Project underway to update UO data center infrastructure

Information Services is partway into a yearlong project to upgrade computing and network infrastructure in the University of Oregon's data centers.

The project will replace all hardware and software for an on-campus hosting service known as UOCloud, which hosts hundreds of other UO technologies, from high-profile services such as DuckWeb and Shibboleth single sign-on to unique services used by individual UO units. The project also will move the back-end components for storage, backups and other essential purposes to a new network.

“This infrastructure is foundational to enabling the mission and day-to-day operations of the university,” said Christy Long, associate chief information officer for technology infrastructure. “We’re not only refreshing critical IT infrastructure, we’re also modernizing how we deliver those technologies to improve our agility and scalability, and to better manage and maintain those services in the future.”

The project aims to transition all UOCloud-hosted services to the new infrastructure by the end of November. The variety of affected services, comprising more than 2,000 technology components, translates into a great deal of complexity, requiring coordination with dozens of service owners and managers throughout the university.

Many services will experience some downtime during their transitions to the new hardware. Otherwise, services should continue to function as usual.

Whenever possible, the project team aims to minimize effects on university operations, scheduling downtime for early morning hours and existing maintenance windows. However, some service impacts may be noticeable.

For example, Information Services set a nine-hour overnight maintenance window May 12-13 to complete the first step of the UOCloud transitions for DuckWeb, Banner, AppWorx and University Housing's dining point-of-sale system. (Ultimately, the services were unavailable for just over four hours.) Each of those services will experience another round of downtime this summer when their databases are transitioned to the new hardware.

Later this summer, an array of UO services may be unavailable when the back-end technology components are moved to their new network.

Details about upcoming service outages will be posted on the IT Service Status website. Significant outages also may be announced in Around the O.

The new infrastructure offers more automation and self-service options for those who interact directly with UOCloud. For example, the platform offers easier setup for virtual servers and the option of automatically giving servers more storage when they near capacity.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to improve our service delivery and management through increased infrastructure insights and automation.” said Barry Peterson, director of enterprise systems. “Modernization of the UOCloud platform will enable us offer improved services to the university.”

Anyone with questions can contact the Technology Service Desk by phone at 541-346-4357, by live chat or through the UO Service Portal.

—By Nancy Novitski, University Communications