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ITD Compact Plan Review and Update - North Carolina State University

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ITD Compact Plan Review and Update - North Carolina State University Powered By Docstoc
					Compact Plan 2004-07
Information Technology Division

Review and update, April 2005




Presented to Dr. Larry Nielsen
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
April 25, 2005
Table of Contents
I. Introduction

II. Initiatives
    1. Enhanced Cyber Security (CDEF)*

    2. IT Investment Management (CDEF)

    3. Central Support Service for Multimedia Classrooms - Pilot Project (ABCDG)

    4. NC State High Performance and Grid Computing (BCD)

    5. Conversion to Enterprise File Storage Management System (BCDEFG)

    6. Information Technology Partnerships Program BCDEF

    7. MS Windows Computing Environments (BCEF)

    8. Information Technology Accessibility (ACDEG)

    9. University Coordinated Computing Help Desk (BCEF)

    10. Mobile Computing Systems, Applications and Support (ABCDEG)

    11. Wireless Data Connectivity Build-out and Wireless Service Delivery (CDEG)

    12. Advanced Remote Access Services: Virtual Computing Lab - Pilot Project (CDG)

    13. Centralized, Coordinated Campus Software and Hardware Purchases (CEF)

    14. New Centralized Funding Model for Cost Recovery of the Data Network (CF)

    15. Information Technology Fluency Initiative (ABDE)

    16. Ongoing Disaster Recovery Preparedness Planning and Implementation (CEF)

    17. Integrated Collaborative Technology and Assessment Project (CDF) (discontinued)

    18. DELTA Codicil: Course Content Accessibility Response Team


* Letters in parentheses indicate the NC State goals or initiative categories each initiative supports, using
the coding scheme provided by the Office of the Provost: A=Diversity; B=Partnerships; C=Efficient
Business Model; D=LITRE; E=Unit Goal; F=Improving Unit Performance; G=Enrollment Growth.




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April 25, 2005
                          Information Technology Division


Compact Plan 2004-07 Review- April 2005.

I.      Introduction and executive summary

ITD’s April 2005 Compact Plan review is based upon ITD’s Round 2 Compact Plan submitted
to then Provost Oblinger in January 2004. The full text of that document is available online at
http://www.ncsu.edu/itd/cmptplans/ITD-CPlanRnd2-Jan04.doc. The following review presents an
update on each of the initiatives submitted and where appropriate outcomes assessments based on
the measures that were proposed at that time.

In summary, ITD’s 2004-07 Compact Plan initiatives are contributing to a shift in thinking about
IT decision-making and management on campus as well as providing significant improvements in
the campus IT infrastructure and support structures. Highlights of achievements since January
2004 include:

    Launch of the Layer 8 initiative and Layer 8: A White Paper on Managing Information
     Technology Investments To Advance NC State’s Mission, by Dr. Sarah Stein, CHASS, Vice
     Provost Sam Averitt, and Dr. Henry Schaffer, ITD (initiative 2)
    Migration of university data and conversion to the new enterprise Storage Management
     System (initiative 5)
    Expansion of Classroom Technologies Services (ClassTech) (initiative 3)
    Roll-out and further development of the NC State University Help Desk (initiative 10)
    Opening of Data Center II in new Administrative Services Building III and successful move
     of secondary site equipment and operations. (initiative 15)
    Growth of HPC Partners program and favorable review by Strategic Research Computing
     Task Force (initiative 4)
    Advance of university’s IT and Web accessibility (initiative 7)
     Development and deployment of Virtual Computing Lab Pilot Project in partnership with
     College of Education (initiatives 11 and 7).

While these are all ITD initiatives, the work - and often the funding needed - involved an intense
degree of partnering with other units on campus and exemplified the collaborative approach and
open processes encouraged in Layer 8.




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Initiatives
1. Enhanced Cyber Security (CDEF)
An IT Partnerships/Layer 8 initiative

Update
Enhanced Cyber Security remains an ongoing and critical initiative. Increased scrutiny from NC
legislators, the state ITS agency, and UNC-OP has raised campus awareness of the importance of
improving campus IT security policies, procedures and practices. Meanwhile, IT security threats
continue to grow more varied and virulent.

Both requested security positions have been funded and filled and progress is being made. For
2004/2005 ITD received funding for one IT Security Specialist position. This position was filled
in February 2005. In addition ComTech was granted an operational funding increase that included
a Network Security Engineering position, which was filled in October 2004. The newly hired ITD
Security position has allowed most of the daily incident handling duties to be shifted from the
University Security Officer, who now has more time to work on proactive security framework
issues including policy/procedures, assessment, communications and education/training. In
leading the UIT Security Subcommittee as it works on these issues and in preparing for the UNC-
OP IT Security assessment, it has become evident that the need for documentation and training is
critical. The funding requests for the Technology Support Analyst (Computer Consultant)
position will enable significant progress in meeting this need.

Outcomes and assessment
Desired outcome: Creation of an ITD security team whose job duties focus on computer and
network security for NC State.
Assessment: The group is starting to come together, with now three ITD/ComTech staff positions
being devoted to security issues. We have been able to pull most of the critical/sensitive security
duties back from other staff members and achieve greater focus and responsiveness.

Desired outcome: A proactive campus-wide model for cyber security (rather than the
predominantly reactive model we had been forced to adopt due to under-staffing).
Assessment: Proactive guidance in the form of policy/procedures is under way. The inventory
work is almost complete, and needed documentation should be completed during the coming
year. (This effort would be enhanced with the requested position.) In addition, ComTech rolled
out a new firewall service on April 1st, 2005. This will allow groups on campus to add another
layer of protection for vulnerable computers.

Desired outcome: Increased education for students, faculty and staff on security issues, including
increased awareness on the ethics and responsibilities of computer use.
Assessment: ITD Education and Training group now offers a 30-minute computer awareness
session as part of new employee orientation, including computer security topics. ITD has begun
to develop a longer (half-day) computer security session that would be available to all employees.
These complement the continuing efforts of computer awareness sessions at New Student
Orientation, the Computing@NCState newsletter, and the Computing Essentials CD and website.

