Decentralised System Support

Information technology services (IT services), that were previously done by the institutes and central TUHH service units themselves, are offered now by the employees in the Computing Center (CC). The employees in the institutes and central service areas will no longer have to take care of routine IT-related tasks and can focus on teaching and do research. Therefore central IT services of the CC were identified, which generate a high level of synergy. The CC employees are able to increase the effectiveness of the services with their specialised knowledge. The result is greater efficiency through standardisation and automation. Scientific systems like measuring computers will still be managed by the research staff members so that they can maintain expert knowledge and flexibility in research.

Fig.: IT Service Pyramid of the Decentralised System Support

The goal behind the IT service “Decentralised System Support”

The goal is to maintain and continous develop a high-quality, seamless IT service in the institutes and central service areas of the TUHH. This includes incident management and service requirement management as part of the existing service. Additional service agreements are possible by a service level agreement. The concrete IT service modules will be described as part of the IT service description, which is defined during the pilot project.

The goal behind the “Decentralised System Support” project

The goal is to successively take over the interested institutes and central service areas into the support service. The pilot project will last 1.5 years. Three employees of the computing center have been assigned to the project under responsibility of the new department manager of the department „Service for research and apprenticeship“. The project started officially on the 1st of October 2013. The project started by taking over personal computers that can be standardised in the “Standard Model Line” and personal computers with extended access rights in the “Extended Model Line”. Special devices in the institutes and centralised service areas will be assigned to the “Special Model Line” and be taken over after a evaluation after end of the pilot project in the service operation of the CC. This will require a convenient support key for end devices in the Standard Model Line and the Extended Model Line.

How the project works

The CC assigned the three employees for the decentralised system support on the institutes and the central service areas. The first step is a stock-taking of the hardware and software. Based on our experience so far, this will take place at the same time that the computers are updated according to the system requirements. During this phase, the focus will be on consulting the employees in the institutes and central service areas. In the next step, the CC will present an implementation recommendation (IR) for the support service, which will then be approved by the institute. The IR will include the allocation of all personal computers to the model lines and the plan of action with regards to printers and servers. After the system requirements have been set, a status email will be sent out listing all of the personal computers, printers and servers that will receive support service.

Model lines

The Standard Model Line allows users to safely work in User Mode. The DSB will be granted administrator rights. This ensures that the computer settings are always known and updates can be tested on a test computer to check for any incompatibilities. The Extended Model Line allows the user to work in User Mode, but also provides a local admin account that allows the user to change the PC settings (e.g. to install programs, WLAN settings outside of the university). The personal computers in the Standard Model Line can be reset very quickly to the condition which were delivered by the CC. The exact specifications for the model lines can be found in a separate document entitled DSS - Model Lines.

Institutes and central service areas participating in the pilot phase

There are 14 institutes and 5 central service areas participating in the pilot phase. More than 500 personal computers plus printers will be transferred to the decentralised system support during the pilot phase. 13 Servers and 2 computer pools in the institutes are also considered during the pilot project.

System requirements for Windows computers

The basic system requirements are:
• Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit as the operating system
• Regular connection to the TUHH LAN
• Connection to the Active Directory (AD)
• Participation in the automatic software distribution (Empirum)
• Installation of virtual printer server for supporting printers at individual workspaces
• Integration of team drives (Home, Team) and participation in the central file service of the CC.
Setting the system requirements by the CC employees the co-operation of the employees of the institutes or in the central service areas is necessary.

IT service modules

The IT service modules are based on the Computing Center’s central IT services. The IT service modules may be used by the institutes and central service areas as needed. An overview of the service modules can be found as part of the IT Service Pyramid of the Decentralised System Support

Contact partners and communication

An IT officer (ITO) will still be needed in the institutes. The ITO will coordinate the IT questions from the employees, forward them to the DSB, provide any necessary IT information for the support service, and legitimise any changes to the personal computers. If the head of the institute has not appointed an ITO, the head of the institute will assume the role of ITO. In general, the DSB and user will communicate via the Service Desk of The Computing Center. The DSB is to report to the institute or central service area as soon as possible. The expansion of the decentralised system support will be discussed directly by the head of the institute or central service area and the IT Service Manager, Frank Lamers.

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