Typical Installation Processes
How open is your computing environment? What is the typical process for installing software on your desktops? As an end user how much control do you have over your desktop? (150-250 words, a general paragraph)
The paragraph below was written by Martin Kong, CSU Library, Systems Librarian
In the library, we (the Systems Unit), do most of the installation of the software on our work computers and servers, especially if it is library related software. We have the local permissions to perform that function ourselves. We don’t generally require permission from campus information technology unless it is an application/software that works over the network and requires that a system have a specific dedicated IP address and/or requires dedicated network routing. If a piece of software does pose possible conflict with existing campus software and hardware infrastructure, then we initiate a discussion with campus information technology before fully installing and implementing the new software; if that situation arises, that could introduce some delay into the process.
Most of the time that it takes Systems to install software involves the following: reviewing the hardware and software requirements of the new software, some basic understanding of how to get the software working, how to configure it as needed, and what possible interactions there are with other existing software / antivirus programs. Depending on the complexity of the software, installation can be as simple as a few minutes or a few hours. I have worked with complex software that can take over two to three hours to install and configure properly.
The paragraphs below were written by Ted Schwitzner, Head of Library Information Technology Services, Milner Library
The initial steps for the installation of new software involve research by a local information technology unit. IT staff will check hardware requirements and perform test installations to ensure that the software will function in our computing environment. This includes accounting for dependencies on plug-ins (e.g., Adobe Flash), helper applications and platforms (such as Java), and reviewing whether these dependencies might create conflicts with security or with other applications. These efforts help us provide reliable support services for the software and for the requesting faculty or staff member’s workstation.
For local, small-scale research and development of a specific tool, the requesting faculty or staff member will be responsible for evaluating the production use of the software. However, when evaluating services on a library- or enterprise-wide level, local and university IT groups will consider additional factors. These include investigating infrastructure requirements for server space, network bandwidth, optimization and load balancing, and user authentication. Also, software specifications are compared to other software in use or in development, in case the new tool might represent a duplication of service offerings. Combined, these enterprise architecture processes help to identify whether the recommended software is the best choice for our environment.
In my library, I am able to download software to any non-publicly accessible computer without requiring assistance from the library’s IT staff. This means that all but one of the computers I have student assistants work at in the archives can be modified by me. However, for any downloadable product that needs access through the campus firewall I would need to go through campus ITS for assistance. Time estimates depend on the staff workload at any given moment, but I believe a minimum of a few days would be needed.
The Information Sytems and Library Computing Units at WIU are able to perform many of our own tasks relating to putting software on individual machines for library employees. It is considerably more difficult if we have to install anything more complicated, especially items that need to be stored on a university server. This typically requires that we work with campus IT. This often brings projects to a screeching hault as it often a very slow process for IT to commit their scarce (yet talented) resources to outside projects. As a work-around WIU Libraries has acquired cloud-based storage space, totally independent of WIU servers, for some of our own smaller projects.