SBS CCITC presentation

SBS CCITC presentation
Juri Rappsilber
Gareth Poxon
Computers >2000
250 PGR students, 1400 undergrads
650 FT staff
IT support:
IT service manager,
general computing officer,
Wellcome funded computing officer,
E-learning officer,
web/database developer
• First line support through IS helpline (in theory), now
a lot of direct support (in practise 90%) Desktop support,
student lab computing, Email, E-learning (Blackboard/WebCT)
• Installation of new computers (1-2 per day), new
printers, new hardware (servers)
• Web services
• Data storage for some institutes/centres (<20% of
• SBS home page (80% complete), hosted by UoE Polopoly
• SBS intranet (complete), hosted by UoE Wiki service
• School needs in databases and web forms (mostly light
weight, 1-2 months development time)
• Biannual Biosafety questionnaire (database and web page)
• Seminar speaker sign up
• Student sign up forms (e.g. honours projects, next year’s courses)
• Bespoke research databases (mostly light weight, 1-2
months development time)
• Generally no bespoke computing/storage projects (except
for Wellcome Trust centre)
Central services used by SBS
(essentially all)
E-learning (WebCT/Blackboard)
Polopoly service
Wiki service
Supported desktops
Networking service
Finance system (Efinancials, Sciquest, Pecos)
Use ECDF (technical issues and cost are barriers)
• We have no resources to develop local solutions, hence are very
vulnerable to delays/errors/changes in central services.
• Projects by central services do not necessarily match out needs
(e.g. Polopoly, Euclid, Pure)
– This means SBS IT needs to adapt locally (costs are relayed to SBS)
• IS reorganisation two years ago made first line support very
• ECDF technical issues and cost are barriers
• Some duplication due to charges for central services (e.g. web
• Research councils demand research data storage for 10 years
(associated technical challenges and costs)
Are we getting value for money from
central IT?
Our ideal university IT structure:
central IT does maintenance,
schools lead developments (in coalitions)
Future of research computing
more data storage,
more archiving,
more computing,
more bioinformatics support but also
biologists will increasingly be active in
computing issues (“the new physics”),
• more mobile devices (a lot personal but used
for work)

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