2012-2013 Annual Report

With the 2012-2013 academic year being the final year of the college’s three year strategic plan for IT, the Columbian College Office of Technology Services (OTS) implemented a disaster recovery site for its private cloud infrastructure.  Approved in the spring of 2010, the College’s plan is designed to build essential technology infrastructure in order to support the unique instructional, research, and administrative needs of the Columbian College. The project, named “Cloud,” gained tremendous momentum during the 2012-2013 academic year as the total user population grew 200%.  At the conclusion of the academic year, the Columbian College Cloud had more than 3,000 active users, 200 terabytes of data, 150 virtual desktops, and 205 published virtual applications.  Of the 3,000 user population, 1,000 are students enrolled in undergraduate courses, 800 are faculty and staff, and 1,200 are graduate students, post-doctoral students, and research staff.  The new disaster-recovery site at GW’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus provides for real-time data replication from the Foggy Bottom campus with dramatically improved restore time in the event of a devastating disaster in downtown DC.  This college-level investment leverages previous university-level investments in inter-campus network connectivity and data center infrastructure.

As part of the college’s commitment to excellence in instruction, OTS designed and implemented classroom AV systems in 20 department classrooms and seminar rooms.  Additionally, OTS replaced the computer workstations in the Geography Department’s Spatial Analysis Lab and Anthropology’s Discourse Lab.

Most notably, OTS designed and implemented the university’s first-ever centralized high performance computing cluster named Colonial One.  With CCAS leading this initiative in the design and implementation phases, the Division of IT has committed to staffing and operating the new system as part of its university-level technology service offerings.  Colonial One will advance GW’s research mission by enabling a wide variety of disciplines across the university to conduct computationally intense research.  Specifically, this includes physics, chemistry, statistics, psychology, mathematics, biology, School of Medicine, and the new Computational Biology Institute.  By centralizing the HPC resources needed in these disciplines, the university will be able to better recruit top faculty talent, commit and spend resources in faculty start-up packages more efficiently, and compete on a higher level for grant funding.

Amidst these large-scale projects, OTS continued to deliver high quality technology services to the college’s students, faculty, and staff.  With the expanded scope of services in the areas of classroom instructional technology and clinic observation technology, OTS added two evening telephone and walk-in support hours, keeping the service desk open until 7:30PM four days a week.

The College’s technology initiatives, as well as its commitment to providing high quality support, continue to position it as a leader at GW.