This piece showcasing ITS’ Middleware team is the first in an occasional Meet the Team series.
Middleware is one of three teams within the Data Reporting Environments & Application Middleware (DREAM) division of ITS. The other teams within DREAM are Middleware, PeopleSoft and Database Administration, and Enterprise Reporting & Departmental Systems. The teams are led by Rachel St. Clair, Director of Data Reporting Environments.
What is Middleware?
The ITS Middleware team provides infrastructure support services for many of the critical systems that ITS delivers. These include support for Sakai, Carolina CloudApps, Single Sign-On, Tableau, Splunk, GitLab, Confluence, Jira, InfoPorte and SAS. As part of a larger ITS reorganization in July 2021, the team moved into ITS’ Data Reporting Environments & Application Middleware division.
“The biggest change since we became part of the Data & Reporting Environments & Application Middleware team has been the focus on how we approach servicing our customers,” said Patrick Casey, Middleware Services Director. “Our primary purpose is to quickly assist in delivering a technical solution.”
Since the reorganization, the division has prioritized improving operational efficiency to be more in line with the Carolina Next strategic initiatives.
“The focus on improving operational efficiency and reduction of administrative overhead has been one of the overarching goals of the DREAM team,” Casey said. “We’ve always focused on driving automation as a delivery mechanism, but now we are also ensuring we have close collaboration between the teams in DREAM as a significant focus.”
Who is Middleware?
- Patrick Casey
- Prathibha Chindam
- Chris Conklin
- Anthony Deluca
- Todd Lewis
- Paul Szabady
- Bain Heffner
- William Mowery
- Stephen Braswell
What’s new with Carolina CloudApps?
Launched in October 2014, the CloudApps platform enables the Carolina community to request computing environments via a self-service portal. It provides a secure, multi-tenant environment for application development and content hosting. An April upgrade has enabled the team to spend more time supporting end users and less on maintaining the platform itself.
“Software is updatable over the air, meaning that all patchings are transparent events, assuming developers have the appropriate health checks in place,” Casey said. “This change alone allows us to focus on the developer experience and helping users overcome obstacles.”
CloudApps continues to be adopted by the campus community. “Our project count has grown by about 10% since our migration in April,” he said.
What’s new with Splunk?
Splunk for machine and business data and is actively used by the technology community on campus. Middleware, along with campus users, continues developing new Splunk functionalities that streamline operational efficiencies.
“One example of this would be the enhancements made to the Qualys scan reporting dashboard that allows for quick views on vulnerabilities for a host and specific QID or age-based queries,” Casey said. “This dashboard functionality is easier for most users rather than the Qualys user interface.”
Switching licensing models has enabled the group to efficiently serve more of the campus community than in previous years.
“Our licensing model changed from an ingest-based license where there is a data cap to a more agile licensing model, allowing us to grow and process additional customer needs that we had to formerly decline,” he said.
What else is happening?
“The Middleware team is exploring options for continuing use of the Confluence and Jira servers after a recent announcement by the vendor Atlassian stating that our products will no longer be available on-premise after mid-2024,” Casey said. “Tableau moved from Amazon Web Services back to an on-campus solution on August 23.”