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  • 1. Year 12 Term 4 IPT Case Study Report By Mark Johnman
  • 2. Contents 1.0 Abstract ................................................................................................................................ 3 2.0 Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 3 3.0 Overview of the Computer System (CS) .............................................................................. 3 3.1 Purpose............................................................................................................................. 3 3.2 Hardware .......................................................................................................................... 3 3.3 Software/Interface ........................................................................................................... 4 3.4 Networking ....................................................................................................................... 4 3.5 Human Considerations ..................................................................................................... 4 4.0 Potential Improvements to the CS....................................................................................... 4 4.1 Purpose............................................................................................................................. 4 4.2 Hardware .......................................................................................................................... 4 4.3 Software/Interface ........................................................................................................... 4 4.4 Networking ....................................................................................................................... 4 4.5 Human Considerations ..................................................................................................... 4 5.0 Evaluation ............................................................................................................................ 4 6.0 Appendix .............................................................................................................................. 4 6.1 Questionnaire – IT Technician – Jeff Smith ...................................................................... 4 6.2 Questionnaire – Teacher – Andrew Smith ..................................................................... 10 6.3 Questionnaire – Student – Jake Skoric ........................................................................... 13 2
  • 3. 1.0 Abstract 2.0 Introduction As the availability and capability of technology increases, so too does society’s need for efficient computer systems that are effectively designed, developed and evaluated to exploit these advantages to their fullest potential. It is the evaluation aspect of the said development cycle that this case study report is most concerned with. In order to keep up with the ongoing technological revolution, it is imperative that all computer systems undergo a regular evaluation. This review can assess and determine the relevance of the organization’s current infrastructure, as well as recommend improvements for the system that will allow it fulfil its purpose with additional speed and efficiency. By conducting a periodic evaluation of their computer system, administrators help to ensure its continued relevance by maximising its ability to exploit the advantages, such as increased speed and availability, presented by the latest technologies. Essentially, this case study aims to implement the evaluation described above upon the Hillcrest Christian College (HCC) computer system. The HCC information arrangement will be investigated from three different perspectives, that of an IT Technician, a Teacher and a Student, so as to obtain as complete an understanding of the system as possible. The information collected from these individuals, which will be obtained through a questionnaire (see Appendix 1), will then be coalesced into concise paragraphs that will elaborate upon the current state of the organization (see 3.0). Following this, recommendations will be made as to potential improvements that can be made to the computer system so that it better fulfils its purpose (see 4.0). As a final note, it should be remembered that due to the limited scope of the case study, the evaluation does not go into the detail that would probably be present in one completed by an actual company. Rather, it focuses upon addressing the major aspects that comprise HCC’s computer system, in order to come to a conclusion about whether it supports and fulfils its overall purpose (see 5.0). 3.0 Overview of the Computer System (CS) 3.1 Purpose 3.2 Hardware 3
  • 4. 3.3 Software/Interface 3.4 Networking 3.5 Human Considerations 4.0 Potential Improvements to the CS 4.1 Purpose 4.2 Hardware 4.3 Software/Interface 4.4 Networking 4.5 Human Considerations 5.0 Final Evaluation/Conclusion 6.0 Appendix 6.1 Questionnaire – IT Technician – Jeff Smith Case Study Questionnaire – Hillcrest Christian College Managerial (IT Technician) Position Purpose: 1. What is the main activity of the organisation in which the computer system is utilised? Quality Christian based Education. 4
  • 5. 2. Who are the clients (users) of the enterprise? Students, Parents and Staff of the College. 3. In what ways does the computer system support this overarching mission statement? It provides the necessary infrastructure, tools, devices, data and equipment to access and teaching resources, and learning materials, within the college and from the internet. And to manage, maintain and administer this equipment and resources and provide the necessary learning outcomes and to report on them as required. 4. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, how well does the computer system support the primary purpose of the organization? 8 – it’s pretty good overall and we are always working to make it better. 5. Are there any improvements which would allow the computer system to better support this purpose? If so, what are they? Improved Internet Bandwidth, and upgrading some of the older network infrastructure and devices. 6. Are there any complementary activities (ones that are not directly relevant to the main activity of the organisation) that the computer system is engaged in? Not really. Hardware: 1. What types of devices are used in the enterprise, and for what purpose are they employed? Around 800 PC (Windows 7) based computers and notebooks. Around 45 Apple iMac/Macbook Computers and notebooks. 10Gb Fibre Network Backbone between all Buildings within the College, distributed to 1Gb links to most network devices, and to 100Mb links in a few older areas. Multiple Windows based Severs – including around 14 Physical servers, 3 of which are hosts for our numerous virtual servers and are set up in a Windows Hyper-V failover cluster for load balancing and redundancy. 5
