Information Technology Services Annual Report 2013
New, improved monitoring tools spur service availability increase

During fiscal year 2012, ITS started implementation of SolarWinds, an enterprise monitoring platform solution, that provides 24/7 monitoring of critical applications and services that are relied upon by students, faculty and staff. The robust system alerts ITS when a critical resource becomes unstable; this allows the organization to be more responsive to incidents and increase sensitivity to performance and utilization metrics. By alerting staff to potential incidents before they are reported by customers, timely alerts have the potential to lessen the need for customers to contact the ITS Service Desk due to unplanned service interruptions.

During the second phase of implementation in 2013, SolarWinds was used to establish a Network Operations Center housed within the office of ITS Service Desk provider CDI IT Solutions. This second phase of implementation also enabled the decommissioning of two legacy monitoring systems, which eliminated operational costs. ITS then was able to enhance its service offering to the Office of Campus Facilities, as well as replicate and improve upon the service dashboard used by Facilities to monitor its systems. The improvement was evident when the campus was hit by power outages; Facilities and ITS worked together to bring critical services back online.

Service availability increases for mission-critical services

During fiscal year 2013, ITS achieved a mission-critical services availability of 99.95 percent, indicated by the chart below. Mission-critical services are those services designated as vital to the Case Western Reserve community. New monitoring tools, including a service dashboard, assisted ITS staff with ensuring that these services were kept available to faculty, staff and students. Customers can view the services list to learn details about any of the critical services ITS provides.

New database platform reduces system downtime and operational costs

Databases store and organize the content we use, and then deliver that content back to us when we need it. After an aging database server cluster caused several server outages, which resulted in unexpected downtime to the key systems housed on them, ITS investigated and implemented a new platform. The new platform would limit system downtime and reduce operational costs. Working with database owners and an expert data migration vendor, ITS safely moved 41 databases with minimal impact to end users. The upgrade resulted in more reliable and stable servers that present their owners with more flexibility and the ease to adapt to updates and changes.

Phire Architect upgrades

Phire Architect, an application change-management solution, was implemented to assist with updates to the human resources, financials and student information systems by controlling changes made to the production environment and by providing ITS with better audit capabilities. The new system replaced a manual system to ensure that applications continue to meet the needs of the Case Western Reserve community.

Phire Architect ensures code changes and reversions are executed quickly and utilizes an improved workflow that streamlines the process of documenting, requesting, reviewing and approving application customizations and vendor modifications.

Wireless network expansion

Case Western Reserve students, staff and faculty are constantly on the move, and their technology moves with them. In order to continue its commitment to providing a premier experience for mobile computing, ITS surveyed the campus and determined certain areas that would benefit from increased wireless coverage. More than 300 additional access points were installed across the campus’ academic and residential buildings during fiscal year 2013. The project will continue into fiscal year 2014 and will, ultimately, double the campus’ wireless Internet coverage. Wireless Internet connectivity was available 99.92 percent of the time, on average, to more than 7,000 users per month.

Year-over-Year Growth in Wifi Usage
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