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Summer IT Infrastructure Upgrades

By Joe Ferguson

Published August 19, 2016

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.

Every summer and winter, UB Information Technology is hard at work installing software updates and making configuration changes with minimal impact to the university.

During Summer 2016, UBIT staff in the Network and Classroom Services have focused on replacing core server equipment and data center switches in order to keep data flowing smoothly and securely across campus.

“All this behind the scenes work is vital in keeping everything running,” said Ronald Ternowski, Network Engineering Manager with Network and Classroom Services, part of UB Information Technology.

In addition to hardware upgrades, the software and code that power UB’s systems need to be upgraded as well. Upgrading code typically allows for new features that older code was unable to support, but transitioning to newer versions does not come without risk.

According to Joe Pautler, Network Architect with Network and Classroom Services, “When it comes to software stability, vendors have what are called ‘safe harbors,’ which are older versions of code that are patched and stable. New code has new features, but high risks for bugs. We do our best to stay in these safe harbors.”

Summer 2016’s software upgrades strictly affected operational software, not the free software available for UB students, faculty or staff. “The majority of upgraded hardware during Summer 2016 was about to reach end of support,” Ron said. “In order to maintain our ability to receive timely support in an outage situation, the upgrades are crucial.”

In order to upgrade software or hardware, UBIT will schedule maintenance outages that affect students, faculty, and staff using UBIT services. “We have so much equipment and software in need of upgrades that it’s nearly impossible to keep up and we have increasingly smaller windows to do so. That’s why taking advantage of summer and winter months is so important,” Ronald added.