KCC Periodic Report
Metrics, Initiatives and Outcomes
April 1, 2010 – Sept. 30, 2010
Krannert Computing Center Statistics (for period April 1, 2010 – September 30, 2010):
The Krannert Computing Center received a total of 2,433 new help requests between April 1, 2010 and September 30, 2010. On average the KCC fields roughly 400 requests per month.
During this period, the KCC offered users the opportunity to complete a 5-question user satisfaction survey upon closure of a related help-request ticket. The Krannert community has responded with 462 submitted surveys out of 2,433 closed tickets for a 19% response rate, with an average “total satisfaction score” of 24.14 out of a possible of 25 across all KCC technicians and all help-requests.
(Chas Dela, Assoc. Director)
While most are treating Windows 7 as “just another operating system deployment”, the KCC has been working since last year to take advantage of technologies that will not only significantly improve a user’s experience with Windows, but also drastically reduce the time it takes to configure and support Windows machines and the Krannert user base. Automated tools, virtualization and remote management utilities have been quietly creeping into the Krannert operations portfolio with the singular goal of changing operations from the ground up. Fully deployed, thousands of hours of mundane tasks can start to be repurposed, alleviating the perpetual work backlogs that have resulted from a significantly reduced KCC workforce and increased workload over the course of the last 8 years.
Selected Projects Completed:
- KCC student labs have been upgraded to Windows 7, 64bit. Did extensive testing/fixing of Windows 7 and group policy, firewalling, ForeFront antivirus, SCCM, App-V, scripting, AppLocker, sleep issues, modifying Krannert domain policies in order to make the Windows 7 environment consistent with the existing XP environment and Krannert security model. Upgraded 6 Lab 2 stations to 8GB RAM and 6 to 16GB RAM to improve PhD research computing infrastructure, and all MBA Lab and Library Lab computers to 4GB RAM.
Desktop user support
- Completed deployment of Master’s/Admissions and GCS staff computer upgrades.
- Working on creation of a power management strategy to conserve use of power. We are currently testing concepts in the labs, since they have a large potential for savings, and it is our largest group of Windows 7 computers.
- Migrating KCC “intra” website to SharePoint. Completed FAQ, Resources, Help Desk, Research Support and Audio/Visual.
- Established “Trust” with ONEPURDUE domain, with associated DNS/WINS modifications, which will promote active collaboration, for example the campus-wide SharePoint 2010 project.
- Participated in the SNS Printing Commodity Group strategic sourcing evaluation of printing providers on campus towards goal of identifying preferred vendors and products for all campus printing hardware & services.
- KCC provides 1 participant to the SMARTComputing Technical Steering Committee and another to the SMARTComputing Excecutive Oversight Committee.
- Provided scripting solution to interested academic units that tracked login durations in various departmental campus labs and SAS programming support to MORT Lab Utilization Committee.
- Participated as a “host” in the campus-wide evaluation of Help System ticketing software. This is a significant collaboration between ITaP, Academic IT (the Colleges), and other central computing services (i.e. Student Services, Business Computing Support Services) towards the goal of selecting a service desk reporting tool that can be used campus wide. Products evaluated were required to be ITIL-compliant (meet IT best practice standards), and included: Manage Engine Service Desk (Krannert), Numara Footprints (Liberal Arts) and Remedy (ITaP). Numara Footprints was selected for its intuitive interface and cost savings. Created test servers for Committee to evaluate Service Desk and Footprints, provided numerous meeting rooms for evaluation sessions and committee meetings.
- Worked closely with ITaP to install, configure, & trouble-shoot Echo 360 recorders in Rawls 3082, 3058 and 2082. Established audio recording schedule for 3 Weekend MBA programs (approximately 180 students) using new Echo recorders.
- Worked with Kris Knotts to integrate Krannert into the University’s CoolSign LCD panel broadcast project.
- Virtualized over 20 lab applications via App-V, which further separates software from the OS, allowing reduced image size and reducing the chance of OS corruption/adverse interactions with older software. Refreshed virtualized servers (Thimble, Battleship, Pennsylvania, Reading, Taxman). Virtualized Deep Freeze console.