Desired outcome: Improved robustness and efficiency of campus security systems.
Assessment: With the IT Security positions only on the job for for a brief time it is too early to
judge whether or not the current staffing is sufficient to reasonably meet or security needs and
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obligations. It is however clear that these positions have substantially improved or capability and
level of accomplishment.


2. IT Investment Management (CDEF)
    Layer 8 initiative

Update
ITD initially proposed the IT Investment Management initiative as a campus-wide project to
improve the university's processes so that more progress is made and more value gained from IT
expenditures. Nationally, the need to enhance methods to assess the return on the total costs of IT
investments and to strengthen links between IT investments and education and research outcomes
are widely recognized in higher education. With encouragement from then Provost Oblinger, the
IT Investment Management initiative was launched in spring, 2004. Sarah Stein, associate
professor in Communications and chair of the campus Teaching and Learning with Technology
Roundtable, was chosen to lead the initiative both as researcher and as an advocate for improved
teaching and learning with technology. In October 2004, Dr. Stein presented a major white paper
to the university’s Academic and Administrative Coordinating Group (AACG). This was the first
of what has been a series of vigorous discussions with numerous key individuals and groups
about how to better meet the university’s diverse IT needs.

The white paper, LAYER 8: A White Paper on Managing Information Technology Investments To
Advance NC State’s Mission, by Dr. Stein, Vice Provost Sam Averitt and Dr. Henry Schaffer, is
not an IT plan. It was written to provide a context for discussion. Using the US Government
Accountability Office’s recent IT Investment Management report as a reference point, the Layer
8 whitepaper challenges the campus community to work collaboratively to develop more mature
IT investment processes and practices. The title, ―Layer 8,‖ refers to the human factor in
technology networks and points to an awareness of the importance of working with people and
changing the current campus culture in order to make needed improvements in IT investment and
decision-making practices. The principles of openness, collaboration and accountability are
promoted in the Layer 8 paper and Layer 8 activities. These principles are advanced in all the
following ITD initiatives and they have become increasing the hallmark of the ITD service
vision.

Outcomes and assessment
Desired outcome: Improved accountability for IT investments and improved data for evaluating
decisions. Increased knowledge and understanding of NC State’s investment portfolio.

Assessment: As a first Layer 8 project, and with strong backing from campus administrators, ITD
and RMIS are now conducting an open review of the university’s calendaring and email systems.
The goal is to have high quality cost effective systems that are interoperable, so for example,
academic and administrative users can easily schedule meetings with each other. A
workgroup/coordinating committee has been formed, and meetings with IT directors and other
stakeholders have begun. The process will include an inventory of current systems, benchmarking
with current best practices among peers, and a survey of user requirements. A report with options,
cost estimates and recommendations is due in September, 2005.

Desired outcome: Improved alignment of university IT investments with university mission and
goals of the university as articulated by higher administration.


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Assessment: The appropriate methods for evaluating these outcomes are of concern and debate
among IT leaders in higher education nationally. There is no consensus as yet; Layer 8 activities
may well need to make important national contributions in this arena.

3. Central Support Service for Multimedia Classrooms-ClassTech
   (ABCDG)
Update
The Classroom Technology pilot project (ClassTech I) was launched in late fall 2003 to test the
feasibility of a new model for the design, provisioning and support of multimedia classrooms on
campus. With funding from the Office of the Provost via the Classroom Environment Committee,
the ClassTech I project designed and implemented multimedia upgrades and provided operational
support for 12 110 classrooms in nine buildings on North Campus. The ClassTech model proved
to be an effective model to increase faculty and student access to well-designed multimedia
equipment and support services in classrooms; increase standardization and reduce costs of
classroom technology; improve collaborative mechanisms for support of multimedia classrooms;
and provide the campus much-needed classroom multimedia consulting services.

No longer a pilot project, ClassTech is now a production service within ITD, with a staff of 2.5
FTE plus part-time student workers. To date, ClassTech provides ongoing support for 26
classrooms that it has designed and equipped with new multimedia equipment. The Provost has
approved 2003-2006 funding for a second set of ClassTech rooms as well as support for new and
renovated bond-funded classrooms, for a total of 55 ClassTech supported multimedia classrooms.

Other notable achievements in the past year:
    Inventory of 110 Classrooms conducted in summer 2004 in collaboration with Facilities
       Planning and Design (FPD)
    2nd revision/review of the university’s Classroom Standards document, in cooperation
       with Facilities Planning and Development, the Classroom Environment Committee and
       other campus participants
    Launch of new ClassTech website with extensive documentation of ClassTech
       multimedia equipment and its use
    Surveys of faculty using ClassTech rooms conducted each semester to improve usability
       and support of ClassTech multimedia and their perceived impact on teaching and learning
    Dr. Karen St. Clair, asst. director of FCTL, named co-PI of the project to help assess
       pedagogical value of multimedia tools in classrooms.
    At the suggestion of Sharon Pitt, key participants have begun a discussion to explore how
       organizational and manage structures might be changed to make existing investments in
       classroom support resources more productive.

Outcomes and assessment
Desired outcome: Help fulfill the unmet need/faculty demand for more multimedia classrooms
while evaluating what most effectively enhances desired learning outcomes.
Assessment:
     26 ClassTech classrooms are now in service, with 55 expected by Spring 2006. (These
        include bond-built classrooms supported by ClassTech.) Surveys of faculty using
        ClassTech rooms are conducted each semester to improve usability and support of
        ClassTech multimedia. Surveys indicate overall satisfaction with the ClassTech rooms,
        and growing expectations for more ubiquitous availability of multimedia in other
        classrooms.
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Desired outcome: Improved support services for multimedia classrooms
Assessment: Surveys of faculty using ClassTech rooms indicate overall strong satisfaction with
quality of support for equipment. ClassTech staff have also enhanced communication with other
multimedia support staff on campus, contributing to a general improvement in multimedia
expertise and a raised level of awareness of the importance of support for multimedia classrooms.

