The University of Texas at Austin

Virtual Servers

Last Updated: October 20, 2014 @ 10:56 am
Next Review Date: 01/01/2015
Service Manager: David Pavkovic
Governance Group: IT Architecture & Infrastructure
Document Status: Published

Key Metrics

  • Availability: 99.5%
  • Routine work request acknowledgment response time: 2 business days
  • Review and response of Active requests: 7 business days

Overview

This document defines the service level agreement (SLA) for UT Virtual (UT-V) as well as the rights and responsibilities of any University unit (Customer) that obtains this service from ITS.

Service description

UT-V provides cost-effective, reliable virtual machines (VM) based on the VMware vSphere Virtual Infrastructure suite. UT-V is intended to serve departments, colleges, and research units at The University of Texas at Austin with the benefits of server virtualization, including improved server reliability and availability, lower total operational costs, and smaller carbon footprints through more efficient utilization of physical servers.

In order to provide users with maximum flexibility, VMs purchased through UT-V are provisioned in 1GB increments with user-defined amounts of RAM, CPU and disk storage.

Billing and Accounting

UT-V will provide accounting information to ITS Billing for the following billable events:

  • Annual UT-V Billing: At the beginning of each Fiscal Year, fees will be calculated for Customers based on the currently provisioned capacity.

  • New VMs provisioned, VM resource changes, and VM deletion are pro-rated on a monthly basis for the remainder of the Fiscal Year.

VM resources less than 1GB in size cannot be provisioned or billed.

Termination of Service

Customers are required to give 30 days advanced notice to terminate UT-V service. This notice must be made through a Footprints ticket which can be submitted via the ITS Help Desk.

Standard Maintenance of Service

Availability of UT-V is subject to any published ITS Networking and Data Center maintenance events. In addition, there are four types of maintenance events specific to UT-V:

  1. Full maintenance events require downtime for all components of UT-V. Two Full maintenance events occur upon the completion of Finals, once in both the Fall and Spring semesters. These Full maintenance events take place on Sundays from 12 noon – 6pm, and can be extended should maintenance not complete within this window.

  2. Partial maintenance events require downtime for some components of UT-V. Four Partial maintenance events will occur in a year; one each in February, June, August, and October. Each Partial maintenance event will take place on a Sunday from 12 noon – 6pm.

  3. Non-impactful maintenance is performed regularly, with no anticipated outage to the service. This will be scheduled according to the existing ITS service maintenance guidelines.

  4. Emergency maintenance events are scheduled as required due to necessary security patches or unexpected failure of service components. They can require a Partial or Full outage of UT-V. They will be scheduled and communicated according to the existing ITS service maintenance guidelines.

All scheduled maintenance events will be published on the ITS maintenance events calendar.

Customer technical contacts will be notified via email 5 business days prior to any Full or Partial maintenance events.

Data Protection

Legacy UT-V VMs that existed prior to October 6, 2014, continue with the legacy backup process that provides a weekly full backups of the OS drive. New VMs, as of October 6, 2014 will have complete VM Backup, including all VMDKs, on a daily basis. Please see the [UT-V Policies page] (https://www.utexas.edu/its/vserver/Policies) for complete details.

Data Security

Customers of UT-V are subject to periodic usage review and necessary scans from the Information Security Office to ensure that usage meets the Information Resources Use and Security Policy.

Intended Use

UT-V is intended to provide infrastructure for virtual machine (VM) service to faculty, staff, and researchers in departments, colleges, and research units. UT-V is a shared environment. Therefore all use of UT-V is subject to a suitability review by the UT-V administrators. Usage that demonstrates a negative impact on the overall performance or availability of service for other UT-V customers is subject to quality of service controls, including temporary suspension, to fully restore the overall UT-V service availability.

Allowed Computing Environments

UT-V allows VM Operating Systems as defined in the VMware Guest OS Compatability Guide. As of October 6, 2014, UT-V is compatible with all supported OS versions associated with vSphere 5.5, update 1.

Technical support

Support for the UT-V infrastructure, including maintenance for server hardware and virtual infrastructure software, is provided by the UT-V administrators. Support requests related to the UT-V infrastructure can be directed to the UT-V administrators via the ITS Help Desk.

Support for the VM operating system instance and applications within each virtual machine will be provided by either the VM owner/purchaser, or optionally by a departmental TSC. Alternatively, standards-based systems administration for a VM can be purchased from Managed Server Support.

VM Snapshots of the OS drive are available by customer request. Customers may roll-back changes on the OS VM disk to the state when a snapshot was created. VM snapshots do not include VM disks outside of the VM's OS disk. VM Snapshots are automatically deleted after 7 days. Requests can be made by creating a Footprints ticket via the ITS Help Desk.

Customer Responsibilities

  • Customers must be aware of and adhere to the University's Acceptable Use Policy.
  • Customers must be aware of and adhere to the University’s Data Classification Standard.
  • Customers must be aware of and adhere to the policies defined in the UT-V Policies document.
  • Customers must maintain accurate records for financial account information and VM Owner contact information. Contact information includes a distribution list that includes the primary, secondary, and management contacts for each VM.
  • Customers are responsible for all usage and activity that occurs within their VM.

Cost of Service

The current rate is anticipated to remain for 36 months, from September 1, 2014 until September 1, 2017. However, the rate is reviewed annually and is therefore subject to change.

Cost information for this service can be found on the UT-V service page.

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