1. Title of Service: The Registration Service

Status of Document: This document describes services offered in June 2011.

2. Introduction

Registration Service comprises 5 main activities

  1. Hardware: a web server (maintained by Infrastructure Systems and Services Group) and a database server ( maintained by the HFS group).
  2. Front of house: registration specialists in the Help Centre.
  3. Database-centred data management: direct database operations, data import and export, manual and automated operations. Activities which are difficult to put into an application or are in development. Management of most units email addresses.
  4. Application development: and application maintenance for users, ITSS and internal staff. Functionality is described in 'Overview of Services'.
  5. Specialized functions: negotiations with other University groups and long term planning eg identity management, grouping, mail domain management

3. Summary of OUCS's responsibilities

3.1. Hours of Service

  1. Hardware: the expectation is that it is available 24x7. However if there is a problem the service might not be available for 24 hours. If a fault is notified between 09:00 and 17:00 on a working day, OUCS will commence investigation and correction within one hour (provided that no similar fault is also being handled by the same team).
  2. Front of house: The expectation is that it will be available between 09:00 and 17:00 on a working day
  3. Data management: This is on a ' best endeavours' basis
  4. Application development: This is on a ' best endeavours' basis
  5. Specialized functions: This is on a ' best endeavours' basis

3.2. Serviceability Targets

Hardware: It is intended, as far as is possible, to maintain service of all components at all times.

Front of house:
  • We aim to reply to a email query within 1 working day
  • We aim to reply to a query identified as from ITSS: within 4 working hours.

3.3. Overview of Service

3.3.1. Front of house

3.3.1.1. Help Centre Services
These services are available during Help Centre opening hours (08:30 - 20:30). Help Centre staff can:
  • Correct OUCS records if a completion date or date of birth is not correct (these errors could prevent people from using self-registration services)
  • Provide a rescue code when a password and the security question's answer has been forgotten.
  • Provide a new activation code when new account details have not been received
  • Help users with the web-based services
These will be done as quickly as possible subject to staff availability. Issued codes will be effective immediately. Priority will be given to personal callers.
Users in the Help Centre can:
  • Self-register for an account on the Help Centre Network
These services are available throughout opening hours unless there is an equipment failure.
3.3.1.2. Specialist Registration Services - Help Area
Registration specialists will usually be available via the Help Centre between 08:30 and 16:30. In most cases, requests can be submitted by email (direct or via an IT Officer) and these will usually be processed within one working day. The following services need specialist attention:
  • Change of email name and/or personal name
  • Additional departmental/college email addresses for a person
  • Change of routing for an email address
  • Addition of generic email addresses for a department/college
  • Student Club and Society registration or renewal for use of email and web facilities
  • Registration of new accounts in person (if it is not convenient to receive printed details at the college/dept address).
  • Requests for non-personal OUCS accounts
  • Nexus accounts: setting quota up to 3GB, visibility in GAL, changing sender address and display name, forwarding, delegation :full and send as, 'keep mail on nexus' - for units whose mail is not handled by OUCS.
  • Web accounts: set quota
  • Setting ex-directory for email address on the University Contact page- the unit head needs to request it if it is the only address.
  • Discretionary extension of expiring accounts
  • ITSS register - registration, maintenance, deletion
  • EZMLM Mailing list creation, update, deletion, advice

3.3.2. Web-based services for all

Users can obtain the following services through their web browser from any location and at any time when the Registration server is operational. User identify themselves with their Oxford username and password:
  • View expiry date of SSO password
  • Create/manage, view expiry date for password for remote access
  • Set, update or view Nexus mailbox settings (spam filter, preferred address, forwarding, usage, information)
  • Register workstations for TSM backup and manage existing TSM entries, reset TSM passwords
  • See a list of their usernames, email addresses, and where their email is routed
  • Register for and download Sophos, VPN and other software
  • Register an alternative email address
  • Register a machine for Wake-on-LAN (WOL)
Some of these operations are queued - see under 'Automated Services' for timings.

3.3.3. Web-based services for ITSS

ITSS (registered IT Support Staff) can via https://register.it.ox.ac.uk/itss/index/

  • View and download centrally held data about their users
  • View privileged information about- the ITSS Register, university card data for their unit

ITSS from registered units can

  • View/set mail routings for their users
  • View and update the routings for generic email addresses
  • Issue Activation or Rescue code for SSO accounts of their users
  • Request 'charged for' quota for their users.
  • Register groups of machine for WOL
  • Register servers for TSM backup
  • Register a land line or mobile phone number
  • Register for ITSS Workshops and Conferences
  • Download software restricted to ITSS

