Operations and Applications Technology Committee
Meeting Minutes
April 17, 1997

Members present: Eugene Brown, Jose Chavez, Carmen Goodman, David Karstens, Vincent Pizzurro (chair), Dan Riley, Steven Sachs, John Sartorius, Jayne Townend, David Williams
Also present: Robert Bruce, Skip Rademacher, Janet Zilczer
Absent: George Bergeman, Thomas Butler, Carmen Medina, Martin Olson, Deborah Rodgers, Jeff Williamson

1. There were no comments or questions on the minutes of the last meeting, which had been distributed in March

2. Infrastructure upgrades

Mr. Pizzurro announced that the Facilities organization is in the process of soliciting for a contractor to conduct surveys of HVAC and other IT-related facilities upgrade requirements. Mr. Rademacher explained that this development has introduced some unanticipated delays. Cabling contractors were prepared to proceed with their work, pending confirmation that chosen locations for lab installations and other areas to be densely populated with new computer workstations could effectively be retrofitted with adequate ventilation, electrical power, and grounding. It was initially expected that in-house facilities staff could provide such assurances, since they had already advised the relocation of some planned lab installations. However, Facilities deemed it necessary to obtain outside assistance to accomplish this task on all campuses.

3. Hardware/software orders/installations

Dr. Sachs announced that the first 200 Gateway computers have arrived in the warehouse. Additional units will arrive in batches of 200, with the Pentium 166s coming first, followed by the 133s. More Pentiums will be ordered for delivery by July. Dr. Zilczer distributed a summary of Gateway warranty procedures. Copies of these materials have also been sent to all campus LRC Directors and Information Resource Associates.

Dr. Sachs expects to have information soon regarding how many 486s will be upgraded. An RFP will be issued in May to accomplish the upgrades. Dr. Zilczer noted that CIS has already purchased over five hundred low-cost ISA token ring cards to facilitate upgrade and network connectivity of older machines. Several hundred more such cards are currently on sale, but Dr. Sachs indicated that those already purchased would probably fulfill the majority of the upgrade needs.

An RFP has been issued for a logistician to coordinate roll-out of the new PCs and relocation of the older ones that may be displaced. However, no reponses have yet been received. Installations will proceed as deliveries occur, even if no logistician is engaged to coordinate these efforts.

Software orders are being postponed until Summer. Decisions on client licenses (whether Microsoft BackOffice or some other products) will need to be ironed out.

4. Selection process for new IT positions

Interview and Selection Committees for the classified positions are completing their work, although some campuses are a bit ahead of others. Several candidates applied for more than one position, so it can be anticipated that some applicants may receive multiple offers. If possible, offers will be coordinated between campuses through Human Resources to avoid potential confusion or possible delays in getting applicants' responses to offers. Dr. Sachs confirmed that the campus positions will report to the LRCs on four campuses and to the Provost at Loudoun.

The recruitment process for the faculty positions is still on-going.

5. Microcomputer repair outsourcing

Dr. Zilczer distributed the state-wide time-and-materials microcomputer repair contract, a copy of which was finally received from DPS. The Request for Information issued through the NVCC Purchasing office covered more comprehensive maintenance options, as-well as time-and-materials arrangements, but the RFI is still open. Mr. Pizzurro and Dr. Sachs noted that repair strategies may differ from campus to campus. It was also noted that time-and-materials contracting may not be the approach the College wishes to pursue long-term, but the DPS contract does provide an immediate vehicle for addressing needs during a transition away from in-house repairs. In response to a question, Dr. Sachs indicated that funding for such repairs would be addressed by the ITC and the Administrative Council.

6. Consultant service/Internet service providers

Dr. Williams reported that the DPS "Body Shop" service contract did not appear to be a very useful or user-friendly vehicle for obtaining consulting services. The user-managed approach, he thought, was not very helpful. In general, there appeared to be few, if any, guarantees to insure the quality of the results obtained.

Mr. Pizzurro distributed a brief article excerpted from the April, 1997, issue of T.H.E. Journal. The article described "CampusMCI" service as an "umbrella" under which 365 universities and colleges are obtaining Internet access, technical support, and E-mail.

7. VCCS/Utility developments

Mr. Pizzurro briefly outlined the former VCCS data services organization (four regions plus the System office) and the current reorganization, which originally called for the consolidation of five mainframe data centers into one. That plan quickly evolved into a more practical goal of consolidating to two centers. Current regional centers and colleges were asked to bid on the VCCS-wide services they wished to provide in the future. NVCC and JSRCC volunteered to house the two mainframe servers that will eventually support all processing for a consolidated VCCS-wide SIS (Student Information System), AIS (Administrative Information System), and ISS (Instructional Support System). Ultimately, all new software systems are to be purchased. In the meantime, the Northern regional data center will continue to run NVCC's CICS-based SIS. An RFP has been issued to obtain the new mainframe server that is to be located at JSRCC. All IMS-based applications (i.e., the SIS for the other 22 colleges) were to be consolidated at JSRCC as early as this summer. However, delays in the RFP process will likely necessitate keeping the Eastern and Western regional centers operational through year-end to support on-going processing requirements. To facilitate the multi-phased migrations necessary to accomplish the planned consolidation, additional VCCS-wide CICS applications, including the FRS system, are already being moved to the Northern regional data center.

The next session of the OATC is scheduled for Thursday, May 15, at 1:30 p.m. The location will be confirmed when the agenda is distributed.

Minutes Prepared by: Janet Zilcher

Distribution: OATC members (and others present)
ITC members
Dr. Ernst

OATC Minutes Index

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