Desired outcome:Improved return on investment to the university 
Assessment: ClassTech has significantly improved the quality of multimedia support and services
available on campus as well as the amount of multimedia equipment available for faculty use.
ClassTech staff have also collaborated with colleges and departments on their purchases
multimedia equipment, offering expert consulting in advance of purchasing decisions as well as
combining purchases for improved efficiency and in some cases, better prices. More than $50,000
in cost savings were achieved by ClassTech/ITD serving as the purchasing agent for the AV
equipment in several bond-funded projects.

Desired outcome: Improved learning outcomes and student retention
Assessment: ITD is working closely with FCTL and UPA on plans to conduct outcomes
assessments as they relate to the LITRE quality enhancement plan.


4. NC State High Performance and Grid Computing (BCD)
Update
Since its start soon after the abrupt close of the NC Supercomputing Center in 2003, NC State’s
HPC and grid computing program has provided the university a good return on this investment in
research computing. ITD HPC resources are targeted at meeting research and instructional
computation needs which exceed the capability of a typical desktop computer, but the program
has not sought to match the capabilities of large national centers such as those operated by Oak
Ridge National Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, or University of
California at San Diego. Unlike some peer institutions which have invested many millions in
facilities that are not widely used by their researchers, NC State has middle-range HPC resources
that are efficiently run, heavily used and that support an estimated 66.1 million dollars of current
contract and grant funding.

The growth of the innovative Faculty Partners program indicates researchers’ confidence in ITD’s
operations, and the equipment purchased by the partners has significantly supplemented campus
HPC capabilities. The partners have benefited by having the computing hardware they purchased
operated, maintained, and supported by computational professionals, and other researchers and
their students have benefited from access to the hardware when not in use by the partners. This
efficient utilization of available funding has been the hallmark of ITD's HPC activities.

The Vice Chancellor for Research appointed a Strategic Research Computing Task Force in 2004.
. In its interim report of January 2005, the Task Force was positive about the ITD HPC program
and emphasized the strategic importance of university-level investment in research computing:

        From the data the Task Force has collected it is apparent that NC State cannot maintain a
        competitive status among research-intensive universities without a credible and long-term

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        university-level investment in research computing facilities. The current level of
        investment, although perhaps somewhat lower than that of some peer institutions, has
        been utilized much more thoughtfully and is producing a higher return on investment
        than among our peers. It appears that a stable, sustainable, high return on investment
        model suitable for NC State research computing needs will require additional ongoing
        funding, in the hardware and software arena, as well as in the personnel arena. (Interim
        Report, 1-2)

For more information about the HPC and Grid computing services, see http://hpc.ncsu.edu.

Outcomes and assessment
Desired outcome: Provide well-run entry and medium-level HPC support (including systems and
code optimization) for advance of research and preparation of students in contemporary
computational science methodologies
Assessment:
Quality of service measures (capacity, utilization, uptime).
January 2004 capacity – 128 distributed-memory processors and 32 shared-memory processors
Rpeak = 883.2 billion floating-point operations per second.
March 2005 capacity – 268 distributed-memory processors and 32 shared-memory processors
Rpeak = 1,733.8 billion floating-point operations per second.
Both shared-memory and distributed-memory systems consistently operate with a backlog of jobs
(jobs waiting in queue), indicating heavy usage
Only significant downtime was ~60 hours for distributed memory system to be moved from
Hillsborough Building to new data center in Administrative Services Complex. Otherwise there
have been occasional single node failures, but these have nearly no impact on overall cluster use.
Projects supported
July 2003 - December 2003: 47 projects, 129 active users on shared-memory system; 17 projects,
40 active users on distributed memory system
July 2004 – December 2004: 43 projects, 153 active users on shared-memory system: 45 projects,
139 active users on distributed-memory system
Graduate degrees from supported research
(Note: Data for 2005 not yet gathered.)
In the June 2004 Renewal Reports the response rate to this question was low (8 of 33), so many
degrees likely were not reported. Faculty reported the following degrees from supported research
7 master's degrees
7 doctoral degrees
Publications from supported research
(Note: Data for 2005 not yet gathered.)
Response rate to this question on the June 2004 Renewal Report was also low (9 of 33). The nine
projects responding to this question reported 21 publications from use of NC State HPC resources
from July 2003-June 2004.
Grant funding for supported research
In its January 2005 Interim report, the Strategic Research Computing Task Force appointed by
Vice Chancellor for Research identified 66.1 million dollars of current contract and grant funding
supported by NC State HPC resources. 19.4 million dollars of this total was awarded during 2004.
Students using HPC resources - numbers in courses and for research
During 2004, 163 individual users submitted jobs to the distributed-memory system and 227
individual users submitted jobs to the shared-memory system
At the end of March 2005, there were 407 accounts enabled on the distributed-memory system
and 436 accounts enabled on the shared-memory system.

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Desired outcome: Enhance HPC and technical support available for NC State’s research
community, and advance momentum in areas of academic thrust.
Assessment:
Number of nodes and software available
Number of distributed-memory nodes has grown steadily – primarily through nodes acquired by
faculty HPC partners.
An Engineering package, CFX, and a linear programming package, CPLEX, were obtained for
general use on the distributed-memory system, funding for both applications included faculty
participation
Partner program participation
July 2003 – May 2004, six faculty partners added 18 dual-processor nodes to the distributed-
memory system
June 2004 – March 2005, five faculty partners added 28 dual-processor nodes to the distributed-
memory system


5. Conversion to Enterprise File Storage Management System
   (BCDEFG)
Update
In January 2005 ITD, in collaboration with Resource Management and Information Systems,
NCSU Libraries, NC State colleges and the Office of the Provost, announced the launch of the
university’s new Enterprise Storage Management System (SMS). The new SMS is an important
investment in the modernization of the NC State technology infrastructure. The university’s
former file storage system had reached the limit of affordable scalability to meet the file and
email storage requirements of the university, and the outmoded system had led to hardware
failures and system outages. Campus-wide collaborative efforts and cost sharing among
academic, administrative and student funding sources made the purchase of the SMS possible.

