Meeting Minutes

August 30, 1996 Meeting

MEMBERS PRESENT: Paul Dworak, Craig Berry, Bill Buntain, Paul Hons, Ginger Boone, Jim Curry, Dallas Newell, Cyndie Harris, Robert Pierce, Chris Strauss, Maurice Leatherbury (Chair), Tim Christian, Eric DuChemin, Sue Ellen Richey (Recording Secretary)

MEMBERS ABSENT: Barbara Hall, Cengiz Capan, Abraham John, Bruce Pollak

GUESTS PRESENT: Richard Harris

There being no additions or corrections to the minutes of the August 2, 1996 meeting, they were approved as distributed.

Tim Christian reported for the Network Operating System Management subcommittee that his committee has evaluated two products. Both LAN Alert and DS Expert for NDS satisfy all of the established criteria for a Network Operating System Management product. The committee is in the process of acquiring Open View to evaluate, and Ovee Rahman and Phillip are evaluating ManageWise. A new product called UniCenter has been released, which the committee would like to see. All evaluations are still in progress.

Maurice reported for the Desktop Standards Group that very few people have been in attendance at their meetings, but those present discussed some of the issues assigned to this committee. Generally, what the committee has decided to do is look at the process of desktop standardization, and basic configuration of software setup, rather than looking at application software packages at this time.

In response to a request to set a deadline for sub-committee final reports, Maurice said that the Network System Operating Management software recommendation needs to be made before Arts & Sciences begins to roll out their machine upgrades and implementation of Novell 4.x and GroupWise; therefore, this subcommittee was asked to present its recommendation by the first meeting of November. Richard announced that Novell is planning to give UNT ManageWise and LAN Desk. Maurice said he would request that Barbara Hall's sub-committee bring a recommendation by the first meeting of November also.

The Call Tracking System subcommittee has met and saw a demonstration of Jim Curry's system. Maurice said it would be good if a recommendation could be presented by this sub- committee by the end of the fall semester; the Desktop Standardization subcommittee should follow that time-line as well.

Maurice reviewed the centralized computing responsibilities for desktop computing support as they are now organized, explaining that the Computing Center provides data communications support in the installation of LANs, WANs, and dialup; training and network operating system support, and desktop support; e-mail support which provides management of the GroupWise servers; and Computing Center help desk which provides dial-up support as well as on-campus general computing question answering, and some forwarding of trouble calls to distributed areas; also UNIX system support with SUN support and maintenance; and the ISB 110 lab provides Check-in development and maintenance. Jim Curry's shop provides hardware maintenance and unofficial software support when needed. Distributed support areas, he explained, for the most part take care of desktop support for problems installing printers, solving operating system and software problems, and interacting with data communications.

Maurice asked the group if they thought that mix needed to be changed or not. Paul Dworak suggested that a third area, collaboration and coordination, be developed, stating that this group could decide where that coordination is needed. Maurice explained that it is important for this group to determine who needs to be responsible for what, in terms of computing support, before a call-tracking software package can even be decided upon .

Tim suggested that it is the distributed support person's responsibility to respond to a trouble call from his area, and then escalate the problem to the next level if he can't solve the problem. It was mentioned that there is currently a question as to where the responsibility lies for development support for the World Wide Web. Tim suggested that each computing support position be identified and a decision made as to what their responsibility is in the overall scheme of support, acknowledging that this would be a huge task. It was pointed out that communication throughout campus, about outages or any other noteworthy information, is a critical part of distributed and centralized computing support.

Richard stated that his understanding of the support system as it stands is that there is sufficient front-line staff now available in the distributed areas to handle basic PC problems. When that staff person reaches a point where they cannot solve the problem, there are teams being developed in the Computing Center where they can turn for help. It first needs to be determined who has ownership of the problem. And it is important that the whole procedure be managed. It was agreed that whatever tracking software product is decided on would be instrumental in managing ownership of problems.

Paul Hons pointed out that any system UNT develops or purchases should be one that can be changed easily. Bill Buntain pointed out that a big advantage of logging all problems in the tracking system is that the information on how a problem was solved is helpful to everyone. He also mentioned that it will be important to decide who should be responsible for closing out a problem.

Paul Hons distributed a document outlining what his sub-committee has done thus far (see Attachment #1), the last page of which is a chart they will use in rating the various problem tracking software packages. He asked the group for their input regarding he evaluation form, regarding the criteria, as well as the weights given to each one. Members were asked to make notes and comments on the form and send it back to Paul by campus mail.

Maurice continued the discussion about centralized and distributed computing support by stating that there are some issues the group must face regarding what centralized services they want to see in place, and what services they want to provide for themselves. Bill Buntain agreed that there are general guidelines, some of which are automated. He said that the ad hoc committee looked at the UNT organizational chart to determine how to handle the needs of every department and unit. Maurice stated his hope that these issues will become clearer when the group begins to pick a product to use for call-tracking, and told the group that this topic will be on the agenda for the next meeting of this group.

There was some discussion about when the committee will continue to meet, and it was decided that regular meetings will be on the first and third Friday of each month, with the next meeting being on September 20th. Sub-committees will again report at that meeting.

Bill Buntain reported that IBM had recently purchased Tivoli, so they now have a network management product they would like to have UNT take a look at. IBM will be here on Sept. 10th and could speak to members of this group about their new product.

It was reported that Bill Buntain and Richard Harris recently attended a Microsoft seminar.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.


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