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Virtual Server


University IT offers managed virtual servers (also knowns as virtual machines or VMs) as an alternative to managed physical servers. This service takes advantage of virtualization technology to host multiple virtual servers, each of which functions as a complete and independent server, on a single physical server.

This service offering is available with corresponding systems administration support agreements from Technology Consulting. University IT also offers VMs which can be managed by individual departments.

The VMs are classified according to the security standards of low, medium, and high risk.

There are no set sizes for VMs. They are charged depending on the CPU and memory required. Note that the reservation is the minimum that will be made available — all VMs will share any excess capacity within the virtualization environment. All VMs include 32GB of disk storage, primarily intended for the operating system. Additional storage is available at standard rates.

Description of Services


The virtual server hosting service includes a farm of hosting machines and a central management server, all running VMware virtualization software. A VM can be one of the following operating systems:

  • Windows 2003
  • Windows 2008 (recommended)
  • Debian 6.0 (Squeeze)
  • Ubuntu (latest version)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6

Installation and Deployment

The University IT System Administration team is responsible for creating new VMs in accordance with the Linux or Windows administration services.  Please see the System Administration service pages for details on how the operating system of a VM can be managed. The service at that level is identical across VM and standalone hardware.

Ongoing Support

The University IT Systems Administration team will:

  • keep the VMware software patched
  • Monitor the overall virtualization environment to verify resource availability in accordance with the Linux or Windows administration service descriptions
  • Migrate servers between hosting machines if necessary; this will often be handled automatically by the VMware management console

Support requests that fall outside of those listed above will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may incur additional costs.

It is expected that all application and system changes that may impact services will adhere to standard Change Management policies as specified in the Service Agreement. Please note: Migration of a VM from one hosting machine to another does not require the creation of a Change Management Request.  Clients should submit any non-impacting or non-urgent system requests via HelpSU.   Exceptions to address emergency situations should be handled via notification of the IT Operations Center. HelpSU and notification procedures are specified in the Service Agreement. 

Non-urgent and low severity HelpSU tickets will be assigned within 8 business hours. The client can expect an acknowledgement via email that states either:

  • the request has been assigned and additional information is required in order to complete the request
  • the request has been assigned and a target timeframe as to when the request might be completed
  • the request has been assigned and completed

Completed requests will be indicated via a ticket status of “resolved”.  Routine support requests are typically resolved within 24 hours of assignment.  Clients will receive email notification when a request has been resolved.


Security policy is put forth by the University. The systems administration team will adhere to all security policies documented in the Stanford Administrative Guide. Please refer to the following link for any specific security policies related to systems administration:

The following link describes the different data classifications as described by the Information Security Office:

Risk Classifications

Monitoring and Alerting

Monitoring of the environment is 24x7x365 and will be done with two monitoring tools:

  • Virtual Center - monitors each hosting server and the resource utilization of each VM
  • System Center Operations Manager - monitors the Management Console


Operational documentation for this service is hosted internally to University IT.  Clients may receive a copy of the documentation upon request. For security reasons, we do not make it publicly available.

Responsibility Matrix

The Responsibility Matrix indicates whether University IT or the client is ultimately responsible for performing the listed task. In instances where there are check marks (✓) in both columns, both the client and University IT must coordinate their efforts to ensure the successful completion of the task. It is not the intent of any Responsibility Matrix to absolutely define every process, function or task performed as a contracted function.

Virtual Server (Managed) Client University IT
Keep client and support contact information current on Service Agreement online
Creation of OrderIT requests for new VMs  
Creation of new VMs  
Patching server virtualization environment  
Forecast resource requirements
Use Change Management System to schedule server maintenance  
Follow standard hardware replacement cycle for servers  
Monitor, manage and report on server performance  
Track server license compliance  
Provide information on whether VM holds High Risk Data  
Identify storage requirements  

Manage storage assets

Define backup requirements  
Report all service-affecting events and participate in University IT incident management process  
Resolve HelpSU tickets  
Adhere to incident management escalation procedures  
Maintain current status on open problems  
Provide status and updates on open incidents and problem resolution  
Perform problem analysis as requested  
Participate in problems analysis if needed  
Implement recommendations coming from root cause analysis as appropriate  
Provide incident/problem trend analysis