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FAQ

Servers

What servers are supported at Warwick?
Currently we provide support for Windows Server 2016/2012 R2, IIS and SQL 2016 and SQL 2014. We can also provide Linux, Apache, MariaDB via the UNIX team. Whatever service you require we are here to assist you through the process, making hosting as simple and easy as possible.

What are Virtual Servers/VM's?
Virtual Servers or VMs (Virtual Machines) are servers that run within another operating system. This releases the server from being tied to the hardware of a physical server. This gives the ability to allow the same piece of hardware to host multiple machines, just as if they were on separate physical boxes. This technology also helps improve resilience as the virtual machine is not tied to one piece of hardware; this can allow the movement of the server between machines with little to no down time in the event of hardware failure in one of the data centres.

I would like a server; what is the process I need to follow?
Go to the Application & Server Hosting Requests page and fill in as much of this form as possible. We will then contact you to ensure we gather all the information that we need to make the correct decisions for your application.

What is the cost?
Servers, support and backup for VM's are free for university staff for university business in most cases. We also host for some student project work. We are unfortunately not able to provide large compute infrastucture without a charge. Larger storage requirements (over 300GB) will also incur an additional charge. Additional licences for programming tools such as Visual Studio, any application costs, or any external application support will need to be funded. If physical servers are required for any reason then there may be a charge; this will be discussed at the time of gathering your requirements.

My application is not supported on your published OS/software, can you still help me?
Depending on what the problem is, we may be able to help you. Come and speak to us.

How do I/my support person administer the server remotely?
This can depend on the information classification of the server. Staff can be given access on request though the VPN service or for applications that hold more sensitive data you may be asked to fill in forms to enable a 2-factor contractor VPN. All 3rd party support partners working remotely with require a 2-factor VPN.

If there is an issue with the server and we need to recover data is this possible?
Absolutely. We take daily backups of all servers we host. Currently these are in the form of machine snapshots, so it can be quicker to recover an entire machine than a single file; however we do also have the ability to recover single files. We can recover from any day over the past two weeks, any week over the past couple of months and then every month for a year. We cannot recover from one particular day 6 months ago, but we can recover from the next nearest good backup.

How quickly can I get my servers?
This depends on the complexity of the design. Once all the requirements have been gathered we aim to provide access to your server within a couple of weeks.

Are servers updated regularly?
Security patches are installed on a schedule promptly after release from Microsoft after simple functionality testing on alike server builds.
If test systems for the production systems exist patches are released to these first allowing time to test applications with the new patches.
Non-critical updates such as service packs are handled on a case by case basis and are determined by the application requirements as well as support levels detailed in the Microsoft Product Lifecycle.
Major version release updates for server operating systems and SQL servers are handled on a case by case basis but are scheduled to make sure they are kept within support detailed in the Microsoft Product Lifecycle. All major updates will be fully tested before deployment to the specific systems with a migration approach preferred to in-place upgrades.

All updates to systems are controlled through the ITS Change management process.

All application updates are the responsibility of the application owner. This will be the main application and any additional software installed, such as mysql, java, .NET Core, web browsers, etc.

If the server isn't tied to hardware can I run a server and never have to replace it?
Even though it is tempting to think that because the server doesn't rely on physical hardware the server can run forever, this unfortunately isn't the case. We still have life cycles of operating systems and the associated software used like anti-virus protection. Our standard support cycle is 4 years, after which point we will be looking to upgrade your service onto a new OS if the application is still required.

Review of service
We will have regular annual reviews of the service provided by us to ensure we are delivering the needs of our customers. Obviously if there are any issues that come up in the interim then please contact us through the IT helpdesk.

Can I get email alerts from my application?
Yes, so long as you use an in-house solution for your server hosting.