(Adam Lawson, Assoc. Director)
Faculty Research Support:
We have been working on a new gaming service that can host games for the students to play, capture the students’ actions into a database, and make the data available for faculty to analyze for their research projects. Dr. Camera’s economics game will be the first to go live in this solution with a tentative date to bring this online in Spring 2010 for his research.
We also worked on a research project for Dr. Cain that processes financial news articles from Lexis-Nexus and other data sources. The service imports news articles into a database, scans them and categorizes them based on the keywords provided in a dictionary of terms. The results are presented in an Excel 2010 Power Pivot spreadsheet. In the past we created similar services for Dr. Saretto against the SEC website and Dr. Hummels for government export data. As a result we are looking into bundling up some of these faculty research projects into a single solution that can be made available to the rest of the Krannert community.
Dashboard and Data Analytics for Krannert:
For the past nine months, we have been working on a business intelligence project to combine individual databases around the school into a data warehouse that can be utilized for reporting. The student admissions data mart is still in progress and covers the Masters, Exec Ed, PhD, and Undergrad programs. It will eventually contain all the historical data that is available on campus for our programs. We have pulled data from kAdmissions, the Graduate School Oracle Database, DSS, ODS, Apply Yourself, and several departmental databases, spreadsheets, Registrar data feeds, and Purdue Alumni Association files to populate this dataset. This information will be published in several reports accessible from SharePoint, Excel, and SQL Server Reporting Services so we have real-time information about our admissions process and student population without having to pull together information from numerous disparate sources.
At the same time we’ve also been working on a separate data mart for Corporate Relations Management so we can produce reports on the various ways companies interact with Krannert students, staff, and faculty. This data is pulled from numerous places within the school and involved staff from the Graduate Career Services (GCS), Development office, Executive Education, DCMME/GSCMI, and several other departments. We have also been in contact with the Purdue Alumni Association to include their datasets on Krannert Alumni and the companies they track within Advance C/S.
School-based program applications – Katalyst, kAdmissions, SharePoint:
We added a new feature to combine content from numerous course sections so instructors could share information such as Course General Info, Policies, Calendar Events, Course Files, and Course Multimedia across numerous sections. In addition, we modified the system and created several reports to assist the Deans’ Office with processing course evaluation requests to CIE. We also worked on a data project for Dr. Lynch to analyze the previous years’ course evaluation scores so they had a base to work from. The User Profile pages and Course General Info pages have a new rich text control on them for bolding, italics, URLs, etc. We also created a customizable email template that allows users to insert images and text into email communications sent from our products.
We also made several changes to the Katalyst directory, one of which was changing the system to use building room codes internally instead of free form text for office locations so it could be used for reporting. In addition, we have a separate project with Dr. Tang to modify the directory so faculty can customize their public profiles with content such as Active Papers, research projects, awards, and other marketable materials. If this pilot is successful, then we’ll be able to add the similar features to student profiles to help promote them during job searches.
We added a feature to allow student applications to be filtered by program so the system works better for people who process applications in several areas. In addition, we’ve made changes to the system in response to the changes made in Apply Yourself so we can import applications this academic season. We also made several changes to the system to fix bugs and respond to user requests. Towards the end of this semester or early next year, we will conduct research to see if we can process the batch printing requests from Apply Yourself in order to save money on our Apply Yourself contract.
SharePoint 2010 Migration
We have been working to upgrade our SharePoint investment to the new SharePoint 2010 platform. The latest version of SharePoint addresses many of the issues we experience in the past such as supporting multiple browsers, better integration of tools for Business Intelligence, streamlined support for custom web part creation and deployment, and a more stable SharePoint Designer tool to make advanced changes to the sites.
We believe that moving to this platform as soon as possible is a fundamental key to future software development by our division. So many of our existing products can be plugged into this platform because they are already written in .NET and it would allow us to reallocate our resources so that we are focused purely on the business problem and not so much on the web architecture and security. One example of this is using SharePoint to tie together many of our faculty research projects like the ones for Dr. Cain and Dr. Saretto, so other faculty can tap into them for their projects. We are also committed to using SharePoint 2010 as a platform for the upcoming IMM program which will be offered in a new online course format. In addition, many of the issues that waste our time researching workarounds to address actually function correctly out of the box with this build (such as publishing web parts).
