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Managed Server Support

Last Updated: January 16, 2015 @ 7:47 am
Next Review Date: 01/01/2017
Service Manager: Vinodkumar Isaac Shodavaram
Governance Group: None
Document Status: Published

Key Metrics

  • During normal business hours, Incidents will be responded to within four (4) hours after notification to the service provider using the ITS Help Desk ticketing system.
  • During normal business hours, Service Requests will be responded to within one (1) business day after notification to the service provider using the ITS Help Desk ticketing system.

1. Purpose of Agreement

This Service Level Agreement (SLA) defines the services and service levels between the service provider, ITS Systems Managed Server Support (MSS), and the customers of that service (Customer). Eligible customers are the units, departments and colleges internal to the University of Texas at Austin. This SLA is designed to cover service related terms and conditions, costs, roles and responsibilities and provides a framework for communication, problem escalation and service resolution.

2. Length of the Agreement

The initial SLA period is for a minimum of one year and will continue until either party terminates. The SLA will be reviewed and modified, where appropriate, on an annual basis. The SLA limits service to those specifically described under Section 10 of this document or an amendment to this SLA. The customer may cancel service, after the initial one year minimum requirement, by providing 90 days’ notice, in writing, to the MSS Account Manager. The customer must pay the full balance of the account within 14 days of receiving the final invoice, which may include charges incurred or billed after the date of the cancellation notice. The agreement begins when it has been signed by both parties and will automatically renew each year.

3. Service Description

MSS offers standards-based professionally managed Linux and Windows systems administration for Customer owned servers, either physical or virtual. Support services may include server hardening, planning, installation, configuration, security patches and updates, troubleshooting, monitoring, documentation, assistance with implementing a data backup strategy that meets the business requirements for the Customer and also for third party application installation and configuration. Any services provided outside of scope of this SLA are subject to additional charge. Under normal circumstances, MSS staff is available between 8 am - 5 pm Monday through Friday, excluding all holidays and university closures.

4. Cost Schedule

MSS’s existing published rates are based on actual cost recovery methodology as set and approved by the Office of Accounting Costing and Analysis section. Fees will be charged and transferred once per fiscal year at the beginning of the university fiscal year. If, during the fiscal year, there is an increase or decrease in the number of servers, hours or type of service provided, the bill will be adjusted. Items not covered in this SLA are subject to additional published hourly Time & Materials (T&M) charges. Beginning in the Spring Semester, MSS will review documented server counts and estimate support hours, where appropriate, for the upcoming year for each Customer. Significant changes will be noted, and a revised SLA and/or estimate will be issued to the requesting Customer. At least quarterly, a service report will be provided to the Customer by the MSS Account Manager. For billing and administrative questions or issues, the Customer may contact their assigned MSS Account Manager.

5. Communication

To make a Service Request or report an Incident, the Customer must create a ticket in the ITS Help Desk ticketing system. Please provide information that the report is for a Managed Server Support Customer along with the server name, if known. One of the following methods may be used for creating a ticket:

  1. Send an email to
  2. Submit a request online using the MSS Form
  3. Contact the ITS Help Desk.

When calling outside of regular business hours, a voicemail can be left or, where applicable, it is possible to follow phone prompts to be connected to an after-hours operator. Be sure to provide your name, department, that you are Managed Server Support customer and the server name, if you know it. This information will allow the operators to more quickly identify and look up the correct person to escalate the call to.

A Service Request means any request made by a customer to the MSS team for routine operational support published on the ITS Managed Server Support page. During normal business hours, Service Requests will be responded to within one (1) business day after notification to the service provider. Service Request changes will be made during normal business hours. Requests made after normal business hours may not be responded to until the following business day. If an Incident or Service Request is not responded to with the response times outlined above, the Customer may escalate by directly contacting their assigned MSS Technical Contact, MSS Account Manager or the ITS Help Desk. Please refer to the ticket number when escalating.

