Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your browser.

The Connect IT
January/February, 2016 utdallas.edu/oit/newsletter/

On January 8th, 2016, the Office of Information Resources announced our name change to the Office of Information Technology. What a great way to start the New Year! This name change better reflects the operations of OIT and aligns our identity with other universities.

Our name change is only the first of many changes to look for from OIT. We have many exciting initiatives that are happening. "While seemingly minor on the surface, the name change represents a new path forward. With the new services that we are rolling out on several tech fronts, this rebranding is the perfect timing for 2016 and beyond," according to Scott Willett, Associate Vice President of OIT. As emails and web addresses are updated, the existing addresses will be redirected automatically. The name change will be implemented over the next several months.

We are looking at everything from facilities to strategic technologies to ensure we are aligned with the strategic priorities of UT Dallas. So stop by and see us. Tell us how we’re doing and check out our office improvements while you’re here; and be sure to look for upcoming announcements from the “new” Office of Information Technology.

Media Contact: David Jackson, (972) 883-3548, [email protected]


Save the date! The next OIT FORUM will be held on Wednesday, February 24, 9:00 a.m. in the Faculty Staff Dining Hall in the Student Union. This is your opportunity to get the latest on the happenings in OIT as well as ask questions, contribute ideas and collaborate with others. If you have not been receiving invitations to the summit, please send your email to [email protected] to be added to the list.


Image of Exchange 2016OIT is excited to announce the migration and roll out from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2016 beginning the first week of February. Since the roll out of individual and group mailboxes occurs in batches, OIT will send notifications via email two weeks prior to each batch.

We anticipate completing the migration of all mailboxes by the end of March. There should be minimal disruption to your account and you may not notice the change.



These three (3) call types are illegal and potentially dangerous:

Contact the UTD Campus Police immediately. Be prepared to provide the following information:

  1. Date, time and approximate duration of call
  2. Caller ID display information
  3. Recollection of what the caller said



Pilot groups are testing the electronic Campus Access Tool (eCAT), an online application to handle campus resource access. The Information Security Office intends the new system to replace the Computer Account Request (CAR) form.

The eCAT system has been designed to allow faster, more accurate access management. The online portal will include an approval workflow to ensure accountability and audit reporting. When a new request is submitted, it will be routed to the appropriate department to be rejected or approved.

Users of eCAT will find the account access process simplified and built in a way that guarantees required data is submitted. The pilot groups are testing the system this month. Information Security plans a wider rollout in November.

eCAT, an online application that went live last October to replace paper CAR forms has recently made significant enhancements in the area of request submissions and the approval process, to name a few:

  • Submitters can now modify their existing request even if it has not yet received departmental approval.
  • Transfer Sponsorship has been improved based on user feedback.
  • eLearning was brought onboard to receive online requests via eCAT for access to their security roles.

To find out what has changed in eCAT related to your area of usage, please review the release notes that have been provided on the application’s home page. To provide feedback, email [email protected]


Research computing shared services is helping advance our quest to Tier One status. More grant opportunities will open up, it will be easier to be awarded grants, and there will be more attractive research topics and support structures for students at all levels.

The focus is on seven primary areas:

  1. Utilities: This includes secure server co-locations, tiered storage options, HPC system administration, and shared fabric for personal HPC clusters.
  2. Cluster Farm: This includes a local boutique farm to support aggressive and flexible service levels. We will initially target specific domains (Mechanical Engineering, Genomics, data visualization, etc.). We will provide smooth bridges to advanced clusters found through TACC and other partners.
  3. Visualization: This is intended to be a local lab to support various data visualization and sensory immersion demands. We envision several platforms, supporting augmented reality, virtual reality, visualization APIs, static and portable display walls, and Hadoop/Spark.
  4. Internet of Things. Perhaps the area that could most differentiate UT Dallas from other institutions. Our focus here is to support sensor gateways, portals, GIS, machine learning and big data analytics.
  5. Outreach: This includes hosting symposiums, participating in summits and industry users groups, active engagement at conferences, and providing cyber-infrastructure training.
  6. Science Network: We must have high bandwidth, low latency network services for our researchers. Since many research opportunities utilize co-collaborators within and outside our institution, we need these services extended to industry, our UT system, and Internet 2 as well.
  7. Insights Studio: This service will make it easier for researchers, research assistants, and industry, even across disciplines, to collaborate and advance their research.

We are currently speaking with researchers across campus to fine tune a roadmap and identify initial investments that can best help UTD. For more information contact Frank Feagans [email protected]


Image of Gi VaniaRustomji "Gi" Vania recently joined the Office of Information Technology at UT Dallas. Gi is an IT Enterprise Architect with over twenty years of professional IT work involving networking and linux system administration.

Previously at SIU, Gi was the Director of Research Computing under our very own VP/CIO, David Crain. Gi added centralized cluster computing and 40 Gbps of network connectivity to the SIU environment and plans to implement similar advancements here at UT Dallas. He was instrumental in developing extensive state and national level exposure.

Gi is excited to be a part of the UT Dallas environment because the level of research happening here is cutting edge. It is his goal to help researchers break ground on fascinating research. If you are constrained in terms of network bandwidth, compute cycles or by some technology issue, contact Gi at [email protected] for help in finding a solution.

When not at work, Gi stays busy. He is a Ham Radio operator, Taekwondo blackbelt and avid swimmer.


An important initiative is currently underway to identify and remove vulnerabilities within UT Dallas websites. Since the entire world can connect to our websites, it is critical that we remove anything that puts UT Dallas at risk.

The Information Security Office (ISO), Office of Information Technology, University Web Services, and several technical leaders on campus have been meeting to discuss how they can protect UT Dallas websites. The goal is to gather information about vulnerabilities and educate developers.



Image of IT SummitOn Wednesday, May 18, 2016 the UT Dallas Office of Information Technology will host our inaugural Innovation & Technology Summit. The purpose of the summit is to bring together the makers and users of information technology for research, teaching, learning and the day-to-day support of UT Dallas, as well as to foster an environment of innovation, collaboration and sharing of ideas. Additionally, we expect every participant to leave inspired with action items for personal or work application. More details will be announced at the upcoming IT Forum on Wednesday, February 24 or contact Helen Roth [email protected]

© The University of Texas at Dallas