IT Consolidation at UCI

Information Technology (IT) services at UCI are presently delivered by diverse groups which have arisen in various ways as needs were identified.  UCI is now undertaking a consolidation process with an eye toward the most efficient use of resources and more consistent IT support to faculty, staff, and students.

The plan, announced by EVC and Provost Michael Gottfredson on June 22, is now being developed and implemented by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) with the assistance of an IT Oversight Committee with broad campus membership:

  • Ramona Agrela, Associate Chancellor
  • Kevin Ansel, Director, Student Affairs IT Strategic Planning
  • Bill Cohen, Director of Computing Support, Information and Computer Sciences
  • David Leinen, Assistant Dean, Social Sciences (Academic Senior Manager Representative)
  • Frances Leslie, Dean, Graduate Division
  • Rich Lynch, Associate Vice Chancellor, Budget
  • Paige Macias, Associate Vice Chancellor, Administrative and Business Services
  • Marie Perezcastaneda, Director of Business Services, OIT
  • Lynn Rahn, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University Advancement
  • Dana Roode, Assistant Vice Chancellor, OIT
  • Sharon Salinger, Dean, Undergraduate Education
  • Mark Warner, Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Research
  • Ted Wright, Associate Professor, Cognitive Sciences (NACS Faculty Advisory Representative)
  • Brent Yunek, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Enrollment Services

Goals for the consolidation process include:

  • making the most effective use of IT talent across campus, focused on the highest priority activities
  • allowing cost savings through staff attrition while mitigating the impact of losing staff in currently unique, isolated positions
  • creating a consistent campus IT environment for greatest efficiency and ease of use for faculty and staff
  • finding and implementing solutions to common problems
  • leveraging the leadership, communication, and technical skills of UCI’s IT managers
  • saving energy costs through consolidation of server maintenance in data centers

The consolidation process will result in the creation of a single IT support organization for administrative units, the Office of Information Technology.   OIT will also make available commodity IT services to academic units and provide other support through mechanisms to be discussed.  Regular consolidation progress reports will be shared with the campus, including publication here in IT News.

First Steps Toward Consolidated IT

UCI’s new consolidated IT organization, the Office of Information Technology (OIT), is just over two months old.

Administrative Computing Services (AdCom), Network and Academic Computing Services (NACS), Office of Academic Affairs Computing Services, and the Office of Research Information Technology group joined forces on July 1 as OIT.  Graduate Division IT has now joined OIT as well.

The AdCom and NACS Directors constitute the OIT senior leadership team and have been meeting regularly since late June:  Marina Arseniev, Cheryl Ast, Shohreh Bozorgmehri, Brian Buckler, Steve Franklin, Marie Perezcastaneda, Carmen Roode, and Allen Schiano.   Assistant Vice Chancellor Dana Roode serves as the department head of the Office of Information Technology.

In July, many discussions among the management and staff of the consolidated units took place to get to know one another and exchange information about job function and organizational structure.  Several teams were created to identify immediate opportunities for integration.

An initial integrated organization became effective on August 3rd.  The first of several planned combined groups have been formed: Desktop Support (see article later in this issue) and the Help Desk.  Complementary functions in AdCom and NACS have each been moved under a common OIT director (electronic security, help-desk, data-center services) to work toward integrating them.  An organizational chart is available online.  The OIT organizational structure will continue to evolve over time.

We have been interviewing representatives of new OIT client groups and are using a survey to enhance our understanding of their needs.  We have also been meeting with the leadership of administrative units with IT groups outside of OIT to discuss their participation in the consolidation effort.

A draft plan for including administrative IT groups in OIT is under development and should be available for review in the October timeframe.  Whereas the expectation is that all administrative IT groups will become a part of OIT over the next year, the nature of the affiliation with OIT in each case will vary depending on the needs of the clients served.  The physical location of IT staff will also depend on client needs, and staff may remain proximate to the units they serve in many cases even after becoming a part of OIT.

All of this is subject to the development of the consolidation plan, review by the IT Oversight Committee and units, and approval by Provost Gottfredson.

Information and Academic Technologies

IAT

On June 22, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Gottfredson announced his decision to consolidate UCI Information Technology (IT) organizations in non-academic areas.

Effective July 1, Administrative Computing Services (AdCom),  Network and Academic Computing Services (NACS), Office of Academic Affairs Computing Services (OAACS), and Office of Research IT are joining forces as a new organization, Information and Academic Technologies (IAT). The motivation and goals for consolidation are described in the report of the Academic Senior Managers “Big Ideas” IT Workgroup.

Effective integration of IT activities takes time and will be implemented incrementally over coming months. For the present, everything about contacting and working with AdCom, NACS, OAACS, and Office of Research IT remains the same. Please continue to work with your current contacts in these organizations and rely on the appropriate help-desks, as you have done in the past. Our goal is to minimize disruption from IT consolidation activities and we intend to maintain current project schedules and commitments.

With this issue, NACS News becomes IAT News, as part of the ongoing consolidation activity.  IAT news and the iat.uci.edu web sites will be important vehicles to keep you abreast of consolidation progress in the coming months.

DMRnet Keeps You Up

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NACS and AdCom have jointly developed a network infrastructure for units with mission-critical computing services.  “DMRnet” (short for “Dual Modular Redundant Network”) allows you to create twin servers and to locate them separately in the NACS and AdCom Data Centers.

With this arrangement, an interruption in service (power, network, etc.) at one physical location can automatically transfer services (fail over) to the server in the other location. Users of your critical services will see no interruption.

DMRnet was designed and developed in response to the need to have UCI’s main web site, www.uci.edu, continuously available.  The upcoming Student Portal will be the latest client of the DMRnet system.

NACS staff are available to consult with interested departments on the options, cost, and fitness of DMRnet for your particular need.  DMRnet is intended only for the most critical campus services.

TechnoExpo a Success

On Thursday, September 19, over 500 campus faculty and staff came to Emerald Bay A-E in the Student center to learn about computing and network applications and services from over 40 campus and vendor exhibitors. Jointly planned and operated by Administrative Computing Services and NACS, this was UCI’s biggest TechnoExpo yet.

Displays included help desks, accounting and administrative applications, campus databases and web sites, instructional technology support, and technology services. Those who missed it can still get some information from http://www.technoexpo.uci.edu/

This year’s TechnoExpo also included over 20 presentations on a variety of topics, including the new staff portal (SNAP), the Data Warehouse, the CorporateTime campus calendaring application, and network security information.

If you have a computer or network-enabled service, consider participating in the next TechnoExpo, which we intend to be better yet!