  • 6. 2 x Mirrored Fibre Channel SAN data storage systems located in 2 separate buildings within the college – used to store all student, and staff data, administration system files, and to provide storage for the email servers, and the virtual servers. The SANs are mirrored for redundancy, data protection and load distribution, as well as Disaster Recovery protection. All with data stored in Hot Swappable RAID arrays with live Hot Spare drives. 2 x Mac Servers to provide connectivity between the Apple Mac computers and the Windows network, including access to users files from the Mac. One of the Mac Servers is also a Final Cut Pro Server for rendering and storage of Final Cut videos created on the Film and TV iMacs. ClickView Server stores a huge library of digital videos available for use by students and staff within the college using the Clickview Player. Numerous networked Laser Printers, and Digital Printer/Copiers. DPM (Data Protection Manager) server for backup of user and admin data, sql databases, and the exchange servers. All to meet the needs of the students and staff of the college. 2. What forms of secondary storage are utilised and what data does this storage hold? Archive Servers for Server to Server copies of data and Older data no longer required on the SANs. Offline Storage Devices (USB Hard Drives) for Offline backups of essential data. 3. What physical security is in place to protect the computer system? Servers and SANs are stored in areas with restricted Access, the SAN areas and the Primary Server room in Admin are also air-conditioned to maintain efficient operating temperatures and to extend their operating life. 4. Are there any improvements which could increase the effectiveness of the Hardware section of the computer system? If so, what are they? More powerful servers would improve response times in some areas however we do regularly update and roll over equipment as we are able within our budget limitations. The main servers and and SANs are to be replaced every 3 to 4 years. Software/Interface: 1. What operating systems are used? 6
  • 7. Windows 7 Enterprise on most PC devices, OSX on Macs and iMacs, Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise on the Main Servers and Hosts, Windows Server 2008 on some of the other physical servers and Windows Server 2003 on some of the older and Archive servers. 2. What are some of the major programs employed and for what purpose are they utilised? There are numerous software packages used throughout the college – some of them are:Microsoft Office suite – word processing, spreadsheets, powerpoint presenations, publications, etc. Adobe Mastersuite – Graphic and Video creation and editing, web page designing, etc. Final Cut Pro – Video production in Film and TV. AVG – Antivirus. ClickView Server and ClickView Player provide access to a huge library of educational digital videos. Pcschool – School Management System for all the School Administration requirements, including:- Curriculum, Timetabling, Administration, Reporting, Student and Family records, Finance, Debtors, and Library administration. 3. Please describe the backup procedures and systems in place for the computer system. DPM – Data Protection Manager – backs up user, exchange and sql data regularly. Shadow Copies are used on the Data server to maintain previous versions of files, and the ability for users to recover those previous versions or to recover deleted files. This Data is stored on the primary SAN and mirrored live to the DR SAN. Server to server backups run on schedule and copy important data to the Archive servers. Clickview server backups run on schedule and maintain 2 full copies of the ClickView Video Library on separate severs in separate buildings. Offline copies of important files are also kept on external drives. 4. Is software maintenance (e.g. program updates) conducted? If so, how often does it occur and what exactly does it entail? Yes – Generally regular that will cause little disruption are done as required using Windows Update Server running within the college. We approve the necessary updates and when they are to be deployed. 7
  • 8. Server Updates are usually done out of hours (at night) to minimise disruption to users. Major updates (such as from Office 2007 to Office 2010) are carried out during school holidays with the majority of these being done in the end of year holidays which is also when the majority of the equipment rollovers occur. 5. Are there any improvements which could increase the effectiveness of the Software/Interface component of the computer system? If so, what are they? Is always possible to improve the effectiveness however it is difficult to be specific in this area. As new improvements do become available we review them and if suitable will deploy them as required. Networking: 1. What type/s of networks are employed within the computer system? We use a TCP/IP based network with 10Gb Fibre Backbone between all buildings. Running through Managed switches and then to 1Gb links out to most devices, and 100Mb links to some of the older areas in Primary? A Managed 802.11 b/g/n Wireless Network covers most areas of the college and its capacity is regularly expanded to meet the demand. We have VPN access in and out of the college for secure data connections for staff. We also run VOIP through the network to numerous phones throughout all areas of the college. Internet access is provided through 3 ADLS2+ network connections and 1 High bandwidth Allegro Microwave link load balanced, routed, and filtered through a Netbox Internet Gateway Server and Threat Management Gateway Server. 2. What networking protocols are supported? TCP/IP, VOIP, Bonjour is used in some areas. We have storm control running on our managed switches to prevent bad data packets flooding the network. 3. Approximately, how many users work within the computer system networks? Potentially around 1100 users including students and staff. 4. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, how reliable and efficient is network performance? 8
