User friendly IT network which enables students & teachers, empowers them with knowledge to facilitate enactment.
IT infrastructure – Key Features
Entire campus of 13 Acres is securely Wi-Fi enabled
Free, unlimited access to internet for all stakeholders from inside the campus
Internet content filtering at firewall
Secure campus with smart card based automated entry system with turnstile gates
One of the first institutes to make internet available to students. Web cafe started in 1995
First to start its own website
Extensive focus on IT as an enablement tool
Enterprise grade IT infrastructure
Well equipped, professional, server room
Multiple redundant leased lines for internet
Redundant power backup for servers
Express feeder from MSEB for continuous power
Automated tape library based data backup & archival
Fiber optic network backbone connecting all buildings in campus
VPM ( Thane ) host's its own website and email servers
Online payment gateway for payments of fees, seminar bookings, publication purchases etc.
IT Infrastructure – Video Conferencing Facilities
Professional video conferencing facilities with Polycom equipment using ISDN or IP
Intra campus, inter institute, video conferencing with each building conference hall connected with multi point Polycom Video Conferencing system.
Institute Management ERP software
In 2002 VPM, Thane decided to convert its Oracle+forms windows based 'Institute Management ERP Software' to open source. VPM paid for and got it converted to Linux + Postgresql + Apache Tomcat based web application which caters to all institutes and locations under VPM, Thane umbrella.
Subsequently the company which made the software has ceased to exist. Still because of its open source nature we are able to support, modify and upgrade the software ourselves. This has also allowed us to build on the software additional applications such as Icard Printing, Online Admission, Porting of users data to Library database etc.
Next big project was to limit windows based pc's to as required basis.
Dr. VNBRIMS IT lab and office were equipped with Linux thin clients based on LTSP.
This has now evolved into a home built SAN with DRBD and GFS serving three servers in Redhat Cluster Suite with LVS frontend with no single point of failure configuration setup. This setup now supports hundreds of low power thin clients which boot a small footprint Linux from 32mb DoM. These thin clients are installed in all offices and libraries, reading halls etc.
OpenOffice is used as the office application suite. Windows based PC's are only provided where there is a specific need due to curriculum, software or hardware.
Campus licenses for required number of windows desktop and server OS as well as Office Suite are purchased and renewed every year.
This has resulted in tremendous savings in terms of hardware & software costs as well as power savings. Uptime is much better as solving a desktop call involves a simple replacement of the thin client and subsequent offline repairs.
Library Information System
Recently VPM ( Thane ) launched another first of its kind project for union catalouge of all public libraries in the Konkan region in Maharashtra. It's hosted in house at VPM's Thane campus in a separate domain www.granthalaya.org.
This project is completely built on the open source LIS software Koha with Linux server, Perl, Mysql database and Apache webserver.
VPM ( Thane ) is actively pursuing migration of all its libraries to Koha.
VPM Encyclopaedia on Management
Recently VPM ( Thane ) launched VPM’s Encyclopaedia on Management.
This project is completely built on the open source software MediaWiki which is the same software that drives the famous wikipedia site.
The encyclopaedia is hosted on inhouse servers and is available from internet through the website encyclopedia.vpmthane.org
Inhouse use of other FOSS projects
VPM Thane believes in FOSS philosophy. and is committed to using and promoting FOSS. FOSS pervades all aspects of IT usage at VPM.
VPM uses several other FOSS projects such as Joomla, Moodle etc internally to provide best of contents and facilities to its staff & students.
VPM also subscribes to a number of database services such as JSTOR, JART, PLOS, Manupatra, MUSE etc. Access to these are free for all stakeholders on campus.
Many of these services restrict access to IP's assigned to our campus. In order to provide access to these databases to our registered stakeholders from VPM's other campuses or home, we have implemented a Squid based proxy service which authenticates the users and allows them access.