Web Central Service Retirement Project Overview
10/3/2016 - The Web Central service has been retired. All website migrations have been completed, all files have been archived, and the Web Central servers were powered off in August 2016. The project team is currently completing project closure tasks. The project will officially close in mid-October.
In the summer of 2016, Information Technology Services (ITS) will retire Web Central, the legacy shared Web hosting and UNIX Timesharing System (UTS) email service at the university. Initially part of the UT Web Infrastructure project, the Web Central retirement effort is now a separate project, which was endorsed by IT governance. Because a large number of sites are hosted on Web Central, the service retirement project will use a phased migration approach and will provide guidelines to assist customers in planning the migration of their websites and email service. At the completion of the project, all Web Central websites and email addresses will be migrated to alternative services or archived according to university date retention policies, and all physical or virtual hardware associated with Web Central will be decommissioned.
- Project Description and Scope
- Alternative Solutions
- Tracking Communication Process
Project Description and Scope
The Web Central Service Retirement project is sponsored by Information Technology Services (ITS) and the project team is comprised of ITS staff. The project started in March 2015 and will be completed in August 2016.
The Web Central Service Retirement project will include the following:
- Identify the up-to-date list of sites, files, and programs that exist currently on Web Central and the departments that own them.
- Identify the up-to-date list of email addresses in use and the people who use them.
- Identify alternative options for hosting Web content or email services and document the appropriate application of each service.
- Identify and create the process by which Web Central files will be archived in order to comply with university records retention policies.
- Document the transition procedures for customers to use while they transition from Web Central.
- Create detailed transition planning in waves, including lists of specific sites to be transitioned to each service per wave.
- Define and coordinate all activities related to the decommissioning of Web Central, including canceling any licensing and support agreements.
Out of Scope
This project will not include the actual transition of sites to other hosting options. Each department will be responsible for the migration of its sites and email to other services.
ITS has identified several alternatives to Web Central hosting and email services that users may wish to investigate now.
For Websites and Applications
- Hosted WordPress, cloud-based WordPress hosting, estimated availability Jan. 2016,
- Managed Drupal, cloud-based Drupal hosting, estimated availability Jan. 2016, https://its.utexas.edu/projects/drupal-program
- SharePoint, Microsoft’s web framework/intranet tool, https://ut.service-now.com/utss/catalogoverview.do?sysparam_citems_id=3dd65c7c4ff9d200f6897bcd0210c77e
- University Blog Service, WordPress platform, https://ut.service-now.com/utss/catalogoverview.do?sysparam_citems_id=4ad65c7c4ff9d200f6897bcd0210c785
- University Wiki Service, team collaboration tool, https://ut.service-now.com/utss/catalogoverview.do?sysparam_citems_id=f9d65c7c4ff9d200f6897bcd0210c77e
On-campus Hosting Platforms
- UT Virtual (UT-V), virtual machines for custom Web application hosting, https://ut.service-now.com/utss/catalogoverview.do?sysparam_citems_id=0ad65c7c4ff9d200f6897bcd0210c783
- UT Web, shared Linux-based custom Web application hosting, https://ut.service-now.com/utss/catalogoverview.do?sysparam_citems_id=0ed65c7c4ff9d200f6897bcd0210c784
- Managed Server Support, managed support for customer-owned physical or virtual servers, https://ut.service-now.com/utss/catalogoverview.do?sysparam_citems_id=0ad65c7c4ff9d200f6897bcd0210c784
For UTS Email Addresses
- Office 365, Microsoft Exchange service, https://ut.service-now.com/utss/catalogoverview.do?sysparam_citems_id=b9d65c7c4ff9d200f6897bcd0210c77e
- UTmail, Gmail for @utexas.edu addresses, https://ut.service-now.com/utss/catalogoverview.do?sysparam_citems_id=79d65c7c4ff9d200f6897bcd0210c77e
The executive sponsor of the Web Central Service Retirement project is Julienne VanDerZiel, director of ITS Applications. The project includes direction and feedback from an internal steering committee comprised of ITS service managers involved in the retirement. Additionally, the project will report to the Web Technologies & Infrastructure (WTI) Subcommittee and to the Architecture & Infrastructure Committee (AIC), to which WTI reports.
Tracking Communication Process
During summer 2015, each customer was sent a spreadsheet that included information for all websites on Web Central. Each customer indicated a Planned Action, (i.e. archive, migrate, investigate, etc); a Planned Migration Location, (i.e. University Blog Service, UT Web, etc.); and a Migration Deadline. Based on this information, a migration timeline has been created that will be used to ensure that every customer has initiated migration efforts on time and will complete these efforts on time.
The communication process is estimated to last nine weeks, when there are no delays and the escalation process is not activated. The process will include four communication points that will be used as communication milestones. The milestones that each customer will report on are the following:
|Has the customer set up an account on the new planned migration location?||2 months before migration deadline|
|Has the customer started building the website or transferring content to the new planned migration location?||1 month before migration deadline|
|Has the customer completed testing and is ready to deploy?||2 weeks before migration deadline|
|Has the customer completed the migration of his/her website to the new planned migration location?||1 week after migration deadline|
The process above will be initiated in mid-October 2015; customers scheduled to migrate sites through November 2015 will be handled in a modified manner:
- For customers that have indicated they would migrate their websites in July, August, or September 2015, an altered communication process will be used. The communication with these customers will include only the last milestone to confirm that migration has been completed.
- Also, customers that have indicated that they will migrate their websites in October or November 2015 will be contacted only for the last two milestones to confirm that site migration is on schedule.
- Customers that have indicated that they will migrate their websites in June 2016 will be contacted three months in advance instead of two.
If a customer does not meet the site migration deadline, an escalation process will be activated. The escalation process will be activated two weeks after there is a failure to meet one of the two last milestones or two weeks after a customer fails to respond to any of the milestone notification emails. The escalation process lasts five weeks, and it includes three levels:
- The first escalation level involves contacting the customer’s IT Manager and asking for the milestone to be completed in two weeks.
- If the new deadline of the additional two weeks is not met, the second escalation level involves contacting the department’s Technical Dean or Director and asking for the milestone to be completed in one week.
- If the new deadline of the additional one week is not met, the third escalation level involves customer notification that the website(s) will be archived in two weeks. At the end of two weeks, ITS will archive the files on Web Central and will share a copy of the files with the customer.
Modifications to the escalation process:
- Customers that have indicated that will migrate their sites in June 2016 will follow a shorter escalation process to meet the August 2016 Web Central decommission deadline. Specifically, the Escalation I level will last only one week and the overall escalation process will take one month.
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