First proposed in 2002, the purchase of the SMS began in January 2004, in advance of finalizing
funding commitments:
January, 2004—Developed bid specifications in collaboration with colleges and ACS
February 7—Issued bid
April 1st week—Reviewed bids
April 2nd week—Made ―go‖ decision
April 3rd week—Awarded bid
May—Purchased four Dell/EMC Clarion CX700 Enterprise Storage Management Systems
June —All equipment received

Installation of the SMS began in July 2004, with half of the equipment permanently located in the
Hillsborough Building machine room and the other half temporarily located in the machine room
of Poe Hall. Throughout the summer of 2004, the equipment was thoroughly tested. The
migration of both administrative and academic data began in September 2004. The process of
migrating more than 35 terabytes of data from the old storage infrastructure to the new SMS was
completed at the end of December 2004. On January 7, 2005, ITD began allowing academic users
to increase their storage quota from 150 megabytes to 300 megabytes.

The full implementation of the SMS is being completed concurrent with the availability of the
new Administrative Services III building (also called Data Center 2, or DC2).
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Outcome and assessment
Desired outcome: Significant increase in file storage capacity, the total file space allocated to
individual accounts, and the file space options/services available to support existing and
innovative academic computing activities.
Assessment: The SMS has an initial storage capacity of 96 terabytes, which was split between two
separate sites on campus. In addition to doubling users’ storage quota, ITD programmers
developed a highly successful individual quota management tool, which enables academic users
to choose where they allocate their storage among file space, IMAP space, or profile space.

Desired outcome: Meet disaster recovery/business continuity data storage needs
Assessment: On March 7, 2005, NCS and ITD moved half of the SMS equipment temporarily
located in Poe Hall to its permanent location into theDC2. Although this was a well-planned and
coordinated move, this move was seen as a thorough test of the Disaster Recovery Plan for the
SMS. As the SMS utilizes its available storage, ITD and the Administrative computing group will
need to upgrade tape backup systems to be able to backup the increased storage.

Now that ITD has migrated the storage/data of students, staff, and faculty, ITD staff are
beginning to lay out the storage needs of colleges and departments. Staff expect to meet with
numerous departments in the coming months to help them assess their needs.

Desired outcome: New ―virtualized‖ storage service for colleges, Libraries, and other units
(although centrally provided, file system and storage can be managed locally).
Assessment: This work will commence as Phase II of the SMS implementation

Desired outcome: Support High Performance and Grid Computing projects
Assessment: Movement to SMS is in progress.


6. Information Technology Partnerships Program BCDEF)
Update
Like the Layer 8 initiative, the IT Partnerships initiative is intended to facilitate the evolution of
campus IT activities toward a more cooperative, coordinated, and capable enterprise. The IT
Partnerships initiative serves both as focal point and as a service vision for promoting these
activities within ITD. It develops resources for the campus by providing events, services and
mechanisms for sharing information and resources among the many IT support units and
activities. Although no additional funding was received for this initiative in the first year of this
Compact Plan cycle, progress is being made with existing staff and resources.

Specific projects, such as the NC State University Help Desk, the HPC partners program, and the
more recent campus-wide email and calendaring review, exemplify and advance the IT
partnership model. Similarly, the recent transition away from use of SSN as an identifier for NC
State students, employees and guests was a campus-wide collaborative project. It gave ITD staff a
clearer vision of the complexity of the institution’s processes and the impact of that complexity
on the ability to make needed changes. This project provided an excellent opportunity to develop
new methods of communication with non-IT groups heavily impacted by these changes, for
example, by working with the University Business Officers and Personnel Connections groups to
communicate the implications the SSN transition. A greater mutual understanding of existing
university processes enabled ITD to improve its processes and services. However, while the SSN
project was implemented on schedule, the need to further improve identity management processes
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and procedures became clear. While a major undertaking, this Partnership project would provide
long-term benefits for many campus services. .

ITD’s request for a new staff position to help implement the IT Partnership initiatives received
initial approval for funding in 2006-07. This position would enhance communication, training
and outreach activities. At this time, this new support position is particularly needed for campus
cyber security. The requested position would also speed implementation of plans to provide
much needed enhanced training/communication opportunities for technical support staff across
campus, as well as facilitating campus activities related to the goals of the Layer 8 initiative.

Outcomes and assessment
 (See also Help Desk. initiative)
Desired outcome: Enhanced training and communication mechanisms for campus IT support staff
Assessment:. In 2004 ITD/Help Desk staff led the development of the new "Techies" support
group, which is open to all IT support staff on campus. Meetings were held in February and
March 2005 and are now scheduled monthly. About 30 people from a diverse range of academic
and administrative units attend meetings, which provide the opportunity to discuss upcoming
system events, get input on planned rollouts and purchasing decisions, and build collaborative
partnerships among units.

Desired outcome: Creation of centralized web resource for documentation needed by campus IT
support staff;
Assessment: The Knowledgebase project is in its early stages. It will lead to a tool for managing
NC State’s institutional knowledge about processes, procedures and other organizational
information that can be used by both IT professionals and end users. We are studying
Knowledgebase applications at other institutions and are evaluating existing systems at NC State
that can be leveraged to efficiently develop this much-needed resource.



7. MS Windows Computing Environments (BCEF)

Update
This initiative was not funded as originally proposed, and it has not been possible due to staff
shortages to conduct the needs assessment or major project coordination as described. However,
the short-term goals that were identified to improve compatibilities between the centrally
provided academic computing environments and the administrative computing environment are
largely complete. For example, PeopleSoft applications are now delivered to academic clients
within the centrally-delivered academic desktop environment, and ACS and ITD are
cooperatively testing the next version Novell ZENworks. ITD continues to work with ETSS to
coordinate our environments where possible.

