IT Services

Nexus SharePoint Service


Status of Document: This is version is 1.0 and is dated 14 July 2011.

1. Introduction

Oxford Nexus provides a suite of software applications to promote collaborative working within groups. The suite includes: email, online calendar, shared documents, web pages, shared contact lists and other collaboration tools. Oxford Nexus is built on the Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint platforms. The Service is available to all staff and students within the collegiate University. The functionality offered via SharePoint is also available to authorised external users.

This Service Level Description (SLD) describes the document repository and collaboration service provided via SharePoint. A separate SLD exists for the Nexus email and calendar service provided via Microsoft Exchange. The SharePoint Service is focused on document sharing and other basic collaboration activities (e.g. group-based calendars, tasks).

1.1. Scope

The intended scope of the service, in summary form, is currently as follows:

1.1.1. Out of scope

The Oxford Nexus SharePoint Service is not currently resourced:

  • as a replacement to file servers or electronic archives and the emphasis of the Service is on documents subject to active collaboration;
  • to replace existing public websites;
  • to manage or be responsible for the configuration of clients (e.g. web browsers) with which the Service is accessed.

2. Summary of OUCS’s responsibilities

2.1. Service availability

2.1.1. Hours of Service

The Service operates as follows:

  • 9am-5pm on working weekdays: the service operates with systems administration support.
  • At all other times the service operates without technical support. Automatic monitoring of the main service elements takes place outside these hours, and informal arrangements exist for staff to be notified of exceptions. However, no funding is provided for contractual cover or guaranteed response.
  • Exclusions: service maintenance may be carried out during the JANET Maintenance Period (7am-9am every Tuesday).
  • Minimal operational cover operates from 0830 to 2030 on working days.

The OUCS help desk service currently operates 0830-2030 Monday-Friday all year round except for bank holidays and Christmas closure (approximately 24th December - 2nd January). Please see the OUCS Help Centre SLD for further details of the Help Centre responsibilities.

If a fault is notified between 0900 and 1700 on a working day, OUCS will commence investigation within one hour (provided that no similar fault is also being handled by the same team).

If a fault is notified outside these hours, OUCS will use reasonable endeavours to rectify the fault, but no funding is allocated to this purpose.

2.1.2. Resilience

The Oxford Nexus hardware is located in two physical locations within the Oxford network. Complete failure at one site should result in failover to the second site with minimal loss of service. Within each site, components such as servers and storage have been deployed with resilience and business continuity in mind.

2.1.3. Backup

The underlying databases are backed-up to the HFS on a daily basis. The backups are intended, as part of the OUCS disaster recovery procedures, to assist in system restore, not for restoring files deleted as a result of user error (restoration of which are undertaken via the chargeable OUCS File Recovery Service, Users are responsible for the offline archiving of data.

2.1.4. Hardware and Software Maintenance

The hardware on which the Oxford Nexus services are hosted is supported by maintenance contracts from the relevant manufacturers. Software updates are provided by the relevant vendor and applied by OUCS. Where possible the JANET Maintenance Period (Tuesdays, 0700-0900) is reserved for maintenance work that may affect service availability. Except in the case of emergency maintenance (e.g. security upgrade), scheduled downtime will be advertised at least a week in advance.

2.2. Service level targets

It is intended, as far as is possible, to maintain service availability at all times apart from exclusions listed under section 2.1. However there are no formal targets.

2.3. Migration from local facilities

Some departments and colleges run their own SharePoint services. No resources have been allocated for OUCS to support migration from a department service to the Nexus Service or for interoperability between Nexus and a department or college SharePoint instance. OUCS may provide advice to departments on a reasonable efforts basis, including an initial assessment of the complexity and likely resources required to undertake any migration. Departments may also propose pilot projects in order to evaluate the potential for Nexus to replace their local SharePoint service. However, OUCS normally requires additional resources in order to assist and support any projects intending to make use of Nexus outside the existing scope of the service. OUCS may assist departments in evaluating the feasibility of any such project and in assessing the additional resources required. Departments seeking a hosting facility for their own SharePoint service should contact NSMS in the first instance.

2.4. Administration information, training and support documentation

An overview of the Oxford Nexus Service is provided at

2.4.1. Documentation and courses

Support documentation for all aspects of the Oxford Nexus SharePoint Service is provided online at (introductory) and more fully from

The OUCS IT Learning Programme (ITLP) provides training for group working as well as training in the most effective use of selected clients (e.g. Outlook, SharePoint Web access).

OUCS will review the content of documentation and courses annually.

2.5. Fault notification

Notification of major faults, service outage etc are circulated to the mailing list and placed on the OUCS Status website.

2.6. Service components

2.6.1. Account management, access and authorisation

Access to the functionality provided by Oxford Nexus SharePoint, including for non-University (external) users, requires Oxford Single Sign-on credentials. The provision of Oxford Single Sign-on credentials is undertaken by the OUCS Registration Service (for SLD see;).

Predefined groups (e.g. by unit affiliation, selected roles) are derived from Active Directory and may be used for scoping access to resources within SharePoint.

