Category Archives: IT Projects

System maintenance project, new projects, project updates

Time and Leave Upgrade is Mobile Friendly

Beginning Monday, October 3 the Time and Leave system at Evergreen will have an updated look and some enhanced views for supervisors. Computing and Communications, in partnership with Human Resources and Student Employment, is very excited to report that the Adobe Flash dependency that prevented many of us from accessing our Leave Requests or Time Tracking on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets is no longer an issue. Updated help articles, including videos, will be available via the Computing Wiki at http://wikis.evergreen.edu/computing/index.php/Time_and_Leave_Help. Enjoy!

Office365 Project Update

Some have asked, what’s the news with all that talk of migrating Evergreen email to cloud Microsoft Office365?  Here’s the deal. Computing and Communication (C2) staff worked very closely with Microsoft over the course of spring quarter and into early summer with the intent to go live with the new services before fall. Unfortunately, in the testing phase we discovered some flaws with some of the underlying technologies that we rely on to automate and manage these processes, The result is that we are re-evaluating a new timeline based on the need to upgrade these core legacy systems. Our focus has turned to re-architecting these systems which we refer to in the collective as Identity and Access Management (IAM). This will be the most pressing C2 project over the next few months and once this is completed we can turn back to Office365 and providing all those services to students, faculty and staff.

Orca – Server 2012 Migration

Summary

We will be transitioning the Orca academic file server to Windows 2012. There are a handful of reasons for doing this, including the fact that Orca is currently a 32bit Windows 2008 server and uses Windows dynamic disks for the programs share.  Additionally, once the data is on Server 2012 we can take advantage of data deduplication which should reduce the total disk space consumed by at least 10-20%. This space savings is important as Orca is our largest file server.

Scope

The transition is intended to be as seamless and unnoticeable to end users as possible. The new server will assume the same name and IP address. Much of the data that needs to be copied from the dynamic disk will be copied over beforehand in order to reduce the necessary downtime. At this time I expect the final cutover to require the server to be unavailable for up to 2 hours.  There was a prerequisite for this project of upgrading our ESXi infrastructure to version 5.5.

Project Manager: Josh Jordan

Team: Network Services

  • Josh Jordan

Groups Involved

  • Network Services
  • Academic Computing (to help schedule the cutover and provide notification to students)
  • Client Services (to help schedule the cutover and provide notification to staff/faculty)

 

Start: Feb 2014 (with prerequisite work done in Jan)

Completion: TBD

Plan:

Jan: Upgrade ESXi to version 5.5 in order to support large virtual disks

End of February: Build replacement server

March 10th-24th  – The programs share will be copied (at a slow rate so as not to interfere with normal access) to the new server.

Mar 24th – Apr 11th  – Verify that disk quotas, quota templates, the pfcc program, and the various clients supported at Evergreen can connect properly. Also, make sure that DUC can properly provision and delete home directories.

April-May –Schedule cutover with client services and academic computing. This will be dependent on when downtime is acceptable for the server.

Any updates will be added to the documentation here: \\hurricane\PCCommon\Computing and Communications\Orca_Server2012_Migration

Relocate offsite backups

Summary

We will be moving two of our ExaGrid appliances to the Tacoma campus for storing offsite backups. The ExaGrid replication targets currently reside over in SEM II while the primary ExaGrid backup targets are in the machine room. This required us to first determine how much bandwidth was required to keep replication caught up and then to get the WAN link in Tacoma upgraded to 100Mb.

Scope

The project will not change the backup process – only the destination for offsite backups from another building on campus to the Tacoma campus. This should not impact end users at all.

Project Manager: Josh Jordan

Team: Network Services

  • Josh Jordan
  • Dan Scherck

Groups Involved

  • Network Services

 

Start: March 1st, 2014 (estimated)

Completion: April 4th, 2014 (estimated)

Plan:

Mar 1st-16th – Dan will verify link speed between Olympia and Tacoma campuses and enable QoS rules in order to make sure ExaGrid replication traffic does not impact normal business traffic. He will also configure the necessary switch ports in the Tacoma network closet.

Mar 17th – If Dan’s testing and configuration has completed Josh will notify Albert Villemure at ExaGrid about the upcoming move and coordinate the IP address changes that are needed.

Mar 24th-28th – We will disable throttling on the SEM II link so replications can fully catch up. Then, we will notify the IT System Outage group that offsite backups will be unavailable during the move. Josh will then get keys and physically move the ExaGrid appliances to the Tacoma site and connect them to the network. Once connectivity has been verified Josh will do a test backup and monitor replication. ExaGrid will be notified when the work has been completed so they can monitor the replication as well.

Apr 2nd-4th – Josh will verify that backups are replicating at an acceptable rate to the Tacoma ExaGrid devices.

any updates will be added to the documentation here: \\hurricane\pccommon\Computing and Communications\ExaTac_Migration

Email Gateway/Spam Filter Replacement

Summary

The license on our current email gateway/spam filter is expiring soon and the hardware is approaching 5 years and support is ending. The Ironport appliance we currently use is a fantastic product with no equal and we have decided to replace the existing system with the latest version of the same product. Our current setup consists of 2 appliances but only one is licensed. The second serves as a spare in case of hardware failure. We only purchased one new appliance and we will keep the other two as spares. We keep the spare on and fully configured. Cutover is planned for 12pm, on Wed Feb 12th. This will result in a short period of less than 5 minutes where the off-campus mail flow is queued while we transition. No mail will be lost. Queueing is a normal and expected behavior for mail systems.

Scope

This project covers only the replacement of the hardware and configuration to exactly match the current configuration on the same software version. We are not making any changes to the configuration or functionality. The intent is zero impact to users and dependent systems.

