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Optimizing Computing Infrastructure: Weighing Factors and Identifying Solutions

ACTI-OCI Working Group

Stephen Glowacki (Oakland University) Robin Ying (Tidewater Community College)
April 16, 2013 St. Louis, MO

ACTI-OCI Working Group Mission

The ACTI-OCI group was created in recognition of the increasing demand for centralized efficiency and economy in higher education, and the growing consolidation of IT infrastructure and services as a means of achieving that goal.
The group looks to develop methodologies, recommendations, best practices, and other materials intended to guide campuses looking to consolidate their IT infrastructure.

ACTI-OCI Working Group: Goals

Develop an optimization tool to help IT projects in their early planning stages.

Provide a framework so one can ultimately select a solution that best meets the project needs. Achieve optimization by balancing a set of architectural factors among competing constraints.

12 Architectural Factors

12 Architectural Factors: Affordable

Value: Affordable
The Affordable value addresses resource expenditure of a projectfinancial, operational, or supportcollectively referred to as cost. Overall cost of technology to an institution often grows over time, but strategic decisions can reduce the rate of growth of that cost. Affordability can be affected by operational or capital expense, time, psychological drain, or other resources; it is an accounting value.

Long-Term Savings Short-Term Savings Cost Growth Reduction

12 Architectural Factors: Appropriate

Value: Appropriate
The Appropriate value concerns suitability to purpose and the degree of respect or interoperability with other systems. It gauges the aptitude of a solution to the problem it is intended to solve, with respect to the context or environment that it operates in. Appropriateness can be measured by how well a proposed solution matches with organizational needs; it is an external alignment value.

Data Security Usability Integration

12 Architectural Factors: Effective

Value: Effective
The Effective value measures how completely a solution addresses its problem and/or use cases. It is an internal alignment value.

Extensibility Performance


12 Architectural Factors

In addition to those clustered factors, three further factors fall between the three value triangle points and therefore can be affected by multiple values:

Disaster Recoverability Project Schedule

Limitation of Liability

Using the Optimization Tool

The Optimization Tool can be used in two different ways:
1. To weight the various factors and their impact on the project to help identify top project priorities. 2. To gauge how well the potential solutions fit the requirements, if adjustments need to be made, and compare the potential solutions to each other.

Rating the Factors Table

Value Factor Data Security Affordable Usability Integration Limitation of Liability Score Rationale

Data Security
Appropriate Usability Integration Disaster Recoverability Features Effective Performance Extensibility Project Schedule

Rating the Factors An Example

Value Factor Long-term Savings Score Rationale The current environment would require significant capital investment to bring it up to appropriate levels, both in the short term and the long term. Licensing costs would also increase dramatically. The current vendor has long-term growth capability but only with additional funding. Limitation of liability does not necessarily change or play a role in this review. The security of the system is such that no encryption exists, but e-mail is secured based on login, which meets most user requirements. Most users find the existing system a bit aged and not very adaptive. The largest number and volume of complaints exist around the extremely limited amount of available space within the system. The existing system integrates well with existing authentication mechanisms.


Short-term Savings

Cost Growth Reduction

Limitation of Liability

Data Security

Appropriate Usability 2


Rating the Factors (continued)

Value Factor Score Rationale The system would require vendor replacement parts and a restoration process, which could be significant in duration to meet data recoverability needs. This feature needs improvement in the next iteration. The existing product functions but is slow to add features and is currently suffering from performance issues multiple times per week. The product has significant issues when synchronizing with different types of phones and other mobile devices.

Disaster Recoverability




Extensibility The project schedule is being driven by both the requests for massive increases in space and that the existing system has reached is capacity (and showing signs of being overburdened).

Project Schedule

ACTI-OCI Working Group Report

Questions ?