An Incident means any interruption of the normal function of the server where it is severely malfunctioning. During normal business hours, Incidents will be responded to within four (4) hours after notification to the service provider. Reports made after normal business hours may not be processed until the following business day. After-Hours requests for support and emergency support will be fulfilled on a best-effort basis.

6. Routine Maintenance

Because the central IT environment is regularly upgraded to allow for growth and change in the use of information technology, the Customer must expect routine maintenance to be scheduled periodically to comply with new standards and upgrades. MSS will notify the Customer when such work is needed. Growth or change initiated by the Customer may warrant a Service Review of their current environment.

7. Optional Data Backups

Customers may request data backups subject to additional published T&M charges. MSS will work with the Customer to implement a data backup strategy that meets their business requirements. In the absence of system unavailability due to network outage or other technical problems preventing access to the department's system(s), MSS will perform regularly scheduled (usually daily) data backups on covered systems.

8. Business Recovery and Continuity

MSS does not provide disaster recovery or business continuity planning for Customers. The Information Security Office has developed a comprehensive risk management program that focuses on proactive risk reduction in compliance with university rules and policies as well as all relevant state and federal laws. This program helps units identify and monitor risk to information resources on campus and develop strategies to manage that risk over time to include business recovery and continuation. For more information, see Risk Management Services.

9. Security

Each Customer is the owner of all data and is expected to use their professional judgment in managing risks to the information and systems they use and/or support. As the custodian and systems administrator of the system, MSS will make recommendations based on the site’s data classification and risk assessment as determined by the Customer. ITS will implement owner approved solutions to protect the data. All security controls should be proportional to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability requirements of the data processed by the system. MSS will not be held liable for loss or compromise of data due to improper data security controls. Please see the ITS Policy website for more information on minimum security standards.

10. Responsibilities

MSS responsibilities in support of this agreement include:

  1. One (1) hour of consultation included to gather requirements and provide a cost estimate for the initial service engagement.
  2. Offer server provisioning and operating system management. Operating system patches are reviewed for their criticality as they are released. Routine patches are applied on a consistent basis in order to minimize server outages. Security patches deemed critical may be applied outside the pre-defined maintenance window. ITS will not be responsible for any application failure, downtime or issues resulting from these mandatory updates.
  3. Provide operating system technical support and problem resolution.
  4. Provide patch management for installed software. ITS will install, support, maintain the installation of patches, firmware upgrades as needed, and manage the hardware and operating system of each server under this SLA.
  5. Maintain server security in accordance with policies governing UT information technology resources.
  6. Assist with server lifecycle management. The preferred deployment platform for all new servers is a virtual machine running on the central Virtual Infrastructure. The virtual server specifications will be established based upon recommendations from the application vendor and ITS server administrators. If the application requires a physical server, the customer will be responsible for acquiring all necessary hardware components based on Vendor and ITS recommendations. ITS will work with the hardware representatives to obtain a quote for the customer that meets ITS’ and the application vendors' requirements.
  7. Implement a data backup strategy that meets the business requirements for the customer (Section 7).
  8. Provide basic system performance and network monitoring and troubleshooting. Operational monitoring is provided for all managed systems. The monitoring system is configured to display an alert to the University Data Center Operators console between 8 am and 5 pm daily if a critical error condition is detected on production systems as well as to send email alerts to responsible staff 24x7 for all systems managed by MSS. Please see Section 3 for response expectations.
  9. Maintain a customer hardware and software inventory that will be updated at least quarterly.
  10. Create and maintain a site specific manual that will include server build documentation.
  11. Coordinate with other ITS Departments and 3rd party vendors as needed.
  12. Provide basic application deployment and basic database administration. ITS will provide initial assistance in setting up applications to the point of functioning properly. MSS does not provide ongoing application support or development.
  13. Assist the customer in completing Information Security Office Risk Assessment (ISORA).
  14. Log changes to any server’s environment using a change management system.
  15. Perform planned maintenance on a scheduled basis based during the maintenance window agreed to by MSS and the customer.
  16. Provide the customer contact with notification of service disruptions and emergency maintenance as soon as feasible.
  17. Review each service annually, or as agreed by both MSS and the Customer, to evaluate the IT needs of the customer and provide appropriate recommendations.
  18. May provide root\administrative access to individuals designated by the Customer in order to perform application development.

