X-ISS helps IT leaders at the UT Dallas gain control over a diverse academic computing environment

The University of Texas at Dallas needed expert assistance to document, assess and protect the diverse IT assets of the university’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

This need arose following the departure of a key IT administrator who managed the NSM environment. At that point, it made sense to bring the school’s IT assets under the management umbrella of the UT Dallas Cyber Infrastructure for Research Department (UTD CI). This department, which was established in 2015, supports research and teaching on campus by offering a suite of cyber-infrastructure services to faculty, staff and students.

While the objective was clear, the path forward was clouded by a lot of unknowns about the resources in the NSM environment. The school had everything from Linux® and Windows® desktop systems to servers and small high performance computing (HPC) clusters. No one had a clear view of the age or condition of all of the systems, how they were maintained and how they were backed up. All of this information needed to be captured and documented, and a management plan needed to be put into place.

For Dr. Jerry Perez, the UT Dallas director for cyber infrastructure operations, this was a task with requirements that went beyond the resources of his small department. With that understanding, the university’s top IT officer, Frank Feagans, vice president for information technology and chief information officer, reached out to Dell Technologies, which had provided the HPC systems in use in the UT Dallas research environment.

To meet the university’s needs, Dell Technologies called in a trusted HPC consulting partner, Houston-based X-ISS. When an organization’s current HPC resources are strained or even non-existent, X-ISS steps in to relieve the pressure and provide excellent HPC assistance. And UT Dallas reached out when the IT leaders needed to gain control of the NSM environment.

Dr. Perez and his small staff — he had fewer than two full time equivalent team members — took on the rather daunting tasks of inventorying all the equipment in the NSM environment, and then passed that information on to the IT professionals at X-ISS. To complicate the challenge, the holidays were fast approaching, and people were disappearing. The consultants from X-ISS were unfazed. They pushed on and worked through the holidays.

By the end of the holiday break, Dr. Perez and his colleagues had a full report documenting the state of the NSM environment — something that could have taken six weeks or more with internal staff. From that foundation, they were able to begin setting priorities for the cyber infrastructure that needed to be better protected, upgraded or replaced.

Download the full Case Study – Dell Tech UT Dallas X-ISS Case Study