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Wings Web Hosting Retirement Set for June 30, 2017

By Joe Ferguson

Published February 14, 2017

Joe Ferguson (UB Student, Class of 2019) was born in Sacramento, CA, but currently lives in Lockport, NY. He is studying Marketing/Public Relations and Communications. He hopes to get a job in as a marketing person or PR agent for a California-based company when he graduates.

UB is made up of hundreds of unique entities: schools, departments, clubs and organizations.

Each one is responsible for providing content to a variety of audiences in a timely manner. For the past decade, many relied on websites hosted on Wings (wings.buffalo.edu), but as of June 30, 2017, this web-hosting solution will be retired.

Wings runs on dated infrastructure that is at the end of its life, meaning it’s running old versions of software. “It is difficult, in some cases impossible, to perform preventative maintenance and necessary updates,” said Brad Beardslee, System Administrator with Enterprise Infrastructure Services, part of UB Information Technology. “It’s time to retire older technology to allow for modern day tools and platforms to be used for developing and serving university content.”

For the majority of university sites, hosting will now rely on two already existing options—the UB Content Management System (UBCMS) and WordPress. But for some web services, a new environment is being introduced, called WebApps.

UBCMS

UBCMS hosts official UB sites This environment is best for sites supported by an experienced technical staff member. If your site is for academic, administrative, or research purposes and is an official UB site, then you will want to move your site to UBCMS.

UBCMS currently houses over 140 official UB sites. “The tool is easy to use for web creation and comes with branded templates for your pages and sites, so you can enter content directly without worrying about coding or advanced customization,” said Brad.

WordPress

WordPress is the best option for faculty, less technical staff or authorized students whose role is to author or publish official university web pages. The WordPress environment allows for simple HTML pages and forms. Like UBCMS, it is easy to learn and takes the programming out of the web design process.

Introducing WebApps

WebApps is a new web hosting solution offered through UB that contains an in-depth development environment and uses containers, which are isolated environments that developers can use freely without affecting other developers’ live sites.

WebApps allows for standalone web development and hosting, or in conjunction with UBCMS and WordPress, also currently offered through UB.

Since neither UBCMS nor WordPress have a development environment for developers that want to use programming languages, WebApps is being introduced to provide that functionality in a more contemporary and secure environment.

Migrating Your Site

If you maintain a site on Wings or have content, files, or scripts located on Wings, UBIT asks that you register with the Wings Replacement Project to inform the project team of your intentions for the migration of your site/content to another platform. The deadline to register is February 17, 2017.

Brad added, “Please make us aware that you have a site on Wings and we can work with you to determine which of the three new web hosting solutions will work best for your site.”