One of the many services ITMS provides to our clients is a Hosting service. At a very basic level, the Hosting service usually entails providing a server(s) which houses an application or a database or a combination of both. Generically, we would refer to this as a system.
To ensure the system is managed appropriately throughout its lifespan, ITMS assigns roles to the various stakeholders involved in hosting the system. These include a System Owner, Application Administrator, ITMS’s role and the software Vendor’s role. This page is designed to give you an insight in to the responsibilities of each stakeholder.
To give you an understanding, ITMS currently manages over 500 servers to run the various Systems that makes CDU and our partners tick. Some of those Systems are internal and not customer facing for which ITMS is seen as the System Owner. Others are Systems which provide a service or function to the University such as the Security Camera System or Calista for management of student information.
Each System and subsequent server takes time and money to function and maintain. Costs include licensing, time to commission a server, ongoing maintenance costs, replacement costs, general support costs and so on. For this reason, ITMS takes the roles and responsibilities of setting up a new System seriously. It is important that when a new System is being requested that the roles are assigned and that the System Owner takes into account all the necessary future costs of running a system and not just the upfront costs.
If you are requesting or setting up a new System, the below information should be used to guide the overall resourcing for the System. The impact and level of work required is very much dependant on the size, complexity and functions that the System provides. Some larger systems have a dedicated Application Administrator or even a team of Administrators. Many do not require a dedicated role and the functions can be absorbed into an individual’s usual duties. Often, the Vendor is contracted to be the Application Administrator. See below for more information:
(Generally a senior staff member with some level of financial delegation within the business who owns the system)
- Makes business and financial decisions regarding the system.
- Ensures funding for purchase of the software and appropriate licensing.
- Ensures funding for ongoing maintenance and support from the Vendor.
- Ensures an Application Administrator is appropriately trained by the vendor to support the users of the system (this person may assist/coordinate with the vendor and ITMS for patches and upgrades).
(Generally a staff member assigned or directly employed to be the subject matter expert on the application. The Application Administrator can also be the software Vendor)
- Maintains relevant and up to date information on the system including instructions, licensing details, upgrade paths etc.
- The Application Administrator provides a channel of communication to the users of the system to notify of any outages or changes which may affect the system.
- Create and remove system user accounts if required and where this process is not integrated with the University's Identity Management System.
- Trains new users on how to use the system.
- Provides the first level of troubleshooting for problems with the system.
- Logs requests with ITMS or the Vendor for issues with the system. The Application Administrator should provide all pertinent information including:
- Troubleshooting steps taken thus far.
- Who or how many people is it affecting?
- Provide ITMS with an understanding of urgency.
- The System Administration role is primarily undertaken by ITMS technical staff when considering the underlying infrastructure only (the hardware and operating systems that run your system).
- Ensures the necessary server and network infrastructure is in place to support the application.
- Ensures the necessary operating systems are in place.
- Provides the Application Administrator with remote access to the servers to install and configure the software.
- Packages any desktop software component so it can be automatically installed on the desktop computers (Where possible, ITMS recommends products that utilise a web interface rather than a software installation client. This negates the need for further costly packaging and makes the application more accessible from any device. Upgrades to the client interface are much easier to handle also. If ITMS packages the software, there should be no human intervention needed after packaging)
- Provides remote access and assistance to the Application Administrator and Vendor to apply provided patches and updates.
- Provides monitoring of the system/service and communicates with the Application Administrator if there are any outages.
- Ensures the reliability and integrity of the underlying server infrastructure is maintained through regular security updates, maintenance tasks, monitoring of services.
- Makes decisions on how changes are implemented with regards to how this may impact the overall CDU IT infrastructure stability/sustainability and architecture.
- Undertakes the Change Management and liaison/communication with the System Owner and/or Application Administrator on any changes that need to be made, either at their or our instigation.
- The Vendor provides the software.
- The Vendor advises on server specifications and any system integration requirements.
- The Vendor installs and supports the software on our servers. (They remote into the server to look at faults or provide functional support to the end users etc)
- The Vendor provides and installs patches and updates as bugs and security flaws are detected or enhancements are developed. (This is generally part of the ongoing maintenance and support you will be paying to the Vendor.)
- Depending on the agreement between the System Owner and the Vendor, the Vendor can also be the Application Administrator.