General Computing Network
Information Technology Services (ITS) has completed the project that migrated the campus to the General Computing Network (GCN). Through this project, ITS was able to advance three overarching goals:
- service (to students, faculty, and staff)
- sustainability (financial, technological)
- security (including legal compliance)
Faculty and staff now have:
- a campus computing environment that is easier to navigate and use, and more stable
- improved mobility, including the ability to move computers with wired connections from one location to another across the campus without technical staff intervention, and seamless connectivity and functionality between the wired and wireless networks
- reduced personal responsibility for ensuring that computers are in compliance with University computing and data security standards
- less time loss due to technology failures in campus offices, labs, and classrooms
Departmental technical staff now have:
- the ability to fully administer departmental environments that are integrated with and able to leverage enterprise ITS services and infrastructure
- availability of new tools that provide essential functionality with a minimal footprint that can be customized by departmental technical staff to meet department-specific needs
- increased availability of ITS resources for on-demand support for departmental applications
Consolidation of services onto a single enterprise server platform (Windows) has enabled ITS to offer better services and support at a reduced cost.
Eliminating the Novell enterprise platform has reduced hardware and software costs, and annual institutional maintenance payments. ITS staff are now available to address campus needs as part of the Windows team. The GCN project has permitted elimination of almost all Novell costs, and we anticipate the complete elimination of Novell at the end of another project (Identity Management).
Other UNC System schools facing the same challenges have migrated or will migrate from dual enterprise platforms to Windows-based Microsoft Active Directory service delivery:
- UNC-CH - Central IT migration project from Novell to Active Directory started in 2009.
- NCSU - Developing Novell to Active Directory migration strategies to be completed by Spring 2010. IT labs will be migrated to Active Directory in Fall 2009.
- UNCC - Paid external vendor to complete campus Novell to Active Directory migration in 2009.
- ECU & UNCW - Consolidated into single, campus-wide Active Directory domain in the late 1990's.
Implementation of the GCN provides faculty and staff with improved security protection, while remaining open and flexible enough to retain functionality that faculty and staff need to do their jobs effectively. (Additional security for some workstation users will come from a follow-on project called the Enhanced Security Network.)
Faculty and staff with workstations in the GCN environment have private network addresses that make them less vulnerable to attack from other computers on the Internet. They also have automated desktop management for workstation system administration tasks such as patching, antivirus, and firewall management. These will reduce productivity loss due to downtime resulting from computer compromise or corruption.