University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

The Lab Replacement Process

The goal of this program is to keep our computer labs full of functional equipment running currently supported versions of operating systems and applications. We replace the equipment in our computer labs every five years although this may change depending on available funding. Please check the listing of labs to see when your lab is due for replacement.

A successful lab replacement process requires close collaboration between the host department and A&S Computing Services. Please read all of the following steps so that you are familiar with the process and are prepared when your lab is due.

Planning

During the Spring semester of the year that a lab is due for replacement, the host department should consult with their faculty and make the following decisions:

  • What software do we want in the lab that we don't have now?
  • What software do we have now that we want to upgrade?
  • Do we need any additional peripheral equipment that we don't already have?
  • Is the lab made up of the computer platform that is most useful to us? (i.e. if your lab is all Windows but people really want MacOS X, or vice-versa, now is the time to make that decision. And, of course, changing platforms means buying new software licenses as well.).

Once these decisions have been made, the host department should contact A&S Computing Services for advisement on where to buy the required software, upgrades and peripherals, recommended vendors, alternative approaches, cost estimates, etc.

Because we are basically replacing the old computers with brand new ones, we can ignore such issues as operating system and Microsoft Office upgrades, security patches, antivirus software and many other new technological features since they come with the new machine. If the department has certain hardware requirements for their new machines, now is the time to request them.

The host department must provide for configuration testing during the Summer break by designating specific faculty and/or staff who are familiar with the required software and the teaching requirements of those classes scheduled to use the lab. Testing will take approximately one to three full days of someone's time on an ad hoc, intermittent basis over a couple of weeks during summer break. Host departments are expected to provide workload adjustments for any faculty members involved in testing.

Purchasing

By the end of the Spring semester, the department should have all required software, peripherals etc purchased and in the hands of A&S Computing Services. Significant delays in acquiring software will jeapordize the entire replacement schedule.

Testing Sample Configurations

A&S Computing Services will coordinate purchase of the new computers and will provide two sample machines to CIT for configuration and initial testing. Once a sample configuration has been created the designated host department testers (see Planning above) will be expected to test the sample configuration, and provide feedback on any issues, tweaks or corrections needed. This may take several iterations before we get it just right. We can't emphasize enough that this is the most important part of the entire process.

Once the managed lab configuration has been deployed to all of the other new machines we cannot make major changes except in the case of catastrophic emergencies. And, if all of us have done our job in testing the sample config, catastrophes can't happen.

Deployment

A&S Computing Services, with the help of Microcomputer Services and the host department, will then deploy the new computers to the lab. The host department should make arrangements to have the old computers removed to Surplus Disposal.

Note that the host department cannot retain the old computers in the same lab space as the new machines, thereby doubling the capacity of the lab. Since these machines see very heavy use during their five years in your lab, we also do not recommend that the host department redeploy these machines back into the department. The time spent in removing the managed image from these machines and re-installing their original OS, applications, etc just isn't worth the effort. Particularly when you take into account that they're pretty worn out and obsolete to begin with.

Revisions

After deployment, the lab can be upgraded or altered as needed but only on a yearly basis. See the "Computer Lab Change Policy" document at left for more information.

Last modified September 12 2012 03:30 PM