IT News

Solving complex problems: Root cause update July 2016

The Root Cause team in IT is tasked with finding the causes of significant IT issues that affect campus. In this news update we draw your attention to some of the problems being investigated or issues handled recently.

Windows OS computer slowness: Reports were received from Faculty and Staff working on WCU computers running the Windows OS of continued slowness in logging into the systems. These reports started shortly after the System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) software was updated with recent released patches from Microsoft.   This update increased the amount of information that SCEP stores when the application scans the computer, which occurs normally on startup. This scan along with the Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) scan being performed was responsible for the decrease in computer performance.

A group of IT analysts and technicians was created to investigate the issue and charged to find a solution. The team made the decision to adopt SCEP as the standard, supported anti-virus solution for WCU and to retire SEP. The Division of IT is currently working to install SCEP on all Windows computers as well as Macs and to uninstall any remaining instances of SEP. For work-at-home and personal use, Avira anti-virus is provided at no cost to all active faculty, staff and students of WCU.

Single Sign-on Access:  On several occasions, Faculty, Staff and Students reported an error when attempting to log into applications which use Shibboleth application for single sign-on access. These applications include, but are not limited to OU Campus, AlcoholEdu, PeopleAdmin, and UNC Online. The error message: SSO profile is not configured for relying party was displayed when a login attempt was made.

Microsoft plans to release a new version of their single sign-on application, ADFS in July which will offer new features that allow connectivity of ADFS to InCommon and the UNC federation. Only a few WCU systems continue to use the Shibboleth application, and most of our systems use Microsoft’s ADFS. The Division of IT plans to move the remaining systems which use Shibboleth to ADFS in the September 2016 timeframe.

VCAT:  Recurring issues with the virtual environment during the spring semester were caused by multiple issues. Some issues were related to the Horizon 6.2 upgrade during the Data Center updates during the Christmas break. Other issues have been due to lack of storage and hardware failure on aging equipment.

As a result, the Division of IT is working on improving efficiencies within the way we are structuring the environment so that desktops and applications are being served in the best way possible. We have created a comprehensive list of all thin/zero clients on campus and are in the process of selecting a management tool that will allow us to actively see firmware versions and remotely manage these machines. We were able to purchase 3 new servers for the EUC environment and 4 new servers for the Virtualized Data Center. A minor release was installed during the Data Center update in July, and the virtual environment has seen stable performance with the new hardware and software updates.

SQL Server and Reporting ServicesWe received several reports from clients who were unable to access the Banner Report Portal on https://boulder. Clients received the error message: An error occurred within the report server database. This may be due to a connection failure, timeout or low disk condition within the database. (RS report server database error). As a workaround, the SQL Server Services are being restarted each workday, Monday through Friday, at 6:00AM while the SQL team is investigating the cause of the error.

Live Webcam:  We received several reports from clients who were unable to access the live web cam from myWCU. When trying to access the link, clients received an error message stating, “Error loading stream: ID not found on server. It was discovered that the scheduled replacement of networking equipment in Balsam and Blue Ridge had disconnected the streaming server to the webcam. A reconnection to the streaming server quickly resolved the problem.

 

June 1 – June 30, 2016
Global Problems: (Total 12)
Business Systems: 7
Data Storage: 1
PAW Print: 2
Phone Services: 1
VCAT: 1

The Division of IT is committed to adopting a proactive, process-oriented approach to prevent problems before they arise. We will continue to keep you informed on our progress.