In the past few months, starting with summer of 2011, Weber State University has made some extensive changes to its computer hardware servers and operating environment systems.  This change revolutionized the entire process of productivity within the WSU campus.  The computer hardware servers have gone from operating on a sole proprietor system to one that is now an open source. Instead of WSU having multiple servers and paying the extensive cost of running these systems, they have virtualized its entire system into something much more powerful and much less costly. This involved the transferring of ten computers into one.

“The benefit from this change is that, a) it is more cost effective for WSU, and b) the future of open sourcing will bring about more virtualization; more power with less,” said Bret Ellis, vice president for information technology at WSU.

So what has this change brought about for WSU?

“For one, it has given students a great head start into the semester with newer hardware,” said Nate Henne, the network security administrator.

Henne is just one of the many participants who contributed to the success of the new system. During the process of producing the new open source systems, extensive testing was done. Included in the production was a large group of six system administrators, a data base group, power users and student testers.

“With the use of open sourcing, there will be more tools,” Henne said.

The new system has helped students, family and staff at WSU tremendously. The days where it was a lengthy process for financial aid to be dispersed among students are gone.

Andy Chen, director of Enterprise Business Computing, stated, “Open sourcing has allowed the funds for financial aid to come much faster for students at WSU.”

Due to the quicker dispersion of funds, the risk of losing-out on the financial aid money was lowered.

Open sourcing has allowed this semester to start off very strong. It has boosted the productivity of the financial aid department and has also done the same for the registration department and financial services located on the WSU campus.

“This semester, it appeared that requests were done faster. Like registration and financial aid, these departments have been able to access their information much faster,” Ellis said.

Lisa Allen, payroll manager for the financial aid department, has witnessed the significant increase in timeliness.

“The processing time of the various systems located in their department has been greatly reduced,” Allen said. “Wherein, things that would normally take forty-five minutes to be processed now take all of five minutes. It saves a lot of time to do other stuff.”

With the hustle and bustle of college life, it is hopeful that open sourcing has and will spawn much more productivity for the various operations that take place within the WSU campus. Only time will tell what other new changes will be brought about from this particular type of virtualization.

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