Infrastructure Systems: Basic Server Offerings


This document is meant to highlight what is offered for server builds through Information Services at DePaul. Please note these servers are available for request by Staff and Faculty only. For more information on using your server, please click here.

When deploying a server through Information Services’ Infrastructure Systems team, you will receive: 

  • A standard operating system offering, patched regularly 
  • Proactive monitoring and logging of critical operating system services and log files 
  • 90-day retained backup image of the server 
 

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Virtual Server Environment 

Servers at DePaul are “virtual” by default – that is, an object that is deployed on a virtualization platform backed by high-powered and resourced physical hosts. The virtualization software layer which we utilize in order to deploy virtual servers is VMWare vSphere. Each server we deploy in this environment possesses one of our standard operating systems, along with a set of default applications that allows us to provide the services we have outlined above.  

If instead you would need a more traditional physical server with dedicated hardware, we do evaluate those on a case-by-case basis. Feel free to submit a General Systems Request in ServiceNow to discuss such needs 

 

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Standard Operating System 

When we deploy a virtual server, it will most likely include one of two of our currently offered standard operating systems (latest version). Each server is also deployed with standard set of specifications: 

  • Windows Server 2019 
    • CPU: 2 
    • RAM: 6 GB 
    • NIC: 1Gbe 
    • Storage: C:\ - 100 GB, D:\ - 50 GB, E:\ - 40 GB 
  • Oracle Linux 8 
    • CPU: 2
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • NIC: 1Gbe 
    • Storage: / - 40 GB, /var – 20 GB, /home – 20GB 
 
 
 

Additionally, we will perform regular patching on your server, ensuring that your machine receives critical security updates, bug fixes, and the latest version of the deployed operating system. This is usually done monthly and the service portal will have a banner informing end-users of when patching is happening.

 

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Backup 

Virtual servers which are deployed are backed up as “image” objects that allow for restoration of server state up to 90 days prior to the current date. The application which we use in order to do this is Veeam Backup and Replication. 

With Veeam in place, we are able to perform several functions to preserve virtual machines, including: 

  • Regularly scheduled backup of virtual servers 
  • On-demand backup and restore of virtual servers 
  • Point-in-time data restoration (either by file or whole virtual server) – back to 90 days prior to the last current backup 

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Monitoring and Logging 

Through monitoring of services as well as logging of core systems directories, servers deployed from Systems are able to proactively inform administrators of any issues with the system or provide metrics or log information about applications, security, or systems processes. This is accomplished through the use of two applications. 

  • Nagios is an open-source monitoring system, which regularly polls critical services and applications on an ongoing basis. The software e-mails administrators with any change in normal status and can be configured to monitor a wide variety of items residing on the server. An administrative web interface also allows for one-stop monitoring of all servers an administrator is responsible for. Depending on the chosen operating system, different services may be monitored by default. Custom services can also be monitored by request. The default monitored services include: 
    • Windows: C:\ system drive space, Windows native event logs (Application, System, and Security) 
    • Oracle Linux: all mounts (i.e. /, /home, /var, etc.), Linux native event logs /var/log/secure and /var/log/messages, sshd service 
  • Splunk is an enterprise-level logging and analysis software that ingests data from servers into purpose-built indexers which can then be searched via a web interface with a powerful querying language. Use cases range from compiling statistics from data of interest (such as the number of logins or percentage of log entries for a certain time period) to the creation of easily viewable dashboards to share and report on ingested data/logs, and more. 
 

How to Request a Virtual Server 

Requesting a virtual server is as simple as submitting a Server Request in ServiceNow. You will be asked some basic information for deployment, including what the server’s intended function is, a desired hostname in the dpu.depaul.edu namespace, and storage/resource needs. It is highly encouraged that you read any systems requirements and/or best practices for any applications you intend on installing on the server prior to requesting one.  

After submission, we will review the submitted form, contact you if necessary with any questions, and then submit the server for approval. Once approved, your server will be deployed and delivered to you, along with basic instructions for access. 

If you have further questions about how servers are deployed at DePaul or what we offer in our standard deployments, please feel free to submit a General Systems Request in ServiceNow.