Adam Lawson has been representing Krannert on a SharePoint 2010 committee since January 2010 to bring this product to campus as an ITaP common goods service. He has been coordinating our upgrade efforts closely with a mix of academic information technologists and ITaP technologists to not only bring up the new SharePoint software, but also address institution wide issues in the Data Handling and Governance topics. John Fassnacht has been participating in the SharePoint Developer User Group (SPUD) on campus where he gave demonstrations of how to do things in SharePoint 2007 with InfoPath, facilitate developer conversations, and keep abreast of issues those developers on the current version of SharePoint need to address for the University. Our development team has also been coordinating efforts with the School of Agriculture’s development team so we split the research projects and reduce duplication of effort on these projects.
For the past few months we’ve been working on a new service that will allow us to make better use of power management policies for our network. One of the problems we face is that users who need to access their machines from home cannot participate in a power savings policy without having the means to wake that machine before they connect. So we’ve been working on a new service that allows a person to log into a website, choose a machine from the list of machines they control, and “wake it up” so it can be accessed from a remote machine. Our solution allows machines to be assigned to people using the appropriate Active Directory fields for their computers. The user also has the ability to launch the remote desktop tool from our website and s/he can type in credentials and use the remote window after the machine wakes up. We have just finished the things needed for version 1.0 and we will pilot test this software with a small set of faculty and solicit their feedback before we roll this out to the rest of the school. We are also coordinating our efforts with ITaP and the AITL/DCM IT departmental managers so they are aware of our efforts in this space.
In the past 6 months, we have implemented several server upgrades to improve the quality of services we offer at Krannert. Our SharePoint 2007 was moved to a new virtual 64 bit machine with better resources, as well as several of our web servers that host the public Krannert website, katalyst, kAdmissions, and handle email requests for websites. In addition, the Job Queue server that processes reports, prints batches, handles SharePoint automation requests, and sends email communications was upgraded to a virtual 64-bit machine with better resources. We also created several new virtual machines with SharePoint 2010 on them to assist with the SharePoint migration project. Finally we moved our development SQL Server to a new virtual 64-bit machine with better resources
Additional KCC Help Desk Statistics:
- Help Desk staff (Eric Hitze, Michele Markley, Ryan Drown, & student-assistants) closed 1,076 (46.7%) of the total KCC service request tickets during this period.
- 108 computer setups (32 new computers, 31 computers redeployed to other users and 45 computers reimaged and returned to the original user).
- 2 printer deploys, 53 printer trouble-shooting, 19 computer equipment moves, 57 peripherals installed, 102 hardware troubleshooting, 219 software install/upgrade/trouble-shooting.
- 51 reported virus issues, 35 required re-imaging, 15 were scanned/cleaned manually.
- Deployed approximately 760 application installs through SCCM. Applications being installed through SCCM include: Firefox w/ AdBlock Plus, Adobe Reader, Flash Player, PhotoFiltre, Citrix Client, CDBurnerXP, MS Office 2007 SP2, Office Live Communicator, MikTex, Lyx, PrimoPDF, MyMel toolbar, RealPlayer, JavaJRE, EndNote Web Client, Secure CRT & Secure FX, VLC media player, Minitab v16, Processing, Condor Client, SPSS.
- Assisted with 161 PhD & 39 faculty research requests; including 139 software installs, 83 PhD office moves, 15 Mac support issues.
- KCC Purchasing clerk completed 262 total purchasing requests; including 23 desktop computers, 15 laptops, 11 iPads, 1 CoolSign PC. Renewed software licenses for Palisade Decision Tools, EViews, Print Manager, Deep Freeze, XLMiner, Eventus, Service Desk, Stata SE 10 user concurrent license.
- KCC A/V Operator supported 3 Polycom videoconferences, 5 event audio recordings, 2 video trainings, 2 teleconferences, 3 Adobe Connect meetings, 2 Live Communicator Training Sessions (for GCS and UG Advising). Provided significant A/V support for DCMME’s “Manufacturing – New Opportunities Ahead” conference including streaming video overflow room, video recording and editing support.