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Technology Services: From the CIO

June, 2018 CIO Update »

It’s almost time to say Happy New Year as we close out Fiscal year 2018 and prepare for Fiscal Year 2019.  I extend my thanks to all those in Technology Services working extra hours right now to make sure VCU’s fiscal-year-end processing goes well.  for this month’s update, I’d like to highlight exciting new infrastructure capability as well share a great example of using technology to drive efficiencies and savings.

100 Gbps connectivity

VCU’s primary external network connection is provided by the Mid-Atlantic Research Infrastructure Alliance (MARIA), an alliance of institutions in Virginia established to promote the development of shared advanced network and other cyberinfrastructure resources to serve the Commonwealth and the Mid-Atlantic region.

The MARIA connection provides access to one of our Internet service providers, peering with Equinix in northern Virginia for delivery of streaming services, access to Internet2 and other high speed research networks, and supports services to VCU’s School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy at Inova Hospital. Current utilization for all services has been peaking at about 7 Gigabits per second (Gbps) and continues to increase.

In order to stay ahead of the growth in utilization, the MARIA circuit has recently been upgraded from 10 Gbps to 100 Gbps. Initially the additional bandwidth will only be available from the VCU Computer Center at 900 E. Main St., but the network backbone speed will be upgraded to multiple 40Gbs links by the end of calendar year 2018. These improvements will allow for high speed connectivity to the Research Network (Researchnet)  providing needed bandwidth for the transferring of large data sets and supporting research grants. As such, we anticipate a large increase in the amount of research related traffic, but the capacity increase will benefit the entire VCU community in the coming years.

ECO Savings: 

Thanks to some excellent work in our Academic Technologies area utilizing the Eco functionality in Crestron Roomview, from February 5, 2018 to June 18, 2018, 80,044 hours of power use in our classrooms were saved. Before implementing Eco, our team members would walk by rooms and see them left on all the time. If class ended at 11AM, the room wouldn’t automatically shut down until 11PM; that’s 12 hours wasted in just one day.  Now the classroom systems shut down automatically when not being used, and the system starts counting hours until the next time someone turns on the system again, or until 11PM (we also have auto shutdown at 11PM in place), which has helped quantify the substantial savings since this started being used:

$ 8,165.52 saved on replacement lamps
$ 6,553.54 saved on electric energy (that only accounts for displays, projectors, and LCD monitors)
Total savings: $14,719.06

This is a great example of using technology to save money and manage environmental impact.

Thanks to all for a successful fiscal year, and my best for a happy and safe Independence Day holiday!

Alex

May, 2018 CIO Update »

Welcome to Summer (and they say we'll have some fun when it stops raining)! For this month's entry, please see a preliminary view of the results of the Division of Administration's annual Community Satisfaction Survey.  We also have the next installment of organizational overviews featuring our Application Services group. 2018 Community Satisfaction . . .

April, 2018 CIO Update »

I think it might actually be Spring now!  For this month's entry, please see some news about continuous improvements to Blackboard, an overview of phishing and how we combat it at VCU, as well as a look at how our Information Security Office is organized. Blackboard Upgrade Preparations are well underway for upgrading the VCU Blackboard System, w . . .

March, 2018 CIO Update »

For this month's update, I would like to remind everyone of a key service we can use to help us better understand and manage the ever-changing technology landscape.  I also want to highlight an initiative on which we're collaborating with the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.  Finally, I will continue to provide more detail on . . .

February, 2018 CIO Update »

Happy Almost Spring! For this month's entry, I would like to share updates on two services that are critical to how we access online resources at VCU.  I would also like to continue providing more insight into the operational areas of VCU Technology Services with an overview of the University Computer Center. eID Self-service Password Reset Update . . .

January, 2018 CIO Update »

Happy New Year!  For this month's update, I'd like to share some information from our Information Security Office regarding some new vulnerabilities that have created some challenges.  I would also like to introduce a new feature, in which over the coming months, I will have each area of Technology Services provide an overview of its function and stru . . .

December, 2017 CIO Update »

As we begin to wind down 2017 and prepare for 2018, I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone on the Technology Services team for their hard work, dedication, and professionalism.  We have accomplished much this year and continue to be a critical part of supporting key initiatives at VCU. I also thank my colleagues in other VCU IT organiza . . .

November, 2017 CIO Update »

As the holidays approach, along with the possibility of some actual cold weather, I want to share additional information about VCU Technology Services projects and initiatives that we will be working on in December and well into 2018. Make It Amazing Customer Service (in our case Make IT Amazing): As previously announced, VCU's Division of Adminis . . .

October, 2017 CIO Update »

Unfortunately the Cubs are not in the World Series right now, so this Fall is not quite as good as last year for me.  However, the cooler weather and autumn colors are a welcome change.  As we more fully transition into Fall and start heading toward the holidays, I thought I would highlight some changes to two of our major services: TerminalFour's . . .

September, 2017 CIO Update »

With the school year in full swing and Fall officially arriving, I thought I would highlight several new initiatives that help to ensure that all of the services we offer can be easily accessed and utilized and that our user community can access and handle VCU data easily but also safely. The Learning Systems Academy The Learning Systems Academy w . . .

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