by Kathleen Scalise
The campus pulled the plug over the winter holidays on its central computing workhorse, a venerable IBM 3090 that hogged electricity and space, and replaced it with an agile, air-cooled machine tiny by comparison, but slightly more powerful.
About the size of a big refrigerator, the new IBM S/390 is 37 times smaller than its predecessor, though its importance to campus remains large, said computer resource manager Kenneth Yip.
"It accounts for a good 85 percent of critical central campus administrative computing power," he said. "It runs TeleBears and payroll, for example."
The technology upgrade was part of an overall strategy to maintain high quality services in the face of ongoing budget cuts. Cost savings on electricity alone are expected to run about $60,000 yearly.
Project leaders were delighted the new machine went into operation without a hitch. "Never in my experience has a changeover gone so smoothly," said Jack McCredie, associate vice chancellor for Information Systems and Technology.
"Almost no one knew when it happened and probably 99.9 percent of the people using the system don't even realize a new system is in place," he said.
Yip said credit goes to a dedicated staff who even worked on New Year's Eve to get the new machine in gear.