I believe the most important question is how can we make decisions for today that will best accommodate future needs? If our requirements are current needs, then the solution will be out of date.

- In order to provide for growth, change, and ingenuity,
- My current opinion is:

To create multiple server solutions that accommodate a web trend for the past 20 years and will most likely continue. This trend is the travel of technology responsibilities from a highly specialized group (i.e. OIT) to a larger and more general group (web developers, designers, communicators, and general employees). Through tools, access to information, and the development of less complex languages (for example - html, css, and javascript),  the everyday person is capable of doing more than a tech expert could do 10–15 years ago. It is not uncommon for a designer to know the basics of server side programming, an admin assistant to know html, or a front-end developer to have an intermediate grasp of object oriented programming.

At the University of Minnesota, How do we provide server management that:

1.) Accommodates the trickle down of technology expertise?
- It's safe to say that this trend will not reverse. 

2.) Acknowledges multiple levels of experience?

3.) Provides a platform for employees to grow, experiment, and gain responsibilities?
- this will create the training ground for umn to establish itself as a creator and leader of technology instead of an adopter.

4.) Frees OIT from duplicative and remedial tasks?
- This will enable OIT to intensify concentration of personnel and budget on higher priority items and/or future technologies.

One solution I am familiar with is a cpanel (Control Panel - http://www.cpanel.net/).
I like how I can manage (sub)domains, load an approved Fantastico plug-in, or create a database with mySQL, and etc.
I even have SSH/Shell access but had to digitally sign that  I was responsible for anything that I do.
Different tools and permissions are turned on and off by my provider.

It would be interesting to discuss the pros and cons of a cpanel x.500 authenticated system with tiered permission levels and corresponding ftp access. Also, the ability to pass permissions on to internal and external audiences to accommodate the continued delegation of responsibilities

Sustainability: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Have a good weekend!


Kristofer Layon wrote:
[log in to unmask]" type="cite">I think we can be assured that OIT will be very price competitive --- because they have to.  They suggested this during the meeting.  

We can host University sites on off-campus servers, so it's in OIT's best interest to compete with the 3rd party vendors that are being alluded to in this thread (and are already being used, in some cases).  There are highly regarded hosting companies in town, just a phone call away, so the local service is reliable and the price is right.  But on-campus hosting would still be preferable, in my opinion.


Kristofer D. Layon
Director of Web Design & Online Collaboration
- - - - - - 
Office of the Senior Vice President for System Academic Administration
University of Minnesota Twin Cities

On Jan 22, 2010, at 8:06 AM, Tony Thomas wrote:

On Jan 22, 2010, at 7:29 AM, Samir Nassar wrote:

On 1/22/10 7:06 AM, Tony Thomas wrote:
A Linux server with PHP & MySQL running would suit my needs pretty nicely. The bigger problem I've had in the past with central hosting is the level of access I was granted. It's essential for me to be able to log in via ssh and do a few things from the command line. I think I could get by without root access if I could "sudo" some commands.

Another issue for me has been cost. Currently there only seem to be two options:

1. Cheap hosting with limited access that inhibits development and configuration.
2. Virtual Server that is $300 per month (when I got a quote two years ago)
Virtual Private Servers have come down dramatically in costs. For the quote you got two years can and do get hosting for close to a year that gives me all the benefits of having smart people manage the things I don't want to worry about (hardware, data centers, cooling) and let me worry about the things I like to worry about (Apache, MySQL, Postfix, PHP, and Content Management Systems.)

There are several really good virtual server providers out there, but my experience has come from using only one and I am quite happy.

Do you have a virtual private server on campus? The $300/month price was from OIT here. I've seen virtual servers as low as ~$20/month elsewhere. If we could get something on campus in the neighborhood of $50-60 per month, I would be very interested in that.