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Project Background

Purpose

The purpose of this project is to enable OIT to cost-effectively expand and enhance the centralized data storage and backup services it offers to campus.

Overview

In recent years NC State has made significant investments to upgrade and expand the centralized data storage and backup capacities the university needs for critical IT functions such as highly reliable university data and file services, email services, mandated data retention, and disaster recovery/business continuity on- and off-site.  New equipment includes a large new tape backup library, two virtual tape libraries (VTLs), refreshed storage arrays and updated fiber channel fabric for the storage area network (SAN). OIT currently supports 400-500TB of university data.  An equivalent amount is estimated to exist in the colleges, departments and units across the campus. Customers across campus have requested additional storage space and changes in the way files are accessed. A joint effort across OIT and distributed units will be required to meet this need.

The OIT central storage and backup system was developed with an expectation of extending centralized storage to other campus units on an at-cost basis. While some campus customers have access to this service, restrictions in accounting practices and funding models have slowed delivery of the service. In addition, there are inconsistent prices within OIT for storage of email, and file space for AFS, hosted systems and block devices. An accurate and flexible storage model with cost-effective pricing is needed to offer enhanced performance, lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for campus customers, and overall university savings. To succeed, this OIT project also needs to address issues related to storage and backup support, documentation, and service level expectations.

OIT is still working to achieve the full benefits from the merger of central administrative and academic IT units in November 2007. This project will accelerate the process of reducing the overlap of processes and technologies and redundancies in file delivery services within OIT, while taking into consideration that changes to those platforms are dependent on projects such as Identity and Accesses Management (IAM) and the redesign of the centrally-provided desktop environment. Roles and responsibilities of technical staff and units changed as a result of the OIT merger, as well. Communication, handoff and collaboration processes between storage specialists and systems administrators need to be developed as OIT grows and changes. This project will help address these issues, with the intention of improving OIT operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Goals & Objectives

Establish a detailed price model for storage to be used for budgeting and capacity planning for OIT internal projects and charged services:

  • Develop a tiered architecture and services model that balances availability, performance, stability, data protection and costs
  • Create simple tiers of services for non-OIT customers that make block level storage and/or file services available offering enterprise class storage and backups with lower departmental costs
  • Create a communications channel for storage related projects within OIT and across campus
  • Develop a plan to minimize overlap of existing OIT storage technologies to reduce costs and improve manageability
  • Create a group to begin the design of the next generation OIT file services model.
  • Develop a recurring assessment of the amount, types, growth, location of campus data both centralized and decentralized
  • Review existing OIT storage technologies in light of data retention and compliance requirements as well as disaster recovery preparedness

This project will support the OIT operational goals of Proactive Customer Service and Solutions, Collaborative Engagement, and Reliable Systems and Security.

Scope

The project will address data needs within OIT including but not limited to students and staff email; file systems (AFS and NFS), Netware, Windows file services; and Database storage. The project will include current customers of OIT’s Technology Support Services, Infrastructure, Systems & Operations, and Hosted Systems. It also extends to the broader campus to any unit that has a need or desire to access centralized storage. Direct attach fiber channel and network file services are the current platforms. Desktop backup is not currently part of the project, but it may be addressed at a later date.

Authority

The objectives stated in this charter are governed, authorized and supported by the Sponsors and Stakeholders of centralized storage services through the Centralized Storage Project Oversight Committee making recommendations to the VCIT.

Major Constraints and Assumptions

This project will investigate a cost model that allows customers to purchase multiple years of storage across fiscal years and acquire recurring funds for maintenance and expansion of existing storage systems.

Proposed Start Date

February 1, 2009

Expected End Date

August 1, 2009

 

Project manager and project team members are on the Project Structure page.