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In order to be in step with Microsoft’s new servicing model for the Windows 10 network operating system, the Vanderbilt Managed Desktop Program (VMDP) has pushed automated updates to all Windows 10 systems with a release date of November 2015 or earlier.

To remain current with all of Microsoft’s updates, VMDP will begin making updates available to its managed workstations immediately after their release and upon being vetted by departmental testers.

The Vanderbilt Managed Desktop Program (VMDP) gathered, delivered and set up 20 computers and other peripherals for the SkyVU hands-on training center and the SkyVU Support Center in December 2017. This equipment was essential for facilitating both the Oracle Cloud implementation and support after go-live.

In December 2017, Desktop Engineering upgraded its instance of Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) to the latest release. SCCM is one of the key tools used by the Vanderbilt Managed Desktop Support Program and Distributed Technology Services to manage Windows desktop and laptop computers across campus.

This upgrade will give VUIT the ability to deploy and support new features in Windows 10, version 1709. These features focus primarily on the security aspect of Windows, known as Windows Defender, and include new controls, such as Exploit Guard, Device Guard, Application Guard, the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit and more.

In preparation for Oracle Cloud’s go-live in January 2018, End User Services collaborated with the SkyVU team, Network Operations, the Vanderbilt Managed Desktop Program and other university stakeholders to assemble and deploy 29 devices that now function as time clocks for approximately 500 union employees across the university.

These new time clocks went into effect Dec. 25 to replace the Kronos time clocks for the university’s union employees. Medical Center’s union staff will continue to use the existing Kronos time clocks.

In December 2017, the Desktop Engineering team configured, deployed and began managing more than 100 iPads with AirWatch for customers in the Child and Family Center and in the Office of Health Sciences Education (OHSE).

The childcare facilities will use the iPads to track the care of children and to provide pictures and details of fun activities, and the OHSE will use its iPads for educational purposes in the gross anatomy lab.

Network Services deployed a new emergency phone tower in the new parking lot on Broadway, where Corner Pub used to be, in November 2017. The new tower is the first of its kind to be connected to the campus network via fiber optic cables and the first to house a ruggedized network switch.

The switch currently supports a security camera and a VoIP emergency phone. In addition, this switch will provide network service and PoE (Power over Ethernet) to other devices in the future.

In November 2017, Network Services worked with VUPD to install network infrastructure to support security camera additions. As part of this project, the team installed a new switch above the catwalk in Memorial Gym and new outdoor cameras to cover Dudley Field and the adjacent buildings. By enhancing security coverage in these areas, the police are able to provide improved protection for the community during all events at Dudley Field.

In October 2017, Network Security collaborated with Hosting Services and Network Services to deploy a university-only virtual private network (VPN). The university community is now utilizing this solution to access the network remotely. Because of Network Security’s attention to design, planning, and testing, the cutover from the VPN shared with the Medical Center to the university-only solution went smoothly, and customers did not experience any disruption to service.

In fall 2017, VUIT’s Relationship Management team attended the School of Medicine Resource Fair, which was sponsored by the Office of Faculty Affairs. VUIT’s table was one of 29, and team members handed out fliers on how users can protect themselves against phishing. When speaking with VU and VUMC community members, the Relationship Management team cited that the most frequently asked questions pertained to phishing and file sharing with The fair was a great opportunity for VUIT representatives to interact with faculty and staff and to support other Vanderbilt service providers.

In August 2017, Network Services provided network connections used to support multimedia experiences for the “Dores in the Dark: Solar Eclipse 2017” event on Alumni Lawn and for the “Solar Eclipse Experience” on the Commons Lawn. The team also provided a wired network connection to support a NASA Space Grant Ballooning Project conducted by the School of Engineering. The connection was used to support two high-altitude weather balloon launches from the Highland garage rooftop to the edge of space in order to livestream the eclipse.

In August 2017, Network Services upgraded redundant links between all network switches within the Baker Building to 10G. This upgrade greatly increases the bandwidth and data transfer capabilities within the building and out to the broader campus network.

In September 2017, Network Services worked with VUIT’s Relationship Management team, VUIT’s Network Security team, VU Athletics, and ESPN to set up the necessary telephone and network connectivity for multiple broadcast events, including the pre-game broadcast of “SEC Nation” from the Commons Lawn. This initiative involved the creation of a dedicated fiber optic communications path extending from Memorial Gym to the ESPN trucks near the Hill Center. VUIT also extended seven analog phone lines and a back-up connection to the trucks in support of the events for ESPN to communicate through the internet with their headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

VUIT Security Operations partnered with the Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA), Export Control, Audit, Risk and Advisory Services, and the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) to support the Institute for Software Integrated Systems' (ISIS) work towards NIST 800-171 compliance and to secure a $1 million contract. To receive the contract funds, ISIS had to be compliant with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by Dec. 31, 2017.

This effort required the implementation of technical security controls, a system security plan to capture the details of the environment, and creation of policies and procedures that govern the use of the controlled unclassified information (CUI) system. Additionally, Security Operations provided ISIS with a secured environment, consultation, and security training. This training included system access best practices and the overall management of controlled unclassified information (CUI). Along with producing the environment and providing security training, there were some additional requirements for the Security Operations' team surrounding access control, auditing, and monitoring the safeguard of CUI data.

