The Department's faculty agreed to standardize on Dell systems in 1997 and later added IBMs when the University gave the department IBM CCI computers. Since Lenovo bought IBM's workstation and laptop division and the CCI contract was awarded to Lenovo, we now support Lenovo systems as well, and we will continue to support the remaining IBMs. Standardizing on two vendors allows Computer Services to handle PC support most efficiently, because each vendor has different mechanisms for ordering and support, different sets of drivers, different hardware and software support issues, and each has its own learning curve associated with providing support. In addition, standardizing makes it possible to create a system disk image, including all of our standard applications and drivers, and install this on a Dell or IBM/Lenovo system in about 90 minutes, versus doing hand installations, which take at least four to six hours. Further, Dell provides hardware support training and a streamlined method, available only to trained technicians, for ordering warranty and repair parts. Handling standard systems efficiently allows maximization of time available for other areas of support. Support on Dells and IBM/Lenovos includes: configuring, ordering, hardware setup, system software installation, installation of a standard suite of applications, installation of other applications by request, warranty work on Dells, management of warranty work on IBM/Lenovos through the campus, post-warranty repairs, system security support, and system and application software troubleshooting.
For PC systems other than Dells and IBM/Lenovos, support is typically limited to unboxing, assigning an IP address, adding the system to the computer science domain, connecting to the network, delivery, and providing CDs for installation of applications.
In addition, when there is a specific need for a research group to buy a non-standard system, Computer Services will provide general guidance on system configuration, process the paperwork, and provide limited hardware and software support as workload permits. This may include but is not limited to system setup, software installation, basic operating system and hardware troubleshooting, patching systems, and assisting with security. The amount of support to be provided on a given system is determined on a case by case basis.