In order to protect the interests and assets of the University of Texas at Austin, ITS may be required to render services beyond those described in this document. Such additional support is provided at the discretion of University senior management with Customer consultation. This work may result in additional charges.

Customer responsibilities in support of this agreement include:

  1. The customer is the owner of their data, and must categorize that data according to university requirements.
  2. Assign and maintain an on-site departmental technical contact (liaison) for MSS. The technical contact will provide application support for the customer’s application or can act as a liaison to the customer’s application support group.
  3. Use the processes defined in Section 5 of this SLA for requesting help and services.
  4. Respond to MSS staff inquiries in a professional and timely manner.
  5. Agree to a maintenance window for scheduled maintenance, either for the site or by system.
  6. Maintain compliance with all software licensing requirements. The Customer must provide the necessary access to software and training for specialized departmental or proprietary services where required.
  7. Adhere to relevant University acceptable use and security policies and standards related to the acquisition, development, testing, implementation, and production usage of servers, software, networking, related systems, or data stored on their respective systems. ITS reserves the right to shut down or isolate any server that is found to be out of date, vulnerable or compromised.
  8. Consult with MSS before making hardware or software purchases related to supported systems. To assist with this, a list of approved standard server hardware, OS and application software packages which are supportable by MSS staff is published on the Managed Server Support Site. Hardware or software purchased by the customer either without MSS consultation or which is not included on the referenced list, may not be supported by MSS Staff under the standard SLA agreement.
  9. Adhere to a hardware and software lifecycle which meets or exceeds the minimum configuration requirements for the systems supported for the customer based upon recommendations provided by MSS.
  10. Maintain hardware warranties or provide timely payment for repair charges (T&M) for any Customer provided equipment covered under the agreement, and pay for software costs associated with required upgrades for new features or security concerns.
  11. Responsible for the development, installation, configuration, maintenance, patching, upgrade, troubleshooting and security of their business software. Any assistance requested from MSS required to meet these obligations may involve a T&M charge.
  12. Any changes made to a system/service not reviewed by MSS and result in assistance from MSS may be subject to a T&M charge.
  13. Responsible for communicating specific service availability and any service interruptions or outages to application users.

11. MSS Service Levels

MSS Service levels include:

  1. Operational support with no reasonable risk of causing disruption of a service will take place during normal business hours, M-F, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  2. E-mailing the customer assigned address will automatically generate a case in the ITS Help Desk ticketing system. Customers will receive an automated response with a case number for follow-up reference. Other forms of contact may affect ITS’ ability to respond in a timely manner.
  3. After-Hours requests for support and emergency support will be fulfilled on a best-effort basis. Priorities will be determined by ITS staff based on urgency and level of impact.
  4. Occasionally, it is necessary for MSS staff to escalate a problem to another entity. In these instances, MSS staff cannot guarantee the response time of the other entities. MSS staff will continue to act as the contact point for cases that require support from an outside department.
  5. MSS will prioritize and process incoming incident requests if it meets any one of the following criteria within covered service hours: MSS Staff response to priority requests or incidents may delay response to other requests.

    • Number of people affected.
    • Percentage of total tasks that can no longer be performed by individuals.
    • Academic and Administrative Calendar deadlines.
    • Impact on course delivery.
    • Risk to safety, law, rule, or policy compliance.
  6. Should there be a dispute about service rendered; escalations can be requested by the Customer to the direct management of MSS.

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