Since January 2004, the further development of WolfPrep (ITD’s customizable, easily deployed
version of its popular Unity/Windows lab environment) has improved the coordination, usability
and support model for Windows. The ITD Microsys unit continues to develop and improve the
WolfPrep service. Enhancements enable the use of WolfPrep by a wider audience as technologies
are deployed that reduce the technical skill needed to get access to the academic Unity/Windows
environment. By providing a flexible structure, WolfPrep makes it increasingly possible for end
users to provide their own support. For users who have technical support staff, WolfPrep will
enable those staff members to customize and manage the environment as appropriate. Microsys

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also plans major modifications to WolfPrep to make it work in a wider variety of computing
environments.

In the next 2-3 years, ITD will review all the key MS Windows Computing services it provides to
the academic environment and make infrastructure changes that will expand access to a wider
array of clients.

Outcomes assessment
Desired outcome: Through use of WolfPrep create greater consistency and coherence among
desktop environments deployed in colleges and departments; simplified desktop support.

Assessment: The ITD Microsys unit holds annual open meetings for campus technical staff to
provide frank feedback and discuss priorities. This feedback is then used to create a plan which is
described in a second open meeting, allowing for additional feedback. While not a statistical
assessment, recommendations serve as a basis for planning improvements to the problems
identified by users.This mechanism allows for continuous quality improvement. This year's Open
Meeting and Followup Meeting were held on March 17 and April 12, 2005. About
27 individuals representing 6 Colleges and ITD attended. Suggestions and plans are publicly
available http://microsys.unity.ncsu.edu/meetings/open/index.html.

Other feedback methods include a public email list, NAG (the Network Administrators’ Group),
and the WolfPrep email list for technical staff. The NAG discussion list has 270 (lively)
subscribers representing a wide campus IT audience, from entry-level to top administration. 970
messages were posted in the most recent 12 months, April 2004-April 2005,
(http://lists.ncsu.edu/cgi-bin/digest?list=nag).

8. Information Technology Accessibility (ACDEG)
    An IT Partnerships /Layer 8 initiative

Update
Since the last Compact Plan update, ITD’s IT Accessibility initiative and the university have
made impressive strides toward improving the accessibility of campus computing resources.
Proactive testing and evaluation work with vendors and developers, such as Oracle Calendar, has
enabled the campus to deploy accessible campus-wide software and technology solutions.
Collaborative work with colleges has also led to some new leading-edge accessible applications
and environments for teaching and learning, such as ―ProofChecker‖ software, developed in
Computer Science, and the Virtual Computing Lab pilot project. Numerous workshops and
consultations with individuals and groups, and the site licensing of sophisticated new tools are
helping web developers, including faculty, adopt accessible Web design practices...

A growing number of highly respected campus Web and software developers and teams have
experienced the value added by applying the principles of Universal Design to online
environments and applications. Perhaps more importantly, has been the noticeable change in the
prevailing attitudes toward accessibility, especially as it applies to Web development. The
university’s Web Page Accessibility Regulation, after more than three years’ effort and many
drafts, is now close to approval. Thanks to the proactive and effort and hard work of many web
developers, most of the university’s upper level web pages (including the colleges’) are already
accessible. And many of the toughest challenges to accessible online student services have
already been solved with the accessible redesign of such critical sites as TRACS and Admissions.
Other challenges remain, but can be solved with the spirit of thoughtful and informed good will.
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Outcomes and assessment
Desired outcome: A comprehensive one-stop online resource with information, FAQs,
guidelines, tutorials and online training on issues related to accessibility of IT resources,
including learning materials, web and electronic content.
 Assessment: Created a web site http://ncsu.edu/it/access that acts as a comprehensive resource for
legal issues, guidelines, tutorial and other IT accessibility issues. Since the site’s launch in June of
2004, it has had over 85,000 hits with over 13,800 new visitors.

Desired outcome: Improve accessibility of university’s Web and online learning resources.
Assessment: In collaboration with other interested parties redrafted the proposed Web
Accessibility Regulations and implementation guidelines for full compliance by 2006. The Web
Accessibility Regulation is awaiting final approval and release by the Chancellor

Negotiated site license and deployed LIFT, a highly rated suite of tools to help web developers,
create, evaluate or retrofit their web content to meet Section 508 and other accessibility
guidelines.

Negotiated site license and deployed courseGenie, a tool that converts documents created in
Microsoft Word into accessible web and course content. CourseGenie can be integrated into
WebCT and other content management systems used on campus; LTS is incorporating it into
faculty training and WebCT.

Provided consultation, evaluation and training services to many web developers and units on
campus.
•       Since January 2004, have conducted seminars, general and custom workshops on
accessibility of web content. Over 300 people have attended these workshops.
•       Through‖ train the trainers‖ work with ITD and LTS, encouraged integration of
accessibility issues within all ITD and LTS workshops on development of web content.
•       Created a web accessibility user group that discusses authoring tools, accessibility
guidelines and technical issues related to creating accessible content. As a result, two different
groups are developing new tools to help creation of accessible content.
•       Consulted with and provided testing services for both academic and administrative web
development teams to help to development of accessible web content and web applications.
Highlights include TRACS, the new release if which is an exemplary accessible Web
Application; the Admissions website; the PeopleSoft administrative portal, the ITD timeKeeper
application, and various college and departmental websites. .

Desired outcome: Improve accessibility of IT infrastructure, including classroom technology and
site-licensed software.
Assessment: Worked with Classroom Technology project team to incorporate accessibility
considerations into classroom learning environments; identified and developed solutions to
accessibility challenges of Virtual Computing Lab Pilot Project: integrated screen readers and
screen magnification technologies in VCL for Windows XP operating systems.

Worked with vendors like Oracle on the accessibility of software applications being deployed
campus wide.

