University of Michigan
News for Faculty and Staff

August 18, 2017

A look at ITS' Knox Center, Neighborhood IT and M Cloud

October 13, 2014

A look at ITS' Knox Center, Neighborhood IT and M Cloud

Topic: Campus News

Editor's note: This is the second installment in a monthly series on information technology that highlights services, projects and ideas playing a role in the delivery of world-class computing and digital resources to all U-M campuses. Last month focused on Michigan IT and MiWorkspace. This month spotlights the new Knox Center Adaptive Technology Computing Site, Neighborhood IT and M Cloud.

New Knox Center

After a tremendous amount of planning and work by Information and Technology Services, U-M Libraries, Construction Services and others, the relocated and redesigned James Edward Knox Center Adaptive Technology Computing Site (Knox Center) is officially opening this month.

The Knox Center is an accessible computing site for students registered with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities as well as a source of computer accommodation information for the campus.

The new space is designed to better address the current and anticipated needs of individuals with disabilities, including improved quiet space, sophisticated adjustable tables and a private area for using speech recognition and conducting confidential evaluations.

A rededication ceremony is planned for 2:30-4:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Shapiro Library, Room 2064. The ceremony will include tours and refreshments, as well as presentations from a variety of individuals, including family members of James Knox, who pioneered technology accessibility at U-M. 

This event is part of Investing in Ability Week, the university's annual series of events and presentations in October that celebrate the accomplishments of people with disabilities and educate the community on important issues related to disability.

For more information, contact Jane Vincent, Knox Center Manager, at 734-936-3794 or jbvincen@umich.edu.

Neighborhood IT

Neighborhood IT is the on-site desktop support presence for MiWorkspace, the suite of desktop services that includes printing, network connectivity, storage, security, software and also desktop support. These are ITS staff members located in units throughout campus who provide prompt, personalized and desk-side customer service to faculty and staff.

Having Neighborhood IT staff located in units promotes rapid response times and enhances relationship-building between the desktop-support IT employees and individuals who work in those units.

Most staff who join Neighborhood IT from campus units continue to sit in their same locations, although most cross-train with other neighborhood IT teammates to provide support and coverage for their unit customers. Each neighborhood consists of six to 12 staff members and a Neighborhood IT manager, depending on the units supported and the geographic locations.

Neighborhood IT staff members partner with many ITS teams, including the ITS Service Center, to provide shared service support. They also work with MiWorkspace engineers who build, maintain, monitor, and enhance Windows and Macintosh platforms for the service, sharing access to the tools necessary to fulfill customer requests and needs.

Most importantly, Neighborhood IT staff and managers partner with unit IT staff and leadership to work as a team to support the IT needs of the faculty, staff and students in their units.

M Cloud

M Cloud is the U-M offering of public cloud services to the campus community. The service enables the community to more easily consume public cloud services by simplifying billing and providing account management and other support services.

Available on the Ann Arbor, UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint campuses, M Cloud currently includes access to Amazon Web Services under an institutional enterprise agreement. The agreement allows faculty, staff and students to opt-in to use AWS's cloud-based IT infrastructure services under a U-M Master Account, which allows greater protections than the standard AWS click-through license terms.

Subscribers to M Cloud use a shortcode to pay for their AWS usage. Over time, subscribers may achieve potential rate discounts through aggregated usage. Access to additional public cloud services through M Cloud are expected in the future.

Subscribing to M Cloud AWS services is easy. Simply go to services.it.umich.edu/m-cloud and follow the instructions there to link to the university's Master Account or create a new one. Once this change is made, any associated credit card or P-card number no longer will be charged.

AWS customers using Reserved Instances or who have AWS Educational Credits should not take part in the institution's consolidated bill. In the short term, customers should use invoice billing or another method of payment. To ensure protections under the U-M enterprise agreement, contact the ITS Service Center at its.umich.edu/help.

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