Summer of IT

It's a busy summer for the IT Department and we're here to share our major projects and progress. If at any time you have questions about our projects, or just need tech support, give us a call at x5777 (459-5777 off-campus).

Here's what we're planning.

COMPLETED - Saturday, May 25th - Major network outage for server upgrades

With the recent purchase of an entirely new server and storage system, all existing servers must be taken offline and migrated. Many systems are already moved, but the core administrative and academic servers are not.

ALL DAY Saturday, May 25th, will be used to perform server system updates and move the existing servers to the new hardware. During this maintenance window, all servers will restart multiple times for normal updates.  Make sure to logoff of your computer before leaving for the weekend.

The following services are undergoing additional work and will be unavailable for all or part of the day:

  • Mail and webmail
  • Department (H:) and user (U:) drives
  • Moodle
  • Colleague UI
  • WebAdivsor
  • This website
  • Zeus content and resources

COMPLETED - May 25th - P: drive reset and upgrade

The public P: drive is cleared three times per year (end of the year, beginning of the year, and between fall and winter terms), but this year it's also getting a behind-the-scenes upgrade. While it's size will remain 100GB, a new server will provide better response times.

Some thought had been given to increasing the capacity of the P: drive, but we'd like instead for faculty to distribute resources via Moodle and for students to share media files (the majority of the P: drive today) via SkyDrive. As a reminder, copyrighted works, including movies, TV shows, music, and computer games, are not allowed on the P: drive and will be deleted upon discovery.

COMPLETED - May 25th - Department H: and user U: drive upgrades

Also during our maintenance window we will migrate all H: and U: drives to new servers. This change will improve reliability, service, and capacity. All departments will share a common 1TB of space and all users will share a separate 1TB. This is more than double the capacity of the existing server that today stores both H: and U: drives.

User and department drives will not be available all day. Please make sure to save and close all of your files and Outlook on Friday, May 24th, prior to leaving for the weekend. Departments who are required to be on campus on the 25th will need to plan accordingly.

When you return on Monday, make sure to restart your computer before trying to logon. If you have trouble accessing a particular shared drive after the migration, please contact us.

COMPLETED - December- Moodle upgrade

Moodle is scheduled to receive a server, application, and storage space upgrade. The new Moodle version will be more stable and scalable. The increased storage space is a precursor to a new emphasis on digital, managed delivery of course resources.

COMPLETED - June - Print accounting and final printer consolidation

We've been working with a print strategy implemented last year and our goal is to complete it by the end of June. This includes an automated print accounting system for billing and use tracking, and consolidating redundant printers into properly sized models in each building.

As this project completes, there will a time when all printers are moved to a centralized print server. This will interrupt printing for some users until the changes are replicated throughout the network. Your patience is appreciated during this change and we will work with you to ensure that all of the appropriate printers are added to your computer.

COMPLETED - August - College-sponsored mobile phone policy

Work is being completed on the College's Mobile Phone Policy, which standardizes the process and rules for receving a College-paid mobile phone plan. A Mobile Device Policy is also being created as a superset of the Mobile Phone Policy. The device policy is desgined to address the growing use of personal mobile devices to conduct College business (also known as Bring Your Own Device, BYOD). Personal devices will have certain security requirements placed on them in order to connect to business resources, like email. The policy also addresses how College-owned mobile devices are treated and serviced.

COMPLETED - August - Email service upgrade and Outlook Web App migration

Email service is scheduled to undergo its most significant upgrade since Exchange was first installed over a decade ago. Exchange 2013 is currently being tested within the IT Department and all users will be moved to the new system when testing is complete. Default mailboxes are also growing from 250MB (previously 120MB) to 1GB.

Part of the Exchange 2013 upgrade is the deployment of Outlook Web App, which replaces Outlook Web Access. The webmail website will be discontinued and replaced with http://outlook.collegeofidaho.edu. This address is active now and will automatically connect you to OWA when your mailbox moves. All users are encouraged to use this new address starting immediately.

After the Exchange 2013 upgrade completes, some users may experience temporary Outlook configuration issues that can be resolved by calling the Helpdesk. Any smartphones configured to retrieve email will need to be reconfigured and users must accept the Mobile Device Policy before being allowed to connect a personal device to the email system.

And, last but not least, the new configuration is being designed for the mobile user. Outlook Web App is fully supported on Windows, Mac, and Apple iOS 6+ devices with Android support in the future. The full Microsoft Office Outlook client will alow you to connect from off-campus without the need for a VPN connection. Together, these advances open the door to more productive business travel.

March through May - Infrastructure lifecycle upgrades

As part of our annual network lifecycle, Hendren, Sterry, McCain, and Strahorn will receive new switches and upgraded fiber optic connections to Covell. Downtime will be required during the cutover from the old equipment to the new, but it will all be announced and conducted after-hours or on weekends. After the upgrades, the buildings will have the proper connections to allow us to begin piloting rich media network applications while providing better overall network service to each building.

COMPLETED - August - Internet connection and firewall upgrades

In July, a new firewall arrives on campus to provide enhanced border security between our network and the internet. It will provide enhanced VPN capabilities, antispam services with per-user quarantine, and content filtering to block most viruses from entering the network via the internet. There is very little to no impact expected from this upgrade, outside of the VPN upgrade that all computers will eventually need to receive.

In August, our internet connection will be upgraded from 100Mbps to 600Mbps, about 50x-100x faster than a typical home connection in Idaho. Some web services may be affected by this upgrade as it involves a change of internet provider, but any issues will only be temporary and will resolve themselves within 24 hours.

COMPLETED - June through August - Annual lifecycle computer replacements

Several computer labs are being upgraded throughout the summer. Covell 4 will receive new, more powerful workstations for graphic design and computer science, while Covell 3, Boone 116, Boone 128, Boone 206, Boone 205, Boone 225, Langroise 201, and KAIC 201 are scheduled for upgrades. Some of these upgrades have been rescheduled to a later time so that we may continue to evaluate new computing options.

Employees scheduled to receive new laptops are currently being contacted to schedule a replacement appointment.