13 June 2006

University Assets

A proposed audit of the Division's assets raises the issue of asset management.

Staff need to be reminded that there is a strict procedure to follow in order to dispose of University assets. Items on the University Asset Register must be returned to the Technical Services Unit for disposal if they are no longer in use.

If an asset is stolen or broken irreparably this should be reported to cehelpdesk so the necessary paperwork can be completed to get the asset off the University’s books. Similarly leased items or items on the University Asset Register should not be redeployed or moved without the knowledge of the TSU.

With the move to leasing the University has also entered into an agreement with Macquarie Technology Services (http://www.macquarie.com/mts/) to dispose of University IT assets. Staff wanting to buy second hand equipment are encouraged to purchase the equipment they need from MTS via its eBay store (http://stores.ebay.com.au/Macquarie-Technology-Services).

There will be an audit of the University assets held by the Division between Tuesday 20 and Thursday 22 June 2006. Asset Officers will be visiting all Divisional offices and other spaces to check equipment on the Asset Register.

Service Desk software

Computer Associates UniCenter ServiceDesk software to go campus-wide.

Last year the Division entered into a three-year agreement with Computer Associates to use CA’s UniCenter ServiceDesk software to manage helpdesk requests. The software is used by the other Academic Divisions, and now ICT Services has chosen it so all the ICT helpdesks in the University are to be using the same software.

ICT Services is currently developing an integrated system for the whole University to use. The Division will still be responsible for managing its own support calls, but it will be easier to transfer calls to other Divisions and to manage staff that transfer between Divisions.

Since the Division purchased its licence to use the software, CA has upgraded the product. Existing data can’t be transferred to the update, so until the new version is commissioned we won’t be transferring from our existing system. At a meeting held on Tuesday, 13 June 2006 it became clear that the best way forward was to gradually transition jobs over Semester 2, 2006, to the new system while maintaining the old one. In January 2007 we would stop using the old system and be fully transferred to the new one.

A minor risk to be considered is that the old system runs on Divisional hardware that runs out of warranty on 29 September 2006. Should the server fail we would need, as a temporary measure, to transfer the existing system to another server until the helpdesk had been migrated fully to the CA UniCenter ServiceDesk product. The risk is manageable and I propose that the Division takes it.

Home Directories

A step closer to ICT Services looking after Divisional staff network home directories.

ICT Services appears to have accepted the proposal to centrally provide Home Directories and is in the process of finalising a project plan that will see the Home Directories for the Division of Communication and Education hosted centrally by late September 2006. Both Windows and Macintosh users will be provided with up to 2 gigabytes of file storage for their Home Directories. Additional space can be allocated either centrally or through the Division on successful application to the cehelpdesk.

The Division will be kept informed of the progress of the project and any impact it may have on individual users as the plans become clearer.

Network switches in Building 1

Finally, switch upgrades in Building 1!

The Network Management Team has advised us informally that network switches are to be replaced in Building 1 over the mid-year break. There will be some disruption to network services while the new switches and other networking gear is installed, with breaks of up to two hours possible from time to time. Work is being done in the early morning so while the network may be down when people start work outages are unlikely to extend beyond 9am.

The new switches are more sophisticated than the ones being replaced and should allow better services, faster network access and access to the streaming video services provided out of Building 20.

Specific times and dates of planned outages will be circulated to the Division when the Network Management Team provides us with the information. Unless otherwise advised, staff should NOT assume that network outages are the result of the installations and should call the cehelpdesk if they have any concerns.

Printers Rollout

This Division is beginning the replacement of its desktop printers.

HP 4050 and older desktop printers are being phased out, and as many of the HP 4100s as we can afford to buy replacements for this year are also being updated. Building 5, Building 20 and the Business Team are receiving priority this year: any HP 4050 and older machines in Building 1 and 9 will be replaced with the “best” HP 4100s upgraded elsewhere until we can purchase (or lease) new printers (probably 2007).

This is also a project for the mid-year break. Retired printers will be disposed of through Macquarie Technology Services.

Minor Works

Semester breaks are traditionally the time the Technical Services Unit can focus on longer-term projects, when demands from staff tend to less than during teaching periods.

This year the break between Semesters 1 and 2 is being used to start the project to move Divisional servers to a new, separate server facility. The first stage of the project is minor works in the new server room to prepare it for the servers. Climate control adequate for the equipment to go into the room is being installed, access provided to the Technical Services Unit Helpdesk work area, and network connections provided to join the new facility to the University computer network.

There will be some noise and other activities associated with the work over the break, but no interruptions to services are expected. Once the minor works are completed new equipment replacing end-of-life gear in the old server room will be installed and commissioned in the new server room during Semester 2. Once this equipment is operational the older equipment will be decommissioned. The equipment still in use will be moved to the new room after the end of Semester 2.