Invest to Lead: Keeping Up with Technology Challenges Is Enough to Keep Any IT Director Busy, but Wesleyan's John Meerts Sees Cutting Edge Opportunities for Small to Midsize Colleges-Especially His. (IT Infrastructure)

By Goral, Tim | University Business, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Invest to Lead: Keeping Up with Technology Challenges Is Enough to Keep Any IT Director Busy, but Wesleyan's John Meerts Sees Cutting Edge Opportunities for Small to Midsize Colleges-Especially His. (IT Infrastructure)


Goral, Tim, University Business


As a small 3,000-student liberal arts school in Middletown, CT, Wesleyan University faces tough competition from much larger schools in the area. But with an infrastructure designed to grow and adapt to the school's changing needs--and a supportive administration--John Meerts, director of ITS, believes Wesleyan can get an edge on those schools. An "extensible" five-year plan is part of his vision

UB: Like many schools these days, Wesleyan's IT network has to serve a variety of purposes, from administrative to teaching environments. How is your network set up?

MEERTS: We're no longer dependent on mainframes, as we once were. We still run a VAX that's about 7 or 8 years old for our main financial applications. It used to run just about everything at this university, but now that's about the only application it runs. Most of our applications have migrated to Unix or NT-type servers. There are about 50 of these types of servers around the school

UB: Is that arrangement difficult to manage? Are there issues connected to the larger number of servers?

MEERTS: Originally, the strategy was to go to more independent boxes, precisely because if a part of that environment goes down, your entire environment won't go down. If you have 40 boxes, they are unlikely to all go down at the same time. That was the problem with mainframes--if one application brought down the machine, then entire system went down.

But, while that's been a good solution for us, I'm still a little nervous about the fact that we have so many different servers that are linked through software. Even if you have 40 servers that are up 99.9 percent of the time, that other one-tenth of a percent--times 40--gives you a sense of the failure that's possible within that complex. When the servers are tied to each other, as they are through software, you are increasing the risk of downtime.

UB: But as the technology needs of the school grow, don't the problems of maintaining so many servers increase as well?

MEERTS: Right. That's a real concern for us. Initially, it made sense to have multiple servers--or at least every substantial application had its own server--and that gives you some protection against that. But now we are worrying that that may not be scalable.

At what point do you start losing efficiencies because you have to maintain these servers independently of each other? Operating systems upgrades become more complex, or at least more voluminous as you have to do more of them; you have to do more database upgrades, and so on.

UB: What solutions are you exploring?

MEERTS: I think a possible solution is in some of these larger servers boxes, such as those from Sun Microsystems, that can be partitioned. It's a bit like the IBM VM (Virtual Machine) environment that was prevalent in the mainframe industry about 10 years ago. We are studying those issues and we want to be sure that, as we make our moves, we are aware of the potential consequences of those moves.

UB: Let's look at those investments in technology: How is technology spending planned at Wesleyan? Is there, for example, a focus on increasing the hardware budget?

MEERTS: Hardware is only a minor part of the budget. Our administrative computing environment has just created a 10-year plan that anticipates $26 million in expenditures over that period. Part of that is hardware, of course, but in the larger scheme of things, it's a relatively minor part. We're talking about maybe 10 percent of that budget being targeted specifically to hardware. The interesting thing is that our hardware costs have actually gotten lower, in part because of our low-end server strategy (most of our servers cost less than $50,000). With smaller servers, you can add as you need and it seems overall to be a cheaper solution. But we want to test that proposition as well--is it really a cheaper solution when you have to have the personnel to maintain 40 servers rather than four large servers?

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Invest to Lead: Keeping Up with Technology Challenges Is Enough to Keep Any IT Director Busy, but Wesleyan's John Meerts Sees Cutting Edge Opportunities for Small to Midsize Colleges-Especially His. (IT Infrastructure)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.