3.3.4. Automated Registration Services

  • University Card based.
    • Creation of new Oxford single sign-on identity. A registration letter will usually be sent out by the morning messenger on the next working day after creation of the University Card.
    • Update of email addresses when a card changes. This will normally be completed before noon on the next working day after the card is updated.
    • Exceptions - if there is a clash of email name or other identification problem, there may be a further delay of typically half to one day (we may need to check outside OUCS).
  • Time-based.
    • Daily. Data listings will be produced for IT Support Staff, Oxford Student System, Library, Weblearn and various projects.
    • Daily: Automatic mail list creation from database data - e.g. itss-announce and discuss, spss users
    • Three-hourly 0700 to 1900, plus 0100. Mail routing data will be transferred from the database to the live email system.
    • Half-hourly. Transfer of queued Remote Access self-registration requests to live system..
    • Immediately. TSM registrations and password changes requested via self-registration.

3.3.5. Specialist Registration Services - back office

OUCS Registration will deal with these as quickly as possible subject to overall commitments but cannot usually guarantee any specific time scales due to the involvement of external personnel.

  1. Disciplinary matters or suspicious death of an active user. Registration can give limited advice and the matter will have to be referred to the "appropriate authority" as per ICTC Regulations 17(5) for action.
  2. Non-suspicious death, or need to access a personal account whose owner has left. OUCS needs confirmation from Head of House/Department level or equivalent to give delegate access to a mailbox.
  3. Allocation of a new top-level (www.xxxxxx.ox.ac.uk) web address. This involves confirmation from the head of the parent department that the new activity meets specified criteria. In less simple cases, a Divisional secretary or Faculty Board chairman may need to be contacted. It may take several days for the Registration Manager make the necessary consultations.
  4. Discretionary extension of web quotas
  5. Advice on major web sites. People sometimes have quite complicated scenarios and the Registration Manager can advise on possible choices of external and internal facilities.
  6. Management of hosting of external email domains and addresses eg osswatch, ucisa
  7. Creation of email domains for new units of University and winding down domains which are no longer University units.
  8. Liaising with Proctors, Sports Federation, Student Records, Central Administration, Libraries on data issues.
  9. Reconcile database to current state of Nexus, TSM, Payroll, University Card, Register of Congregation, Student Records
  10. Email address repository for the University by adding email addresses from units for whom OUCS do not route mail eg physics
  11. Mass mailings related to OUCS services - eg winding down dialin service, @herald as an email address
  12. Mass mailings for Central Departments which cant be done by other means.

3.4. Resilience

Hardware

  • Stand-by hardware is available, although of slightly lower capacity. In the event of major system failure we would expect to be able to restore service to the web server within 1 working day and to the database server within 2 working days.
  • Software items are held in an external file management repository.
  • Copies of the data and other files are held on the backup server and the HFS (daily), off site (weekly) and in a fire safe (monthly)

Front of House

  • Authorization to enable more people to handle specialized registration queries has recently been extended to the Help Centre Managers and members of ITS3 in order to improve resilience in this area.

Data management

  • This is current handled by 2 people.

Application development

  • This is current handled by 1 person.

Specialized negotiations

  • This is current handled by parts of 1 person.

3.5. Alternative Facilities

It would be possible for Data consumers to work with their existing data for approx 24/48 hours before it will become increasingly difficult for the University to function, e.g. no new accounts generated and no changes to email routings.

3.6. Hardware and Software Maintenance

The machines used are maintained under warranty by the supplier.

Software updates are applied by OUCS staff - this is done with the minimum of interruption to service.

3.7. System Development

There is no scheduled development time where machines will be out of service

3.8. Administration and Support

Support via email. Queries to standard OUCS support address registration@oucs.ox.ac.uk are automatically routed to the OUCS RT (Request Tracker) system with an automatic acknowledgement being sent to the user. All OUCS Registration staff can contribute to the handling of RT requests.

Specialist database requests are moved to the RT queue 'database'.

3.9. Education and Training

  • We use mailing lists itss-announce and itss-discuss to contact IT support staff
  • We can use mailing lists such as 'spss-users' to mail to specific groups users.
  • We give talks to new IT support staff and yearly to all IT support staff via ITS3
  • Direct mailing to users - on account expiry, email address expiry, winding down of Oxford email addresses
  • News items - are put on Oxitems for both OUCS front page and internal communications.
  • Web pages are maintained to describe the facilities, the processes and plans.

4. Summary of Client's responsibilities

  • Abide by University Regulations for Use of Information Technology Facilities.
  • Follow OUCS guidelines regarding passwords.
  • Keep University Card current - reflecting as closely as possible their relationship to the Collegiate University

5. Premium services

Registration can provide a mass mailing facility for a fee as long as the mailing is approved by SMG of OUCS. Application is made via registration@oucs.ox.ac.uk.