Computer systems infrastructure outdated

Sarahy Lopez, News Editor

The computer system in the infrastructure is outdated, unstable, and out of warranty, according to Chief Information Officer Sam Kann. “And it would take weeks for recovery in the event of a failure, and would affect students and faculty life,” he said.

While the computer infrastructure changes are minimal,  important changes are being made to the IT infrastructure, network switches, firewall, and datacenter battery according to Kann. “The capital request for the IT infrastructure and systems modernization … was close to $1 million,” Sam Kann said in an email.

The expenditure will not impact the school negatively. It would position the university with the current technology trends and make technology solutions easy to access.

“Some of the critical needs at hand involves data center battery backup… in this case, it is out of warranty,” Kann said during the Board of Trustees meeting. “If we have a power failure, the datacenter battery helps us to bring our system down gracefully. Since it’s out of warranty if something happens to that particular battery system we won’t have any support.”

The discrepancies do not stop there. The network switch which allows the school to connect to other campuses is out of warranty, the firewall which protects from virus attacks and other dangers are not in warranty, server infrastructure which houses the primary administrative technology that is used at NEIU, is also out of warranty. This impacts moving forward with updating to newer technological systems. A datacenter failure would also mean a downtime, meaning that a simple switch to come back online is not an option.

Kann and his team plan to move datacenter applications into a Cloud computing environment and implementing a stabilization project which allows access to technology from remote locations for students and faculty.

Plans for modernization and stabilization of datacenter and network infrastructure upgrades are in progress, and Kann and his team plan to design and implement offsite Cloud services.

“With the current framework that we have here, we have taken measures to protect data, to protect us from any attacks. But, these technologies continue to evolve the way they attack a datacenter or applications and based on a lot of the unsupported products that we have here has an impact,” Kann said from a data security standpoint. “It’s only going to get worse if we don’t resolve what is at hand.”

The university’s previous CIO left about two and a half years ago, with Kann only starting his position about seven months ago. When Kann took his job as CIO, the expiration of the warranties in question was already in progress.

“We have seen this approaching at the same time when we have been walking through the financial impasse and attempting to preserve cash in order to keep the lights on and the doors open,” Vice President of Finance Michael Pierick said. “If we had not had the financial impasse  we would’ve made this investment a couple years ago, easily.”