Desired outcome: Provide NC State with a source of expertise that works collaboratively to create
an exemplary inclusive and accessible IT environment.


ITD Compact Plan Report                                                                              12
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Assessment: In addition to activities listed above, participate in campus workgroups and taskforce
that are evaluating campus wide technology issues, such as CCART task force, digital asset
management, learning management systems, and other learning technologies that are being
considered for campus wide deployment. Presented papers at UNC-CAUSE, UNC-TLT, and the
international CSUN disability conference in Los Angeles.

9. University Coordinated Computing Help Desk (BCEF)

Update
In partnership with Resource Management and Information Systems (RMIS), ITD launched the
new NC State University Help Desk in January, 2004. Highlights of Help Desk activities and
improvements since the last Compact Plan update include:
     In cooperation with RMIS, developed the specifications and acquired for the university
        an automated call distribution (ACD) system which will provide a number of key
        features:
             o Easily change incoming phone menus and messages
             o Monitor status of incoming phone lines to plan for high-usage times.
             o Collect data on incoming phone traffic
             o Easily pass calls to other groups participating in the ACD
             o Access to the phone system from off-campus
        The ACD system will be administered by ComTech, and is currently being installed and
        tested.
     Improved internal Help Desk processes to ensure effective call escalation (ongoing).
     Began redesign of new Help Desk web page, now is in its final review stages. New
        features include an improved user interface, a greatly improved Web-based interface to
        the Remedy system, and a live ―chat‖ feature to allow real-time messaging to the Help
        Desk.
     Implemented new collaborative ―pooled‖ part-time staff with other ITD groups (ResNet,
        ClassTech, Hardware Services). The pooled staff allows greater flexibility of staffing,
        and allows staff to be transitioned from one service to another more easily. ITD's ResNet
        program led the in-house development of a sophisticated new software application called
        timeKeeper that aids in scheduling the large temporary staff among various services. It
        also integrates scheduling of ResNet appointments and integrates with the Remedy
        system.

Outcomes and assessment
Desired outcome: Provide NC State administrative and academic staff, faculty and students with
a single, default computing helpdesk to contact to obtain the help they need, without having to
determine the appropriate specific support group to call.
Assessment: In addition to improvements outlined above, Help Desk management has worked
with VP Sam Averitt and AVC Steve Keto to develop a set of metrics to be regularly reported.
The first quarter 2005 report will be available by May 2005. Current metrics include level of
usage of the Remedy solutions database and general call volume numbers. We are also working
on restructuring the Remedy system to give better data for more specific metrics. this process will
become automated as staff develop processes for collecting metrics.
Most recent metrics for usage of the Remedy solutions database
For the month 3/7/05 - 4/5/05:
      Active (not retired or obsolete) solutions in the Remedy database: 923
      New solutions created: 16
      Number solutions referenced via the Web:3265
ITD Compact Plan Report                                                                          13
April 25, 2005
       User feedback: 261 solutions were deemed useful by the users

Desired outcome: Improved training and software tools and other resources for IT support staff,
including those in colleges and departments
Assessment:
     Extended access to a variety of tools for Unity account management to the ETSS
        (formerly ACS) Solutions Center staff. ETSS staff can now more effectively
        troubleshoot problems with Unity accounts, which has been particularly useful during the
        recent upgrade of the PeopleSoft Financials system.
     Began work on the Knowledgebase project, now is in its early stages (This is a key
        component to the IT Partnerships Initiative and an essential tool for the Help Desk. The
        Knowledgebase will be used to document call escalations, internal processes and
        institutional information.)
     Formed new campus ―Techies‖ group (described in IT Partnership initiative section).

10. Mobile Computing Systems, Applications and Support (B4). (ABCDEG)

Update
Since the January 2004 update, this initiative has progressed as best possible with available staff
and funding:
 In 2004, CALS and ITD co-authored and received a small LITRE grant to deploy a simple
    content delivery system (Wideray) for cell phones and PDA’s. The system consists of
    hardware and software. ITD will be partnering with CALS and others to develop simplified
    publishing and data collection software that can be used with this device. CALS will be
    focusing on courseware integration and student-centric content creation. In addition, CALS
    faculty will assess the value of the technology as a way to leverage student ownership of
    mobile devices.

   ITD is assisting a College of Education’s PDA initiative, which provided many of their
    faculty with wireless handheld devices. ITD is providing ongoing technical consulting, and
    provided training to all faculty with three 5-hour hands-on workshops offered in the spring
    and late summer 2004.

   In reaction to the expanded presence of mp3 music players on our campus, ITD is piloting an
    experiment in content distribution using the concept of ―podcasting‖. Currently,
    ―wolfcast.ncsu.edu‖ is a small service which can provide a measure of its potential utility and
    impact. Many details need to be worked out, including if the service will actually be useful to
    faculty and students, and whether audio or video content can be made accessible for all
    potential users using this content distribution model. However, there is much evidence
    outside our university that this content distribution model is becoming more popular.

   ITD continued to explore potential partnerships, particularly with cell phone providers,
    through a coordination of services that ITD provides with those of cell providers. This relates
    to both our existing information services, such as web and email, and our newer services,
    such as calendaring, to new potential areas, such as using cell phones for surveys, push
    content. The intent is to allow students to use their cell phones to accomplish many routine
    activities related to their academic career.

In addition to ongoing activities outlined in the update above, LTS, ITD and ComTech plan to
lead formation of a Mobile Computing Planning Group with campus-wide representation. This
ITD Compact Plan Report                                                                           14
April 25, 2005
group will discuss potential uses of mobile computing, investigate associated devices, and
promote appropriate pedagogical uses of handheld and wireless technologies, addressing how
mobile computing can enhance student learning. The group will work in collaboration with
campus-wide groups such as University IT Committee, FCTL, TLTR, and ITD’s IT Partners to
determine priorities for implementation of wireless resources, and to ensure accessibility and
interoperability with existing and proposed campus technologies, such as courseware and
university Portal projects. As the project gains momentum, an informal Mobile Computing
Special Interest User Group will also be formed, with membership open to students, faculty and
staff.