  • 9. 8 – Most of the network is managed, high speed, and highly available. 5. What forms of network security are in place? Network access requires valid user credentials authenticated against our Active Directories and access level is restricted accordingly. Wireless access requires a wireless key, or access via a Radius Server for connection. Internet access is filtered through the Netbox Server and requires user authentication for access levels. 6. How effective is this security? Please give reasons for your answer. The security is generally very good. Most threats to security are automatically blocked and we are alerted to these treats. And the TMG and Netbox provide very good protection to the network from Internet threats and attacks. 7. Are there any improvements which could increase the effectiveness of the Networking aspect of the computer system? If so, what are they? Bandwidth could be increased by upgrading older areas in Primary, as well as increasing available internet bandwidth for faster response particularly under high load conditions. Human Considerations: 1. Who is involved in the task performed in both operating, maintaining and using the system, and what roles do these members of staff specifically perform? IT Manager, and 3 x IT Support and Help Desk staff (2 full time and 1 part time). IT Manager overseas all areas of the IT systems, carries out most of the IT and Network Administration, and most out of hours maintenance, updates and support. The support staff handles the general user support, help desk jobs, pc and notebook maintenance and updates. And equipment change overs. 2. How is the system administered and maintained? The servers and network are administered using Microsoft Server and Administration tools and software. Most hardware is under warranty and repaired by external technicians as required. Critical systems (SANs and Hosts) are also monitored by external ANZ Pro Support with replacement parts generally available within 4 hours. 9
  • 10. 3. Is there any outsourcing used in the administration and maintenance of the enterprise? If so, what does this outsourcing consist of, and how often does it occur? Yes – Repair of equipment under warranties and Pro Support contracts. And expert consultation on required equipment upgrades/replacements to meet future requirements. 4. How often does training of staff in the computer system occur, who conducts this training and what exactly does it consist of? Training is carried out as required – much of it is internal from existing to newer staff and some is carried out externally or online when required (e.g. for new systems). 5. What level of user support is in place? We maintain a high level of user support given the amount of staff we have available and the huge range of system we cover. We try to have most support tasks triggered through our online helpdesk to allow us to better manage, prioritise and action the necessary support tasks. 6. How comfortable and user friendly is the computer system? Ergonomically speaking there are areas that could be improved. The users mostly access the computers through Windows 7 operating systems which are fairly user friendly. 7. Are there any improvements which could increase the effectiveness of the Human Considerations side of the computer system? If so, what are they? We are working on improving the layout, work areas and storage areas for the IT staff. 6.2 Questionnaire – Teacher – Andrew Smith Case Study Questionnaire – Hillcrest Christian College Employee (Teacher) Position 10
  • 11. Purpose: 1. What is the main activity of the organisation in which the computer system is utilised? Library Management utilising our Library Management System [LMS} 2. Who are the clients (users) of the enterprise? The whole school community 3. In what ways does the computer system support the overarching mission statement (see Question 1) of the organization Allows for efficient creation and administration of item and student records 4. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, how well does the computer system support the primary purpose of the organization? 7 5. Are there any improvements which would allow the computer system to better support this purpose? If so, what are they? Yes. The school is investigating ways in which the LMS may be mde online and accessible to the school community outside of the Library building. Hardware: 1. Are there any improvements which could increase the effectiveness of the Hardware section of the computer system (e.g. new types of hardware that you may like to see in your classroom, such as iPads, etc)? If so, what are they? Tablets, Android or Apple, Screens to allow more access to teacher generated materials. Software/Interface: 1. What are some of the major programs employed and for what purpose are they utilised? PC School- LMS, Microsoft OFFICE products, Library management [as for 3 above] 11
  • 12. 2. Is software maintenance (e.g. program updates) conducted? If so, how often does it occur and what exactly does it entail? Infrequently. As required for breakdowns and upgrades 3. Are there any improvements which could increase the effectiveness of the Software/Interface component of the computer system (e.g. new programs, an update of certain programs, etc)? If so, what are they? Yes. This is underway. A new program called OLIVER is being investigated for purchase. Networking: 1. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, how reliable and efficient is network performance? 8 2. What forms of network security are in place? Unknown 3. How effective is this security? Please give reasons for your answer. Unknown 4. Are there any improvements which could increase the effectiveness of the Networking aspect of the computer system? If so, what are they? At the present time using the software we have networking is satisfactory. In the future with the implementation of more modern forms of LMS networkingespecially wireless will need to be developed. Also with increase in student use of computer devices [tablets, netbooks] networking capabilities will need to be upgraded to allow deliver of teaching and learning activities. Human Considerations: 1. How do you use the computer system? I use it for management of the library finances, timetables, curriculum, purchasing, inventory, communication, publicity. 12