After the data center fire in the Hill Center in March 2016, Data Center Services created a project to combat potential corrosion that could have contaminated research servers. During the fire, the building's fire suppression system deposited a substance on the servers that could have corroded them in the future. If these servers had become damaged due to corrosion, the team would not have been able to place such servers and devices under a support contract.

Throughout this project, more than 1,300 devices and servers were removed from service, cleaned, tested, and entered back into production. This effort required continuous coordination and communication between VUIT and the university’s research community.

As of July 2017, Data Center Services’ Operations Center and Facilities teams have made substantial progress in the Hill Hardening project. Data Center Services started this project in March 2016 to ensure that the university had its own reliable and resilient data center after its legal separation from the Medical Center. As a result, the team identified and eliminated many single points of failure in the Hill Data Center's power and cooling infrastructure. 

As part of this project, the team installed a standalone chilled water system with auto controls to fail over to the campus chiller loop (chilled water is a more efficient way to cool data centers). In addition, there is now complete visibility into the data center’s critical components via enterprise monitoring that was established during the project.

More than 100 people from various vendors were involved, and the Data Center Services’ Operations and Facilities teams monitored access, ensured work area containment, and reviewed and coordinated electrical, mechanical, and network outages to ensure minimal impact to customers. 

Network Services worked with ESPN and Vanderbilt Athletics to provide voice and data connectivity to the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center for the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships held Feb. 24-25, 2017. This marked the first time that Vanderbilt has hosted an SEC Indoor Track and Field Championship.

Working closely with partners in Vanderbilt University Public Safety (VUPS), End User Services' Desktop Engineering team deployed thin clients to three different Law Enforcement System (which is a department within VUPS) locations in March 2017. These thin clients include monitors, keyboards and mice that are connected to servers in the Hill Data Center.

These workstations leverage VUIT's new virtual desktop infrastructure to provide a consistent, highly managed and more cost-effective computing experience for officers working in the emergency departments at Vanderbilt University Hospital and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and the entrances at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks.

Additionally, the team is collaborating with library support personnel to migrate the Central Library's public workstations to a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as of April 2017. This migration will reduce field maintenance, centralize support, and simplify patching and software deployments. When completed later this fall, more than 90 public workstations and kiosks will be migrated to the VDI platform.

As of May 2017, Network Services has migrated 182 Lync and NEC Internet Protocol (IP) phones to the university’s IP space in the School of Nursing’s Frist and Godchaux Halls. This is a notable milestone in the larger building realignment effort.

This building realignment project refers to the migration of both the physical infrastructure (e.g., routers, network switches, access points, UPS, associated fiber optic and uplink circuits) and logical IP networks from the Medical Center to the university, or vice versa. This migration of IP networks is very manual and involves a significant amount of planning and coordination since reconfiguration of both network equipment and endpoint devices (e.g., servers, cameras and building control devices) is required. The building realignment project is a Transition Management Office (TMO) initiative and is a joint effort between VUIT and VUMC IT. 

In March 2017, Network Services migrated all network service and infrastructure for Development and Alumni Relations’ Special Events team at 2147 Belcourt from the Medical Center network to the university network. This migration included an upgrade to both wired and wireless hardware to provide increased bandwidth and performance.

In January 2017, Distributed Technology Services upgraded the AV/presentation systems in multiple Hill Center meeting and conference rooms, including 221, 238, 175, 173, and 182, to support new digital connectivity and displays.

Each room is equipped with widescreen projection screens to allow for easier viewing. Additionally, conference rooms 221 and 238 now feature laser projection to support immediate room startup in order for meetings to begin more efficiently in these heavily utilized spaces, and the touchscreen interface in Hill Center’s room 238 delivers the same ease-of-use found in the majority of classrooms on campus.

In February 2017, Vanderbilt IT teams from Network Services, Enterprise Service Delivery, Data Network, and Relationship Management worked together to successfully resolve an issue that Vanderbilt University Public Safety (VUPS) was experiencing with its emergency phone system.

While researching the issue, VUIT realized that VUPS had not been fully utilizing its emergency 911 phone line capacity. On Feb. 10, VUIT successfully updated the emergency phones in VUPS’ communications center to create a total of seven emergency 911 lines and seven non-emergency lines. During this phone modification, the teams also rearranged the lines in order for dispatchers to clearly differentiate which calls are on 911 lines and which calls are on non-emergency lines at each VUPD dispatch station.

This upgrade greatly reduces the risk of a caller not connecting to 911. Additionally, with the ability to clearly detect 911 lines, dispatchers are now better able to respond to emergency calls and meet federal compliance guidelines.

VUIT Network Services successfully upgraded the voice network to a new software version on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, at 4 a.m. in order to keep the network on a current and supported software package. This upgrade, which affected 30,777 extensions, included replacement of redundant central processing units (CPUs) in 12 of the 19 nodes, as well as feature improvements and bug fixes.

The voice network is composed of 19 private branch exchange (PBX) network nodes that provide telephony services to the university and the Medical Center.

In the first few months of 2017, Voice and Data Services upgraded Plant Operations’ 12 D-Term Series E phones to Skype for Business (Lync) phones, disconnected seven additional phones within Plant Operations’ facilities, and upgraded 33 D-Term phones to Lync phones within the Division of Public Affairs. These upgrades are a part of an initiative to move the entire university to Skype for Business Online.