5.14 File Services

Background

The proliferation of information technology hardware and software applications has, in turn, driven the need for additional data storage. Increasingly, opportunities to create digital files and databases, both traditional and multimedia, call for expanded and appropriate storage technologies to be planned for and implemented on a timely basis. The availability and delivery of this storage component is often referred to as file services.

File services are needed for a variety of purposes on campus.

  • The primary file service need for students is in support of academic learning.
  • For faculty, file services are required to support research and instruction.
  • For staff, file services support administrative and student service functions.
  • File services also provide for collaboration and sharing of files within departments and for cross-functional or work group collaboration.

SCSU currently has a stable and high-speed network on campus, and files are stored on a centralized file services platform and accessed as needed. The central platform is managed, secured, upgraded, recovered, and in general, provides a level of file services not available using other models. We are in the midst of moving away from departmental file servers toward a more centralized file services model. Experience has shown that departmental and decentralized servers are sometimes poorly maintained, and security has not always matched MnSCU standards. Files saved to a local hard drive of a typical desktop computer are at significant risk if local hard drive files are not backed up.

Goals

Over the next five years, file services at SCSU will continue to meet the instructional, learning, and service needs of faculty, students, and staff. Specifically, file services will
  • provide reliable and secure access to files and databases
  • offer easy, ubiquitous file access — local and remote access, anytime and anywhere
  • provide storage capacity adequate to support individuals, departments, and work groups
  • continue to evolve the central file services model to meet new and expanding data storage needs and technologies
  • study the needs for e-portfolios (5.4.1, 5.4.4) and determine how they fit in with file services in general
  • develop recommendations for file services in step with the budget planning cycle

Specific Actions and Timeline

A committee will be established to address file service needs on campus. The committee should include technologists and users of file services across the university.
  • The committee will follow the standard timeline (see 5.0) for carrying out and reporting on specific actions necessary to accomplish the goals for file services.
  • The committee will evaluate the need for file services, recommend or develop appropriate policies and procedures for allocating storage to individuals, departments, and work groups.
  • The committee will recommend storage upgrade strategies and project capacity requirements.
  • The committee will inform the campus and facilitate training for the campus community regarding file service opportunities and requirements.
  • During the 2007/2008 academic year, the committee will produce a final report on file services, and a planning document for the next five-year plan. These will be submitted to TLTR by February 1, 2008, for review.

Resources

Resources for file services include costs for purchasing online storage platforms and for human resources to manage and support these platforms. Files service needs (both capacity and format) must be continually monitored and planned to stay current with technological advances and university requirements.

Evaluation

  • Is access to centralized file services reliable and secure?
  • Are file services available anytime and anywhere?
  • Is storage capacity adequate to meet the needs of individuals, departments, and work groups?
  • Is the centralized file service model evolving to meet the needs of the campus community?
  • Has the committee studied the needs for e-portfolios (5.4.1, 5.4.4) and determined how they fit in with file services in general?
  • Has the committee developed recommendations for file services in step with the budget planning cycle?
  • Has the committee submitted a final report in Spring 2008?
  • Has the committee made recommendations for the next cycle of technology planning?

Revised: May 2003