  • 13. 2. How often does training of staff in the use of the computer system occur, who conducts this training and what exactly does it consist of? Infrequently- as required. 3. If training does occur, is it effective and conducted often enough? Why or why not? As required. Effective 4. How effective and helpful is the level of user support that is in place? Very effective 5. How comfortable and user friendly is the computer system? Reasonably comfortable and user friendly. 6. Are there any improvements which could increase the effectiveness of the Human Considerations side of the computer system (e.g. faster replies to requests for user support, etc)? If so, what are they? It is very effective. Fine tuning only required. The human element is extremely important and at Hillcrest, in my position I am well supported. 6.3 Questionnaire – Student – Jake Skoric Case Study Questionnaire – Hillcrest Christian College Student Position Purpose: 1. What is the main activity of the organisation in which the computer system is utilised? To provide a large-scale student and teacher database and computer system. 2. Who are the clients (users) of the enterprise? Students, Teachers, Receptionists as well as other administration staff 13
  • 14. 3. In what ways does the computer system support the overarching mission statement (see Question 1) of the organization? By providing a database, LAN and variety of computers suited for student and school related tasks. 4. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, how well does the computer system support the primary purpose of the organization? The computer system was rate at about an 8. 5. Are there any improvements which would allow the computer system to better support this purpose? If so, what are they? The improvement of the network filter to have a more practical and suitable methods of distinguishing each user’s access to the internet. Hardware: 1. Are there any improvements which could increase the effectiveness of the Hardware section of the computer system (e.g. new types of hardware that you may like to see in your classroom, such as iPads, etc)? If so, what are they? iPads won’t likely provide a significant improvement to the learning environment. Instead, ensuring the hardware on each system (i.e. CPU, Motherboards, etc.) are up-to-date with current computer power. Software/Interface: 1. What are some of the major programs employed and for what purpose are they utilised? Microsoft Word – word processing Microsoft Excel – spreadsheet work 2. Is software maintenance (e.g. program updates, etc) conducted? If so, how often does it occur and what exactly does it entail? Maintenance is conducted, however, this responsibility is not given to any students. 3. Are there any improvements which could increase the effectiveness of the Software/Interface component of the computer system (e.g. new programs, an update of certain programs, etc)? If so, what are they? 14
  • 15. The Office Suite is kept up to date, however there may be a few minor security and application updates that could be installed in order to enhance system performance. Networking: 1. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, how reliable and efficient is network performance? 6 – the server is often at times down or non-responsive. 2. What forms of network security are in place? Security programs and anti-virus applications. 3. How effective is this security? Please give reasons for your answer. Quite effective for its intended purpose of unauthorised access. This is because the firewalls and anti-virus applications scan every new peripheral (i.e. USB) added to the system. 4. Are there any improvements which could increase the effectiveness of the Networking aspect of the computer system? If so, what are they? Perhaps stabilise the server response times etc. Human Considerations: 1. How do you use the computer system? Interact with it as a non-administrator user. 2. How often are you taught to use the computer system, who conducts this training and what exactly does it consist of? We are only taught for specific programs. For instance, in Accounting, I am only taught to use the special purpose application MYOB for certain aspects that are directly relevant to the assessment. Which is to say, that the level of teaching in the use in both general and special purpose applications is simply on a need-to-know basis. The teacher normally conducts this training. 3. If training does occur, is it effective and conducted often enough? Why or why not? For the purpose of use in assessment pieces, the need-to-know approach is appropriate enough, as students don’t necessarily need to know how to use each and every aspect of the software for them to utilise it for an assessment piece. 4. How effective and helpful is the level of user support that is in place? 15
  • 16. User support among the school environment – particularly for students – is not immensely high. However, it is sufficient to the point where a student operating a terminal (PC) requires assistance; the class teacher is likely to call for the IT department at school to arrive and provide a solution to any problem. Otherwise, if no solution is found, the problem is usually left in the sense the student is asked to use another terminal. 5. How comfortable and user friendly is the computer system? The computer system, available to student-level authorisation, comprises of availability to basic features of operating systems and some programs – but not administrator-level. Therefore is it reasonably user friendly for the given level of access. 6. Are there any improvements which could increase the effectiveness of the Human Considerations side of the computer system (e.g. faster replies to requests for user support, etc)? If so, what are they? Yes, the most prominent aspect for improvement would be having the IT support team being able to respond faster to not only student, but also teacher requests for IT support. 16