When properly exploited, a server provides significant gains in the efficiency of management of client workstations, considerably reducing the amount of technical support required. Many of these efficiency gains result from the implementation of Directory Services (e.g. Active Directory for Windows) with centralised policy-based management of workstations. The efficiency gains come, for example, from the reduction in effort required to deploy and maintain application software and printers on a large number of workstations. The management effort is concentrated on the server and the workstation setups remain very stable. Exploitation of Directory Services also enables remote management of servers and workstations thereby reducing the number of site visits required.
Servers can also provide centralised services such as virus checking and daily backups to the Hierarchical File Servers at OUCS, as well as central management of distributed network based services such as printers.
Our services range from the provision of a shared file storage facility for smaller University Departments and units through to comprehensive management of Windows, and Macintosh servers. Servers managed by NSMS can be located locally in your department, or hosted centrally at OUCS using our VMware ESX/SAN technology.
Our primary focus is the security and stability of the server. It is the central point of data storage and therefore a critical part of a unit's IT infrastructure. Server downtime is radically reduced through a combination of adequate hardware redundancy, software vulnerability patching and comprehensive monitoring systems.
Our premium level of service is the “Comprehensive Agreement”. This annual agreement offers full cover for your server, from account management and security patching, all the way through to disaster recovery in the event of hardware failure or software corruption and the installation and configuration of a new server when the current server reaches end of life. If required, servers can be registered under OUCS’s Server Maintenance Agreement which guarantees a four hour response in the event of any hardware problem or failure.
Our second level of service is the “Monitoring Agreement”. Under this option, we will install our own scripts which are designed to alert us to any problems with your server. The scripts also monitor logs from anti-virus and backup software to bring any problems to our attention. Under this agreement we will notify you with our recommendations to rectify any potential problems that arise but any work will be charged at our standard hourly rate.
- All the features of the Monitoring Agreement as described above plus the following:
- Installation of new servers and upgrades to existing servers
- Directory service integration providing policy-based management of workstations
- Account creation and management
- Application software deployment to workstations
- Management of printers & printer accounting
- Data restores
- Disaster recovery
- Full on-site and phone support
For current charging information for this service see our Server Management charges page.
NSMS were asked by the Department of Pharmacology to assist in the upgrade and subsequent management of their Windows domain. In conjunction with the local IT staff, NSMS planned and implemented a strategy to upgrade the domain to a Windows 2000 Active Directory forest, migrating the Exchange setup to the (then) latest version and replacing the hardware of the most significant machines.
The number of servers was consolidated from four to two servers, with a minimum of disruption to the departmental staff. With the upgrade completed, the two servers were placed under monitoring contracts with NSMS, freeing up the time of the local IT staff and enabling them to deal with local support issues more effectively.