Cooperation - a better form of university networking? - Implementing remote administration for widespread Windows networks
We would like to demonstrate how the need for a better administration of computing resources and the required manpower - based on the desire for a more effective use of the existing modern network infrastructure - led to a cooperation between different branches of the Faculty of Forest Sciences at Freiburg University. The growing demands of computer network administration require a considerable number of highly qualified administrators, who are difficult to find and extremely expensive. On the
... expensive. On the other hand, universities tend to develop their own solutions and capabilities. Therefore a small group of 5-6 students was formed, which together could administrate a number of workgroups spread all over the campus. One task was to develop a system of remote administration for all the clients, a problem solved by script-based tools developed as part of the project. Another important concern is security. The tightening of the security in the Windows NT domain first caused some worries among the users about their freedom to install software for testing purposes; yet ultimately it was the development of a sophisticated structure that changed these worries into a perception of improved data security and high availability. On the one hand, our concept is based on a reliable network, central backup and DNS provided by the University Computing Center, but on the other hand we are providing central storage and software distribution, web, mail and news servers using a heterogeneous network consisting of a Windows NT Enterprise cluster, three Sun Solaris servers and about 100 Windows NT clients. The major instance of communication between users and administrators is a web-based troubleticket system implemented for this network. Finally, in the last two years we have managed to reduce the costs of administration and of the acquisition of new devices by implementing a centralized system.