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).
- Anyone holding valid Oxford Single Sign-on (SSO) credentials is entitled to access the SharePoint service and resources to which they are separately authorised.
- A focus on serving four distinct types of activities:
- My Sites: Personal intranet sites to enable sharing of documents and other forms of collaboration.
- Committees: to support typical committee workflows, including meeting scheduling and document sharing.
- Research: to support collaborative research activities, including formal and informal collaboration.
- Clubs and Societies: to supporting the internal management of student clubs and other approved University societies.
- Devolved site provisioning and quota allocation to Site Collections to enable the efficient creation, management and deletion of sites within each of the core site collections.
- 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.
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.
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, http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/services/recovery.xml). Users are responsible for the offline archiving of data.
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.
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.
An overview of the Oxford Nexus Service is provided at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/nexus/.
Support documentation for all aspects of the Oxford Nexus SharePoint Service is provided online at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/nexus/ (introductory) and more fully from https://sharepoint.nexus.ox.ac.uk/support.
Notification of major faults, service outage etc are circulated to the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list and placed on the OUCS Status website.
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 http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/internal/sld/registration.xml;).
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:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
- General network access
- Opening of documents in client software (e.g. Microsoft Word)
- Interfaces with other client software (e.g. Groove, Filamente, Shareplus, Microsoft Outlook)
- Local storage of documents in ‘SharePoint Drafts’ folders
- Local archival of documents
- Reporting, in a timely manner, any fault which becomes apparent
- Complying with the University Regulations Relating to the use of Information Technology Facilities (see http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/statutes/regulations/196-052.shtml)
- Operating within the Guidelines for Acceptable Use of the SharePoint Service
Each Site Collection associated with major unit of the collegiate University, as defined in the PRAS organisational chart (see http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/pras/uniorg/) 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:
- Management of the ‘top level’ or ‘root’ site of the site collection
- Creation of sites within the Site Collection
- Managing the permissions for user access to the root site of the Site Collection and, where necessary, to the sites beneath the root site
- Preventing unauthorised access to materials
- Removing content and sites where no longer active or required
- Complying with the University Regulations Relating to the use of Information Technology Facilities (see http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/statutes/regulations/196-052.shtml), especially regarding the clauses within ‘Examining Users' Data’
- Managing the storage demands of the Site Collection under the quota assigned to it
- Notifying OUCS when the roles of SharePoint Co-ordinator or Site Collection Owner or Site Collection Administrator is relinquished and supplying the name of the replacement
- Point of contact for user support within the site collection
- Participating in, or coordinating the unit's response to, any evaluation of the service; and generally providing feedback to OUCS on the quality of service and suggestions for future enhancements.
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.
- Maintenance of the assigned site(s)
- Creation and maintenance of any sub-sites
- Managing the permissions for user access to the site where these are required to be different from the Site Collection to which the site belongs
- N.B. Note that the Shared Documents area of a My Site is open to all authenticated users, but that these permissions can be easily changed by the owner of the site
- Removing content and sites where they are no longer active
- Archival or deletion of old or inactive material, especially when requested by the SharePoint Co-ordinator or Site Collection Administrator
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:
- Ensuring that the external member is aware that s/he should comply with the University Regulations Relating to the use of Information Technology Facilities (see http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/statutes/regulations/196-052.shtml)
- Ensuring that the external member has appropriate access to the document library or site which prompted the membership request in the first instance
- Informing OUCS when the external member no longer has need to access Oxford Nexus SharePoint
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.