11. Wireless Data Connectivity Build-out and Wireless Service
   Delivery (CDEG)
Update
ComTech has made significant progress in wireless deployment over the past 12 months. Over
50 campus buildings now have at least partial wireless coverage. In cooperation with the
Infrastructure Subcommittee, a revamped strategy has been formulated addressing both
instructional use as well as pervasive/casual use. Limited funding is being used creatively to
maximize deployment by leveraging central funds against departmental funds. Since late fall, the
University community has had an opportunity to ensure that resources are utilized where most
needed by voting for hotspot placement. All information regarding the wireless deployment has
been centralized and placed on a new website at http://wireless.ncsu.edu.


Outcomes and assessment
Desired outcomes: Execution of strategic build-out plan for wireless connectivity at NC State.
Assessment: Approximately 25 hotspots have been added over the past year. Combined with
earlier efforts, access is now available in portions of over 50 buildings across campus.

Desired outcome: Increased options and greater flexibility in accessing resources of university’s
technology environment.
Assessment: Over the past year, we have seen an increase of over 100% in the number of
concurrent wireless sessions. We are in the final stages of implementing management tools
which will allow us to provide specific metrics related to usage.

Desired outcome: Infrastructure to support leadership in the identification, deployment and use of
emerging transformative technologies and applications.
Assessment: No formal assessments have taken place. Informal communication with peers
indicates that we’re slightly above average in our wireless deployment.


12.   Advanced Remote Access Services: Virtual Computing Lab - Pilot Project
  (CDG)

Update
The Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) pilot project is now in its second semester. A joint project of
the College of Engineering/ITECS and ITD HPC and Grid Computing services, the VCL is
intended to address the increasing needs of both local and distance students and faculty by
providing 24x7 access to advanced software and computing Ideally, the VCL will provide
appropriately equipped, qualified campus and distance education students with ―universal‖ access
ITD Compact Plan Report                                                                          15
April 25, 2005
to these resources – in other words, access anywhere, anytime, and for anyone. In the spring
2005, beta testing expanded to serve approximately 740 students in 26 sections of 10 courses in
CHASS, CNR, and CED as well as COE in CHASS, CNR, and CED as well as COE.
SolidWorks, ARC GIS, SPSS, SAS, Access, Visio, Excel and Primavera are among the software
applications available.

As part of ITD’s commitment to accessibility, access to the VCL for students with disabilities
was built into the design parameters of the project. (For more information on the challenges and
successes, see the IT Accessibility Initiative section of this report.)

Outcomes and assessment
Desired outcome: A virtual computing lab and test bed for a set of advanced remote access
services to advance learning in a technology rich environment. If successful, the pilot project will
expand into a suite of remote access services for all colleges and distance education courses,
relieving departments of the additional technical support burdens and investments required to
meet remote access and specialized computing lab needs.
Assessment:
The Virtual Computing Lab is still in the pilot/beta stage of development. Preliminary surveys of
students in the first semester (fall 2004) of use were generally favorable. A minority of students
reported slow login times, the causes, which may include such variables as the students’ ISP
service or home computer, are being explored during the current (second) semester of testing.
Centralized, Coordinated Campus Software and Hardware Purchases (CEF)

13. Centralized, Coordinated Campus Software and Hardware Purchases
(CEF)

Update
The ITD Centralized, Coordinated Campus Software and Hardware Purchasing initiative,
working with the University IT Software Subcommittee, continues to advance the university’s
goal of improved mechanisms for managing its software and hardware investments. Highlights of
the achievements since the last Compact Plan update include improvement of communication and
procedures related to deployment and upgrades of ITD-supported software (Unity desktop
environment):
 Completed redesign and rebuilding of the software website. The site is now database-driven
    and searchable; as an added feature, it is now beginning to feed other sites with the software
    data. A collaborative project of ITD’s software licensing manager and Publications office,
    this goal was completed with fewer resources than originally thought. See
    http://www.ncsu.edu/it/essentials/software_ncstate
 Launched a new online application called LabZapp on April 15, 2005 to inform software
    planning and decision-making. The tool makes it easy for Unity desktop users and support
    groups communicate about software use and priorities, and for that data to be gathered in an
    useful. Currently, we are seeking advice using this tool from university IT directors and
    others who make software decisions.
 Began analysis of purchasing procedures as basis of recommending improvements
 Continued to work with UNC –OP to extend existing collaborative purchasing and other
    processes that benefit the University system. Software purchased collaboratively includes
    Mathematica, ESRI, Symantec and Red Hat. We have also negotiated Microsoft Campus
    Agreements under UNC-OP’s master agreement



ITD Compact Plan Report                                                                          16
April 25, 2005
Worked to improve vendors’ licensing model. Many of the new software licensing models
(Mathematic, ESRI and Symantec) require a flat fee (typically based on FTE) that licenses all
students, faculty and staff for university and home use. It is our hope as some licenses come up
for renewal, we can present this model as a demonstration of how we would like to license our
products. It provides a quite simple method of distribution and license tracking that works for
both vendors and the university. .

Outcomes and assessment
Desired outcome: Increase the value of the university’s return on its IT investments by reducing
total cost of ownership of key software and hardware.
Assessment: By working with UNC_OP and colleges to obtain volume discounts on licenses, we
have reduced software costs by significant amounts. ITD coordinates the cost recovery for these
licenses among participating university colleges and departments.

Saving on recent software licensing contracts include:
 Microsoft – Changed our agreement and partnered with PAMS under the UNC-OP master
    contract to license all computers in ITD with Microsoft. Costs for Microsoft were reduced
    from approximately $48,000 to $5,000.
 ESRI - $20,000 a year for all students, faculty and staff. Previously, the contract was
    maintained by the College of Natural Resources. The license now allows all students and
    staff to have a license to the software for both university and home use for approximately the
    same price.
 Mathematica - $25,000 a year for all students, faculty and staff. No prior contract for this
    license.

