The University of Texas at Austin
As part of the Web Central Services Retirement project, the ITS website will be retired. Information about IT services will be replaced by two new sites, IT@UT and UT ServiceNow, and ITS departmental information will be migrated to a new location. All changes will be completed by 7/28/2016.

Virtual Servers

Last Updated: December 16, 2015 @ 10:37 am
Next Review Date: 01/01/2016
Service Manager: David Pavkovic
Governance Group: IT Architecture & Infrastructure
Document Status: Published

Key Metrics

  • Availability: 99.75%
  • Routine work request acknowledgment response time: 2 business days
  • Review and response of Active requests: 7 business days


This document defines the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the UT Virtual Machine Gateway (UT-VMG) service as well as the rights and responsibilities of any University unit (Customer) that obtains this service from ITS.

Service description

UT-VMG provides cost-effective, reliable, self-provisioned virtual machines (VM) based on the VMware vSphere Virtual Infrastructure suite and vRealize Automation (vRA) products. UT-VMG 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, easier web-based VM administration, lower total operational cost, and smaller carbon footprint through more efficient utilization of physical servers. VMs purchased through UT-VMG are provisioned based on gigabytes of virtual memory, tier 1 storage, tier 2 storage, and backup storage. Virtual CPUs (vCPU) are no cost, however excessive vCPUs can adversely impact performance if they are unutilized so approvals are required for more than 2 CPU. Administrative access to VMs is controlled via Provisioning Groups in Austin Active Directory. Provisioning Group membership is defined by customers and can be based on departments, research groups or any other division that makes sense for the customer. An initial consultation with ITS is required to define a Provisioning Group.

SLA Uptime Calculation

For each incident that causes an impact to VMs, the duration of the event in minutes is multiplied by the number of VMs affected to arrive at the impact in “VM minutes”. At the end of the fiscal year, the total number of available VM minutes is defined as the average number of VMs in the fiscal year multiplied by the number of minutes in the year. The uptime percentage is the total available VM minutes minus the impacted VM minutes divided by the total available VM minutes.

Billing and Accounting

UT-VMG VM charges are accrued daily and billed monthly via the ITS Business Office. Until 9/1/2015 VMs in the UT-V classic environment will be billed for the fiscal year in advance (prorated as necessary). ITS Billing processes the charges against the IDT account number on file for the VM within 70 days. Changes to IDT account numbers must be requested via a Footprints ticket which can be submitted via the ITS Help and Service Desk.

Termination of Service

Customers can cancel services by deleting their VMs via the provisioning interface. Removing an entire provisioning group must be requested via a Footprints ticket which can be submitted via the ITS Help and Service Desk. Deleted VMs will be preserved per the backup retention defined in the Data Protection section below. Removal of VMs in the UT-V classic environment must be requested via the ITS Help and Service Desk.

Standard Maintenance of Service

Availability of UT-VMG is subject to any published ITS Networking and Data Center maintenance events. In addition, there are five types of maintenance events specific to UT-VMG: - Full maintenance events require downtime for all components of UT-VMG. If required, 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. - Partial maintenance events require downtime for some components of UT-VMG that affect running virtual machines. If required, four Partial maintenance events 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. - Provisioning and management layer maintenance will be performed on a weekly basis. This type of maintenance will not affect running VMs but may inhibit the the ability to provision new VMs or manage VMs through the provisioning interface (vRealize Automation and vCenter Server). Provisioning and management layer servers are rebooted weekly, some on Tuesday mornings from 12 midnight to 2am, some on Sundays mornings 12 midnight to 6am. - 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. - 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-VMG. 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

UT-VMG follows the data protection plan defined in the UT-VMG Policies Page.

Data Security

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

Allowed Computing Environments

UT-VMG allows VM Operating Systems as defined in the VMware Guest OS Compatability Guide. As of April 6, 2015, UT-VMG is compatible with all supported OS versions associated with vSphere 5.5 Update 1A.

Technical support

Support for the UT-VMG infrastructure, including maintenance for server hardware and virtual infrastructure software, is provided by the UT-VMG administrators. Support requests related to the UT-VMG infrastructure can be directed to the UT-VMG administrators via the ITS Help and Service 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 can be created and managed via the self provisioning interface. However, to enforce VMware best practices, snapshots older than 14 days are automatically deleted. Customers should delete snapshots as soon as possible. Temporary exceptions can be requested via the ITS Help and Service Desk.

Customer Responsibilities

  • Customers must be aware of and adhere to the University's Campus IT Policies.
  • Customers must be aware of and adhere to the policies defined in the UT-VMG Policies document.
  • Customers must go through an orientation to define common use cases specific to the customer and create appropriate Provisioning Groups.
  • Customers must maintain accurate records of financial account information and VM Owner contact information. Contact information includes a owner contact, technical contact(s) and billing contact(s) for each VM.
  • If a proper account number is not provided within 1 month the UT-VMG team may archive the VM.
  • Customers are responsible for all usage and activity that occurs within their VM.

Cost of Service

The current rate is anticipated to remain from April 6, 2015 until September 1, 2016. However, the rate is reviewed annually and is therefore subject to change. Cost information for this service can be found on the UT-VMG service page.

Trouble viewing the documents available on this page? Download the Adobe PDF Reader.

We Can Help

Get help from an expert:

* UT Service Desk

* Call us at 512-475-9400

* Submit a help request online

We also have a walk-in service in the first floor lobby of the Flawn Academic Center (FAC). Stop by and let us help you!