All computers purchased using university, research or grant funds should have standard configurations and be procured through ITS. Any non-standard purchases need to be approved by the Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Information Technology.
Standard configurations should meet the vast majority of needs on campus; the only exceptions should be very specialized research equipment. We recommend that researchers work with Information Technology Services to discuss their needs before they write grants.
This practice is not in place in pursuit of bureaucratic ends, but because of the very real short and long term issues that non-standard computers can cause, even in the rare case where the machines appear less expensive. Additional costs user may include:
- investigation into the details of the computer to understand what its components are and how the machine might impact the network
- the technology support center and other support people may need to get engaged to load standard operating software
- a non-standard computer takes more time and effort to support over the long term, because special effort is needed to understand the particular machine and its software. This effort is often required in the event of a failure or other problem, increasing the time needed to solve the problem.
Only some of these costs may be borne by the user.
The benefits to standard configurations include:
- lower cost of support
- consistent expectations of people's access to technology
- consistent levels of technology
- better overall network and information security because of consistent technology
- We are trying to keep the costs of technology support down, and standardization is one tool that allows us to do that.