Information Technology Services (ITS)

EIS Projects & Initiatives

Enterprise Cloud Backup

Based on the industry-leading Veeam backup solution, this project will provide geographically distant backups for virtual machines running in the ITS Private Cloud environment.  Data will be encrypted on site before being transferred to highly scalable storage located in the MS Azure cloud.  The EIS Veeam project team has completed the hardware and software implementation and is currently working with Veeam support to iron out some issues encountered.  Around 1,000 VMs are currently being backed up using the new solution and are being replicated to MS Azure cloud storage.

MS Azure Hosting Environment

To augment the on premises virtualization services provided by the ITS Private Cloud service, EIS is developing an easily replicable and secure “hub & spoke” architecture for hosting servers in the MS Azure cloud.  Departments will be able to leverage the expertise of EIS systems staff in moving their servers into MS Azure as a managed service, or they will be able to jump start their own Azure environments using the “infrastructure as code” scripts that the team is developing.

Tri-campus WiFi RFP & Technology Refresh

An RFP was completed in early 2021 to select a new wireless infrastructure vendor to replace the legacy campus WiFi solution which was selected over 10 years ago.  This multi-year project will see the legacy infrastructure replaced and will provide a faster, more reliable WiFi service across all three university campuses.  Back-end controllers have been acquired and installed.  Work has also started on replacing the nearly 10,000 wireless access points in over 200 buildings across 3 campuses.

PSTN Calling in MS Teams Pilot

Following the successful conclusion of the multi-year project to migrate over 13,000 Bell Centrex telephone lines to a cloud-hosted VoIP solution, this pilot project will test the viability of bringing plain old telephone Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) calling (aka making and receiving phone calls) into MS Teams.  The main advantage for users is that they would be able to use a single application (Teams) for online collaboration and telephone calls rather than having to use both Teams and the Communicator VoIP client.  Testing is currently underway and a review of the feedback from the Pilot will be used to determine next steps.

Research Data Centre

This project will renovate a space in the McLennan Physics building to provide a professionally managed and physically secure co-location space for research computing equipment that is currently distributed across many different university buildings, often in facilities that lack expansion capacity, adequate physical security and/or power & cooling.  This project is a collaboration between ITS and the Faculty of Arts & Science’s IITS team.

DCB Controls Package Upgrade

The ITS Data Centre (DCB) was constructed with an advanced Building Automation System (BAS), the Tridium Niagara AX platform, that controls DCB’s dedicated chiller, pumps, valves, and fans that cool the facility based on data that the BAS receives through a variety of sensors connected to it.  DCB has always had the capability to reject its waste heat, during major chiller maintenance events, through DCB’s standby heat-exchanger, using the McLennan Process Cooling Plant’s chilled water system instead of relying on DCB’s dedicated chiller.

With the completion of the current Capital Project upgrading the McLennan base-building chilled water infrastructure, DCB’s heat-exchanger will become the primary source of cooling for DCB, allowing Facilities & Services to reclaim that waste heat through the base-building chilled water system and saving energy as a result of their upgrades.  The DCB dedicated chiller will become its standby cooling source.

However, this new dependency on the base-building chilled water system, as DCB’s primary cooling source, requires new BAS programming to ensure that DCB will be able to respond to the varying conditions and expected failure modes resulting from reliance on a shared base-building service that is beyond EIS’ control.

To maintain the current level of reliability in this new configuration, the 10 year-old Tridium Niagara AX platform, reaching its End-of-Life on 1 July 2021, is being replaced with the latest available Tridium Niagara N4 based controllers.  New Onicon F-4300 Transit-time flow and BTU meters will be added, to provide greater visibility into the heat-rejection being provided by the base-building chilled water system.

And lots more…

In addition to the above major projects & initiatives, the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions group works tirelessly to provide fast, reliable and cost effective network and server hosting infrastructure & services.  This work is an ongoing process of continuous improvement which often goes unnoticed by the community due to the fact our primary objective is to make these improvements with little to no interruption in service.