Renovating Our Campus: ICT Systems Maintenance

ACANS News & Information Center

Renovating Our Campus: ICT Systems Maintenance 

Due to the campus-wide construction projects, the NMSU campus is undergoing many changes and additions. The current 16 projects are either in the planning stage or currently underway, and will take considerable time and money to complete. Construction of these major projects will not be completed until mid 2007.

Like the building construction going on all over the NMSU campus, construction and renovations of the NMSU information technology systems has also been on-the-rise. The amount of maintenance time taking place on many of NMSU ’s computer systems and sites has continued to increase in the past few weeks. However, these times of system unavailability are part of the necessary maintenance and priority upgrading that is needed for our campus systems.

Because of the large amount and variety of networking and computer systems at NMSU, it has been necessary for ICT to create standard weekly maintenance windows, as well as to conduct priority maintenance windows when needed, in order to upgrade and work on the systems. The maintenance windows affect many systems that include, but are not limited to, myNMSU, WebCT, Internet/Web access, Banner, and email servers.

Shaun Cooper, Senior Technical Director at ICT, says that when “any Information Technology (IT) organization has to perform certain systems maintenance, the difficulty is finding a period of time when you can achieve that goal” without interrupting too many people. Another problem is that when the University, or any IT organization, does maintenance on their systems they can not always know exactly how long it will take to complete. Updating firmware is not like updating software on your PC because when you apply a patch of firmware updates you are not given a progress bar telling you how long it will take. The machine just does it until it is done.”

On top of regular network and server maintenance there is applications maintenance that has to be run for programs like Luminis and Banner. Recently, ICT conducted the Banner 7 upgrade for NMSU. While this upgrade did not affect all system users, it did affect logging on to Luminis, and some other pieces of the system, because they are tied together and interconnected. “The good and bad of bringing an enterprise system together is that the system is better interoperated – which means that when you log into one place it is the same log in as the others and you have the same access”, Cooper explains, “However, this also means that if you take down a student component of the system, you take down the whole system for everyone.”

What all NMSU system users need to know and become aware of is that Sundays are a designated maintenance mornings, and will continue to be. Likewise, other allotted times will be will be utilized when NMSU systems need to be updated, upgraded, or checked. ICT attempts to do this by finding those times when people aren’t using the system as frequently. Cooper says “ Sundays are times that we will occupy on a regular basis, and if you schedule into them you will find that these times aren’t going to work. We want to be up. If it does not have to be down we’re not going to take it down, but we want everyone to have that mantra…we’re down on Sundays,” from 12:01am-10:00am.

For more information on system security, policies, and guidelines please visit the ICT site at http://ict.nmsu.edu/Guidelines/index.html. If you have questions or concerns about the scheduled Computer Systems Maintenance Windows, please contact the Help Desk at (505)646-1840 or help@nmsu.edu.

ACANS Newscenter is published by the Association of Computing and Networking Services at New Mexico State University. If you would like to subscribe to the ACANS Newscenter, request further information, or to submit articles of interest contact ICT Strategic Relations, 646-4857  email: ict_sr@nmsu.edu