In yesterday's all-OIA meeting, each of the senior managers gave an overview of their group, including an organization chart, and discussed some of the major projects for the next year. We had a lot of information to share during the meeting (view PowerPoint) and I wanted to take a moment to review, and answer any questions that may have come up.
In short, the Operations & Infrastructure group supports the systems that run the University. This includes systems administration, storage & backup, systems database administration, data center operations, production services, and disaster recovery.
In all, there are over 50 of us in the Operations & Infrastructure team. Having all of us part of the same group will help to streamline some of what we do. The goal is to make it easier to work together, as one unit.
What are some of the things we're going to be working on, now that we're all part of one team? We have lots of new projects coming up, too many to list them all. However, a few of the larger, most visible projects are:
We're expanding our use of VMWare to support virtual servers without adding physical boxes. One major goal over the next year is to build up a separate environment for customers, so they aren't mixed in with OIA systems.
Tim and I are working together with the DBA's to separate tasks into system DBA and application DBA. The system DBA's will be working on database clustering and customer-focused database hosting.
Log centralization and management
We manage more than 1,100 servers across all of OIT, and having a single, central log system will make it easier for us to identify problems and keep tabs on all these servers. We'd like to move forward on this in FY09, but may have to wait until FY10.
New data center
In managaing a data center, you generally run into 3 limitations: power, cooling, and floor space. WBOB has an issue with power, but we're taking steps to address that. Our cooling system was upgraded last year. However, floor space is our next challenge. Al is leading a project to build a new data center near the St Paul campus to support new servers.
New backup system
As we add more systems, we need more ways to save the data that's on them. Jac is leading an RFP to evaluate a new backup system. We hope to have a decision in the next month, and bring a recommendation to the Regents.
When you support systems that run the University, you need to have a good understanding of what to do when the worst happens. Lois and John have been working to help build our disaster recovery plans. Several of you may have already participated in their tabletop exercises. Lois is similarly working with campus departments, helping them to build their own DR plans for systems they run.
There's lots to say about each of those projects; I may write more in a later blog post.
What questions do you have about the new Operations & Infrastructure group, and how it fits into the larger picture with OIA and OIT? I'm open to questions; please, feel free to stop by my office anytime. If you're not comfortable asking questions in person, drop me a note in my mailbox, and I'll do the best I can to answer the question here on my blog.