March 2001


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Michael Snyder <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Departmental Technology Coordinators <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 15 Mar 2001 09:14:53 -0500
text/plain (6 kB) , mrsnyder.vcf (6 kB)
Perhaps it is time for the large group (IT Advocats) to gether for a
meeting to talk about such issues. I would be willing to assist in
facilitating such a venture (an adventure). There's probably no need for
a raging debate but certainly a consideration of the pros and cons, the
cost/benefits.  Could this be a key issue and focus for the standards
committee? And, how do we do this in a timely fashion to meet Alex's
need to respond to his manager?
Michael Snyder

"Jessica L. Dion" wrote:
> On Tue, 13 Mar 2001, Alex Scortzaru wrote:
> > Hmm..
> >
>  > - I tend to agree with Mike Austin..
> > - but Steve Cavrak has some good points,
> > - they both represent our leading IT unit,
> I would guess that Steve represents himself, and he happened to decide to
> play devil's advocate in this case, possibly just for fun.
> > - debate is good,
> > - debate is going on since Novell arrived in Campus,
> > - debate grew even more when NT arrived in Campus,
> > - and now Linux?
> I agree wholeheartedly.  I would like to see members of the community
> engaged in a dialogue about different technologies at UVM more often.
> It's painful to witness isolated departments/groups/schools who are trying
> to make informed decisions without actually communicating with anyone else
> at the university.  Most of us have no idea what cool solutions other
> groups have already come up with, and we really can't afford not to find
> out.
> Dialogue is great - debate is great - even if nothing is resolved.  I
> would like to see people at least think of central computing when they are
> searching for solutions to their IT problems.  CIT is not an academic
> department - we only exist to serve the UVM community.  We do not want to
> grow and centralize everything arbitrarily.  We develop, maintain and
> support resources in order to make other people's jobs (like yours) more
> efficient, easier, more cost effective.
> Imagine building a wonderful Inn, with comfortable beds, a nice common
> room with a fireplace, and a great restaurant.  You open the doors to
> invite your guests in, but instead you see many of them pitching tents on
> the lawn and huddling under cardboard boxes, because... they didn't know
> they were invited in, or someone told them tents were easier to maintain,
> or maybe inns have bed bugs, or they want control over their own
> environment, or they never looked up and saw the Inn.
> Does this make sense?
> This isn't the perfect analogy, but my point is..  if members of the UVM
> community would like to see CIT change the services it provides, they need
> to be vocal about it.  Next time you start complaining to the person
> sitting next to you about central computing, stop and complain TO central
> computing instead.  How can we improve unless you share your perspective
> with us?  If your needs aren't being met, tell us what your needs are.
> It seems like almost every group on campus is faced with scary budget cuts
> once again.  In this environment, how can anyone afford to re-invent the
> wheel?  How can UVM afford to pay a non-central IT person to investigate,
> purchase, set up and maintain a file server for a dozen people, when we
> already have a reliable, fast, secure file server centrally which already
> serves thousands, integrated into everyone's existing accounts, backed up
> nightly, and maintained for free?
> That's why CIT advocates using central resources - it makes sense.
> Even if your group does have needs that go beyond what CIT can provide
> centrally, we are often willing to consult with you (for *free*), and help
> you design a system that will integrate well with UVM's existing IT
> framework.  Who but a fool would pass that up?
> > - CIT invests lots of money in IBM's flavor of Unix (AIX) and Unix
> >   based applications and services,
> FYI - we are using other "flavors" of unix as well these days.. Solaris
> and Linux mainly.    We use the best tool for the job.
> > - departments invest lots of money in Linux, NT, Novell and their
> >   share of services and applications,
> > - my manager wants something on his table ASAP,
> > - my manager wants something reliable which I will be responsible for,
> Those are often mutually exclusive (nothing personal :-).  If my manager
> wanted a web server (for instance) that was secure, reliable, scalable,
> kept up-to-date, and required minimal learning for the people who were
> going to use it (not yet another account with another name, password, and
> file space), the answer would NOT be to deploy my own server just for our
> school (which would cost many thousands of dollars in hardware and my
> salary, and would be a nightmare to maintain if I ever left the position).
> The answer would be to use Zoo.  Let me (the school's IT person) be
> responsible for school specific things - neat projects and support
> questions that are beyond the scope of central computing.. and let central
> computing provide their services at a level I couldn't match anyway,
> at 40 hrs/week.
> > - I need to make a decision,
> > - debate is still going on,
> > - Mike wants me in, Steve says be careful,
> > - other administrators are in the same boat,
> > - should I hire a consultant (C2 maybe?),
> Your manager would certainly be upset with you for hiring an expensive
> consulting company that only offers one solution and doesn't consult with
> central computing when designing their proposals, without first making the
> best use of UVM's existing resources.  Before you waste money paying
> people with fancy ties, you should set up a meeting with some of the
> consultants who are already on campus - network with peers in other
> schools who have already found solutions, talk to central computing about
> your needs and find out if there is a solution that will increase the
> level of services to everyone at UVM, including your department.  Many
> people at UVM know more about computing than any consultant you could
> afford - you just need to ask.
> Sometimes a request from one small group will result in an increase in
> quality of services for everyone.
> > - or should I follow the University Requirements published at ????
> Very good point.  Hopefully the IT Network will help with this one.  We
> are an open enough community that I doubt you'll ever see university
> "requirements", but I think having some "Best Practices" published would
> be a very wise thing.
> May the debates rage on..
>                                         - Jessica Dion
>                                           Computing Analyst, SNR and CIT