2.6.2. Site collection storage quota

Site collections are subject to a quota. This quota is given to the site collection depending on the initial categorisation and is ‘consumed’ by the main site, plus all of the sites grouped within. The quota given to site collections is as follows:

  • My Sites: 2 GB
  • Large Unit Site Collection: 25 GB
  • Other Site Collection: 5 GB

2.6.3. Site provisioning

The process for proposing, allocating and provisioning sites within the core site collections (to support committees, research projects, student societies and My Sites) is fully described within the Oxford Nexus SharePoint Governance Policy. Please note that site provisioning responsibilities may lie with the SharePoint Co-ordinator and Site Owners, and not with OUCS.

In summary, a request for a SharePoint site should be put to the owner of a departmental (or other large unit) Site Collection. These individuals are usually referred to as SharePoint Co-ordinators. If no appropriate Site Collection appears to exist, the request should be put to the OUCS Help Centre, outlining the purposes of the site, the numbers of anticipated users, and anticipated storage required.

Where OUCS has to play a role in site provisioning and where a request for such is received between 0900 and 1700 on a working day, OUCS will endeavour to begin servicing the request within one working day.

2.6.4. Site templates and support expertise

OUCS provides predefined templates for committee sites only (two examples). Other activities have been shown to be best supported by the standard SharePoint team sites. The following sub-sites are also available to all site owners:

  • Meeting workspace (to support specific meeting instances)
  • Document workspace (to support collaborative working on one or more documents; version control may be enabled by the user; the maximum size of any given document uploaded is currently 100 MB)
  • Blog function
  • Wiki function.

Other site types are available, although OUCS has developed documentation and expertise limited largely to the above functions. Due to the broad scope of functions and activities within SharePoint, and the wealth of support documentation available across the world wide web, OUCS direct support should be seen as ‘reasonable efforts’ and users are strongly encouraged to use local IT support, external documentation, and postings on the Oxford Nexus Support Forum as much as possible, in order to solve problems.

The default SharePoint search function is available for all sites.

2.6.5. Client access Client access: generally

OUCS provides support documentation for a range of software clients that may be used to access the Nexus SharePoint service. The specific functionality available depends on the client being used. In general, Web-based access to SharePoint is supported by Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari browsers (on any of Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X, or Linux), and desktop access with Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 (Windows only).

Access to the Oxford Nexus SharePoint Service is available to authenticated users both within and outside the University network.

Public, unauthenticated access to Nexus SharePoint sites is not available.

2.6.6. Site de-provisioning

OUCS is responsible for the removal of inactive sites as per the SharePoint Governance Policy. These include My Sites where an account has been deleted from the Oxford Nexus Active Directory.

2.6.7. Register of SharePoint Co-ordinators

OUCS endeavours to keep current the list of SharePoint Co-ordinators (see below). However, OUCS is reliant upon the SharePoint Co-ordinators themselves for the accuracy of this list.

3. Summary of client’s responsibilities

Clients of the Oxford Nexus SharePoint Service include those engaged in the following roles, which are addressed in this section:

Within SharePoint, users may be allocated one or more roles, including the above, plus Site Collection Administrator, Site Owner, Site Member, and Visitor. The role determines which rights the user has, including the extent to which the user may grant rights to other users.

A site or resource owner may authorise access to a site or resource to anyone holding Oxford Single Sign-on credentials (including staff, students, and virtual access card holders).

3.1. Local IT support

Many aspects of the service are dependent upon client desktop set up. These include, but are not limited to:

Such matters are beyond the scope of OUCS support and local IT assistance should be sought.

3.2. All users

All users of the Oxford Nexus SharePoint Service are responsible for:

3.2.1. Fault reporting

Problems with the Service should be reported to the OUCS Help Centre in the first instance where, if appropriate, the issue will be escalated to the Oxford Nexus Service team for specialist diagnostics and advice.

3.3. SharePoint Co-ordinators and Site Collection Administrators

Each Site Collection associated with major unit of the collegiate University, as defined in the PRAS organisational chart (see must have one or more individuals taking the role of SharePoint Co-ordinator for that unit. Owners/Administrators of ‘other’ Site Collections have similar responsibilities. These include:

Further guidance is given in the Guide for SharePoint Co-ordinators document. The above list is broad and encompasses a variety of skills and responsibilities. Thus, it is appropriate and desirable that the role of SharePoint Co-ordinator is shared amongst a group of individuals for each site collection.

3.4. Site owners

Site owners, including the owners of My Sites, are responsible for:

3.5. Sponsors of external users

Site Owners, SharePoint Co-ordinators and Site Collection Administrators can request that an individual, external to the University, be given access to Oxford Nexus SharePoint. The method of access/request is outlined in the SharePoint Governance Policy. The sponsor of the external member is responsible for:

Note that some sites within Oxford Nexus SharePoint are set to allow access to ‘any authenticated user’. External users will have the same access to such sites, and their content, as most Oxford University members.

4. Premium services

None apply at present. A policy of charging for storage quota increases may be introduced in future.