Project Manager: Joe Pollock

Team: Network Services

  • Barbara Caswell
  • Joe Pollock

Groups Involved

  • Network Services
  • Client Services (could be impacted by help desk calls if there are problems)
  • Academic Computing (could be impacted by help desk calls if there are problems)
  • Administrative Computing (could be impacted by automated mail failures if there are problems)

Start: Feb 3rd, 2014

Completion: Feb 12, 2014

Project Plan on Hurricane\PCCommon

MySQL Upgrade

Project Summary:

This project is to upgrade Mysql databases (version 5.0) on paint to a new VM running Mysql 5.5.   Separating paint’s functions into separate virtual machines will allow us to separate cpu/network/memory/io resources and thereby be able to identify and isolate problems.  The VMware system has the possibility of having more I/O bandwidth and redundancy.

Mysql Scaling/Clustering:  A single master instance will be started at this time.   If there is a clear need for more servers AND we have buy in from other groups, I will make Mysql slave instances to offset the workload.

We start moving test databases in the week of January 23rd.  If a week of testing works ok, then we will move the production databases February 1 – 14th.

If a database/application doesn’t work after the migration, the original database and application will be  on paint until the problem can be resolved.  In order to complete the goal of getting off of the old hardware, paint will have to be made into a virtual machine.

 

Project Owner:

Jason Harris, Network Services

Groups Involved:

  • Network Services
  • Academic Computing
  • Admin Computing
  • Housing
  • Web Team
  • Others TBD

Estimated Completion Date:

February 21st, 2014

Resources:

Files, lists of databases, owners can be found in pccommon/mysql55upgrade

 

 

SSL Certificate Renewal

Project Summary: This project is to generate a new SSL certificate and replace the current certificate, which expires in February.

Project Plan:
1) Find, secure, encrypt, and document a location to store sensitive files.

2) Get the cert:
a) Generate a new CSR from an Exchange 2010 server.
b) Request a duplicate certificate using the newly-generated CSR.
c) Download and store the duplicate certificate with new private keys in the secure location documented in step 1.
Target date for completing this step: 20 Dec 2013

3) Document the process to generate the certificate files required by the various platforms:
a) One .pfx for Windows containing the full cert chain
b) Multiple .pem files for Unix-type systems
c) Public-key-only .cer files, if necessary
d) Others?
Target date for completing this step: 27 Dec 2013

4) Update or create documentation listing all of the servers and associated services (including websites) which require the certificate.
Target date for completing this step: 17 Jan 2014

5) Install the certificate in all the places listed in the documentation mentioned in step 4, and
5a) Verify that all of the affected services (including websites) are actually serving the updated certificate.
Target date for completing this step: 31 Jan 2014

6) On 2/25/2014 @4pm, all the certificate updater staff members should be available to
a) fix any unexpected issues, or hopefully
b) celebrate a job well done.

Project Lead: Keith Hansen

Groups Involved: Network Services

Estimated Completion Date: 31 Jan 2014

 

Extron GVE deployment

Project Summary: We have built a server and will be configuring some Extron software that will allow EME to centrally manage and monitor the Extron multimedia hardware that is deployed throughout campus.

The software is described to have the following features:

  • Global Viewer Enterprise offers the following features:
  • Server-based, AV system monitoring and resource management software
  • Enterprise-wide scheduling, monitoring and enhanced help desk functionality
  • Supports Extron TouchLink™, IP Link®, MediaLink®, and PoleVault® as well as third-party control systems such as AMX and Crestron
  • Increased integration with third-party facility scheduling software, such as Microsoft Exchange Server and CollegeNET R25
  • Custom helpdesk layouts allow customized help desk views by user account
  • Support for projectors with multiple lamps
  • iGVE app enables on-the-go access to GlobalViewer Enterprise from your iPhone, and iPod touch
  • Extensive 24/7 system data collection with a comprehensive set of management reports
  • Scalability to grow as your AV system installation grows
  • No programming required

Project Leads: Josh Jordan, Rob Rensel

Groups Involved: Network Services, EME

Estimated Completion Date: TBD

 

 

Catalog Enhancements

Project Summary:

We are working on a multiphase approach to improving the online academic catalog. So far we’ve made filtering options to make it easier to find and use, and added a view for Evening & Weekend Studies that shows what days their offerings meet. As part of phase one, we’re also looking at adding basic features for comparing offerings.

Phase two will involve bringing the catalog into our new responsive template, and so thinking about how the information might be most usable on smaller devices. We’ll also be working with Admin Computing on getting rough enrollment data to help students during their registration process.

We’re running into the limitations of our current setup for the web catalog, and so phase three will involve taking a hard look at what we’re doing and possibly making major changes to the underlying code base. This phase is not yet really in the conceptual stage!

As we go, we’re doing regular usability testing to see how current students experience the changes, as well as getting feedback from various stakeholders.

Project Owner:

Elaine Nelson, Web Team

Groups Involved:

  • Web Team
  • Academics
  • Advising
  • Registration
  • Admin Computing

Estimated Completion Date:

Phases are being timed to match registration windows. So phase one will end with whatever is done by the first week of December and phase two in the first week of March. We don’t yet have a timeline for phase three.

Resources:

https://basecamp.com/2395649/projects/3901480-academic-catalogs

Canvas Pilot Project

Project Summary:

Conduct an academic-year long pilot project to test the functionality and feasibility of using a hosted Canvas instance as a replacement for in-house Moodle as the college-wide Learning Management System (LMS).  Assessments will be done throughout the project and a recommendation will be made to senior staff week 6 of winter quarter 2014.

Project Owner:

Rip Heminway, Academic Computing

Groups Involved

  • Academics (Faculty/students)
  • Academic Computing

Estimated Completion Date:

March 2014

Resources:

Documentation share on \\hurricane\acadcomputing\projects\canvas