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University of Washington

InCommon Collaboration Success Program Case Study

Executive summary

The University of Washington’s (UW) identity environment supports three academic campuses, four hospital campuses, multiple outpatient clinics, local hospital affiliates, and worldwide research partners. UW’s identity profiles are in the range of three million. UW-IT aims to provide users with a consistent identity experience regardless of where they interact with the university. The University of Washington Information Technology (UW-IT) focused on three goals during the Collaboration Success Program (CSP):

Collaboration Success Program logo
  1. Launching a new Grouper version onto the current system within a cloud environment by the end of 2023 and make the new version ready-to-use.
  2. Developing a plan to move existing group production service to the new Grouper version.
  3. Exploring COmanage Match and COmanage Registry.

The InCommon CSP led to some important alliances and collaboration with institutions like University of Virginia (UVA) and others, who provided valuable insight as UW-IT navigated a deeply entrenched, custom design and architecture. UVA and other CSP members offered support to UW-IT in sharing their own experiences using the same or similar platforms. UW-IT successfully implemented Grouper into its cloud-based environment and continues to work towards a seamless transition despite heavy reliance upon the existing system as a critical center of the UW-IT infrastructure.

Solution summary

UW started the CSP with the goal of addressing much needed upgrades to a heavily customized groups service system and answering questions about COmanage Registry and COmanage Match.

Trusted Access Platform features supported

Grouper, COmanage Match, COmanage Registry

The project

The UW-IT IAM team began by defining a plan for modernizing its outdated, custom-built group service. In the late 1980s, a customized architecture helped pave the way for Shibboleth and SAML. Now, the creators of these custom systems have retired, and the systems they created need an upgrade. 

UW-IT joined CSP to collaborate and solve these implementation challenges while managing a thriving and enormous identity system. The team created a list of action items, including the following:

The challenge

Upgrading Grouper presented the following challenges:

The result

UW-IT successfully completed part of its first goal of implementing a newer Grouper version within its environment. UW-IT also continues to successfully collaborate with other institutions thanks to the CSP program and created valuable relationships supporting both the new group system implementation and registry exploration. Their remaining goals are currently in process. Specific goals the team completed during CSP include:

Lessons Learned

  1. Ensure the IT team is fully resourced before starting the CSP program. Losing the UW-IT cloud engineer, along with several unfilled team positions, made it more difficult for UW-IT to advance its CSP goals when it had to manage other unrelated ongoing priorities.
  2. Take advantage of InCommon Academy software training. UW-IT team CSP participants used all CSP training credits, and everyone agreed the training was extremely valuable.

About About University of Washington

UW is a public institution founded in 1861. More than 60,000 students are enrolled across three larger campuses in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell, with a smaller campus in Rome. Around 42,000 of those registered are undergraduates, and 17,000 are pursuing graduate or professional degrees. The university’s main campus sits on 634 acres in Seattle. UW is ranked sixth in the world and second among public institutions, according to U.S. News’ Best Global Universities.

UW-IT IAM Project Team: 

Anne Tacazon, Assistant Director, IAM
Jonathan Pass, IAM Solutions Architect
Colin McCarthy, IAM Specialist
Andrew Markiel, IAM Software Engineer
Tracy Stenvik, IAM Software Engineer

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