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Currently within MVM there is no one single unified asset management tool or system to record IT equipment. Some areas have local in house systems, which can be rudimentary as spreadsheets, others have web based systems, and partial snapshots for equipment, like research machine hardware. Others areas have no easily accessible record at all.
This fragmented situation leaves a deficiency in terms of gathering business data so the college can do accurate business forecasting, and make sure college objectives are being met and maximise the ROI.
One of the challenges and impediments to the adoption of an asset management system has been the labour intensive approach and associated cost of gathering and maintaining the asset data. As the data is constantly changing, tracking and updating any database or inventory is a very time consuming task, not to mention issues with accuracy and reliability. Static inventory systems basically require a high degree of maintenance and manual input. Where the cost to benefit ratio may not have justified their existence in the past.
Open Computer and Software Inventory Next Generation (OCS inventory NG) is free / open source software with a ‘Community Edition’ licence that enables users to inventory their IT assets. OCS-NG collects information about the hardware and software of networked machines running the OCS client program ("OCS Inventory Agent"). OCS can be used to visualize the inventory through a web interface. OCS collects information automatically to generate an inventory with a rich dataset. There is little or no need for manual intervention. Another benefit of OCS is that it is platform agnostic.
HSS have been running an OCS service for a number of years now. They have a virtual machine instance set up and running with OCS server software. All desktops in the college have a client package installed (agent) which reports back to the server. Patching the system is managed and maintained by Production Management and system admin by the College Office. This is essentially setting up new users and assigning tags.
There are local admins that can only see the devices in their own area, multiple users per School currently and this also includes Chemistry and Biological Sciences.
Having discussed the OCS service running in HSS with Fraser Muir (head of HSS IT) it would make sense to have one instance of the service running for all three Colleges whole of UoE. This would on economies of scale and expertise, reduce redundancy and duplication etc.
Using the system we would look to have a federated support model with a sys admin in each College. The VM instance of OCS would be continued to be supported under the current arrangement.
MVM, including BQ, EB and WGH
Platform: Windows, Apple Linux
- Consultancy with MVM teams about fields required
- Get a test login for current instance to get a look a feel for OCS application
- Deploy Client to Windows and MAC OUs, initially BQ OU only
- Configure and test MVM users/Tag
- Test College Super user account
- Test Inventory for reports against our hardware estate
- Test load capacity of VM with additional machines in inventory
- Roll out to other areas.
- Tailored Instance for MVM running on HSS VM
- College Super User
- Users for three areas with ability to report
- Inventory of OU Assets in AD for MVM
- Inventory of Linux machines and non managed?
- Wiki page with documentation
- Fraser Muir, CAHSS already uses OCS
- Sheila Fraser, CMVM
- Suran Perera, Production
- BQ, EB, WGH IT Teams
- Desktop Services team
- Access to OCS instance
- Look at existing fields
- Consultancy withthin MVM IT teams
- Request and deploy desktop client
- Configure MVM users
- Configure IT users for reporting
- Full deployment
- Future Plans – looking at API, asset tags etc