Desired outcome: Streamline and improve processes for selecting, funding, partnering,
purchasing, implementing, renewing and retiring software and hardware. Expand best practices
and processes and thus expand demonstrated savings to colleges.
Assessment: The collaborative work of the University IT Software Subcommittee, he growth and
functionality of the Software Database website, the new level of collaboration on software
purchasing, and the new LabZapp tool are examples of some of the significant advances being
made to improve the efficiency and economy of software purchasing processes. These processes
and the collaborative efforts with departments and support units are continually being reviewed
for ongoing improvements.

Desired outcome: Create accessible online resources for faculty, staff, and students for
comprehensive information on software availability, purchasing options, processes for
installation, etc.
Assessment: The new software database website, also described in the Update section, provides
details about all the software maintained and supported by ITD. The web site is continually
updated to reflect the most recent information about software licensing, purchasing and
acquisition information, as well as other useful information.

14. New Centralized Funding Model for Cost Recovery of the Data
   Network (CF)
Update
The model approved for implementation in 2004/2005 has not been successful. The original
baseline costs were significantly underestimated (actual costs are double the estimate), and there
has not been support for increased contributions from colleges given the current budget climate.
ITD Compact Plan Report                                                                          17
April 25, 2005
However, there is positive news in that the new model is accurate and was created in conjunction
with the Infrastructure Subcommittee. In addition, the University IT Committee unanimously
voted to support the level of funding reflected in the new model.

Work is continuing on the development of a equitable distribution of costs and a timeline for
eventually achieving the necessary continuing funds. Our goal is to have a phased approach of
increasing the charges to colleges and administrative units over a number of years beginning no
later than 06/07. ComTech will seek one-time funds for essential requirements in 05/06 to bridge
the gap in operating expenses.

Outcomes and Assessment:
Desired Outcome: Excellent baseline networking services
Assessment: Standard Quality of Service metrics for commodity networking services (Capacity,
usage, uptime, etc.).

Desired Outcome: Efficient and equitable manner of charging for baseline data network services
Assessment: A comprehensive overview of the data network budget and future needs was
presented at the January 2005 University Information Technology Committee. The report and
recommendations received unanimous support from the Committee.

Desired Outcome: Budget to meet campus demand for network enhancements and new services
above the baseline
Assessment: As reported in the Wireless Build-out Initiative, wireless access to the campus data
network is progressing. In addition, the first customers of the firewall service are scheduled for
implementation in late April 2005.


15.     Information Technology Fluency Initiative (ABDE)
Update
This collaborative initiative was not funded. However, ITD remains committed to the goals of the
project and continues to advance the goals the project though ongoing participation in Orientation
and other educational activities. The project may be revisited as the GERs and definitions of
computer literacy are reviewed and reconsidered.

16. Ongoing Disaster Recovery Preparedness Planning and
   Implementation (CEF)

Update
Over the past year, ITD’s ongoing disaster recovery preparedness/business continuity planning
(DRP/BCP) activities focused on two areas::
1. Meeting state mandated information technology DRP/BCP requirements as they apply to ITD
and colleges; and
2. Planning, provisioning and beginning operation of the secondary site (Date Center II, or DC II)
in the new Administrative Services III building.

In keeping with state mandated processes, ITD has completed its Risk Assessment
documentation, and the ITD Business Continuity Plan is approximately 70% complete. A table-
top mock-disaster exercise to assess preparedness will be conducted by mid-May.

ITD Compact Plan Report                                                                          18
April 25, 2005
When requested, ITD continues to work with Colleges to help them complete the development of
their BCP’s. In conjunction with the roll-out of the new Storage Management System initiative,
ITD staff in the process of getting a shared Tape Backup System into place to fully backup all
storage.

In early January 2005, after months of planning and provisioning, ITD, ACS, NCS & ComTech
started moving failover equipment into the new DC II secondary facility. This process will
continue until BCP requirements to recover in case of a disaster have been met. The new facility
has a 9315-300 Kilovolt-Ampere (kva) UPS to allow for switch over to generator power(1000
kva). The generator has fuel for approximately 4 to 5 days run time based on actual load. Since
this is a restricted access lights-out facility, card access has been added for in and out access of
room 142b and out access for room142a of the facility. This system automatically logs entries and
exits from the DC II area.

Outcomes and assessment
Desired Outcome: Meet requirements of State Audits for IT DRP/BCP
Assessment: NC State has made excellent progress toward this outcome. However, additional
servers in the Admin Services III machine room are still needed for ITD’s DRP/BCP for the core
academic IT services to be fully operational. These additional servers are required to meet the
Return-to-Operation timetable of 24 hours. At this time ITD would not loose any data should a
disaster disable either the Hillsborough Building or the Admin Services III building. But until
additional servers are operational in the Admin Services III building, it is estimated that it would
take several days to several weeks to configure the remaining servers to restore normal operation.


17. Integrated Collaborative Technology and Assessment Project
   (CDF)
Note: This initiative did not go forward due to staffing and resource issues.


18.     DELTA Codicil: Course Content Accessibility Response Team
In the January 2004 joined the DELTA Course Content Accessibility Response Team (CCART)
initiative as a codicil partner along with Disability Services for Students and NCSU Libraries. A
CCART committee was formed, led by Dr. Theresa-Marie Rhyne, coordinator of special projects
for DELTA. The task of the group was to investigate several accessibility issues, including
campus resources for the creation of accessible course materials for problematic content, such as
captioned video. In August, 2004, the CCART Report was submitted to the four sponsoring Vice
Provosts. Recommendations included the speedy approval of the draft Web Accessibility
Regulation and the formation of a university standing committee on accessibility as a mechanism
to address contested accessibility issues. These recommendations were supported by the
sponsoring Vice Provosts.




ITD Compact Plan Report                                                                           19
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