and improvements. The development team has rallied amazingly well after losing a key developer at a critical point in the project and with other high priority work that has been hitting the team prior to fall quarter. This is easily one of the most complex projects as well as one of the most student-centric projects to date.
Banner 9 rollout and adoption has been an important parallel focus. The Enterprise Applications and Network Services teams have been working together to update the databases and infrastructure to accommodate Banner 9 as the new ERP foundation for the college. Financial Aid and Admissions are both slated to move workflows in October and others to follow closely behind. We still have significant work to mitigate custom elements of Banner that will take primary focus this fall and the team is doubling down in making sure the environment is functional and stable during these transitions.
Just so everyone is also aware, Enterprise Applications Team will be hiring a new Developer/Analyst soon! We are in the process of hiring a vacant developer/analyst position to get the team back as close as possible to a sustainable level, keep your eyes on the HR website for the recruitment.
AV Classroom Support Changes are now in full operation. We are pleased to announce that long-time evergreen staffer Kathryn Ford has joined the EME team this past summer. Kathryn has many years experience providing technology support for AV classroom users and we are already seeing the benefits of closer coordination between her role and our work designing, installing and maintaining classrooms. This will also allow our AV classroom techs to provide backup for Kathryn during periods of peak demand.
There have also been considerable work dedicated the Campus IT Infrastructure project. Since January 2018 we have been preparing for a major renovation to the campus networking infrastructure as well as important safety and security systems. This project will provide a more robust and reliable network communications environment for the campus in order to support critical communications systems and to minimize the impact of occasional power outages. The construction and installation portions of this broad-reaching project will begin Winter quarter and will wrap up the following summer.
AV Lecture Classrooms have also been updated over the summer. We are currently wrapping up the project to update AV classroom systems in the Seminar 2 1105 and 1107 lecture rooms as well as Longhouse classrooms. These new systems feature awesome ‘laser’ video projectors, simplified “touch panel” control devices and a host of other improvements to make these rooms more reliable and easier to use, just in time for fall quarter!
As part of the newest capital project, the Critical Power, Safety & Security Project is now underway: We will be replacing all the network switches on Campus as part of this project. Our current switches are over 5 years old and don’t have the hardware redundancy required to support critical systems. The new switches will have redundancy and will be able to support higher bandwidth. We are working with Synchronous Technologies, a local reseller of Aruba/HP network equipment to design and quote the Aruba/HP equipment. We learned, from network performance data, around 70% of our wired network ports had no data traffic over the past 12 months. We have roughly 9300 switch ports and the Olympia and Tacoma campus. 6300 have had no data traffic in the past 12 months. We are planning to reduce the number of switches and switch ports to match the number of ports actually in use. This avoids around $2M in switch costs upfront and saves on power and cooling in the future.
There has also been considerable traction completed on our SAN Reconfiguration and Maintenance Renewal Project. We added additional storage and renewed maintenance on our primary SAN for two more years. The SAN is the disk storage system for all the data in the data center. This is the last time we will be able to renew maintenance on this SAN. It will go end-of-support in August 2020.