Category Archives: Cloud computing

#fote13 Future of Technology in Education 2013

October 11th, Senate House, University of London, for this year’s FOTE. Random commentary:

Morning

Nicola Millard/Customer Experience Futurologist, BT: Clouds, Crowds & Customers. @docnicola. Customers. Students = consumers? The ‘Why can’t everyone be as easy as Amazon?’ syndrome. Critical: reduction of effort in things that have to do but don’t really value. Can we be as easy as Amazon to do business with? What is easy – what is business. Easy: reduce cognitive effort (finding stuff); physical (going places); emotional (frustration); time (ubiquitous impatience). Easy impacts vfm. Omnichannel customers – how do we manage customers who skip around channels. Link app, website, phonecall, email, F2F? How? Crowds. Collaboration – used to be called cheating. Ref: the prosthetic mind. No longer send naughty child to their bedroom, just where they want to be – <but wasn’t that the case years ago? Need to be very clear on what is really new, & what just appears new but fundamentally isn’t…definition of new?> Clouds. F2F can’t be replaced. <but who says it can/should be?> Seeing incredible flexibility in workspaces <but are most people seeing this? Again, have been hearing this for years…>

Alicia Wise/Director of Universal Access, Elsevier: Open Access: Challenges, Possibilities, Future Outlook. Developing business model. Rapid rise in R&D leads to rise in research, need for easy way to get it all out there <paraphrase!> Research = increasingly interdisciplinary; internationally collaborative & mobile; big data intensive.

Gwen Noteborn/Researcher, Maastricht University: Webcasts in Education: Mythbusters! Head of edl@b. Using mediasite/sonic foundry. Video collaboration software…The truth about webcasting! Is knowledge lost in translation? Research found not. Appreciation of/connection to teacher may be. Afraid seems to be just churning out a bunch of research results – most of findings intuitively available anyway. Will online recording replace F2F? No – social aspect. <Well, no, not comparing eggs with eggs, chalk & cheese, apples & pairs & all that – should have learnt from myth of TV replacing cinema – they are different things!>

Q&A: I only have one so far that I really won’t ask – “So, what else is new?”

CIO Fireside Chat. Yousuf Khan/CIO, Hult International Business School (Chair); Adrian Ellison/Director of IT, UWL; Richard Maccabee/Director, ULCC; Heidi Fraser-Krauss/IT Director, York; Cathy Walsh, Principal & CEO, Barking & Dagenham College. RM: trends – tensions between IT & T&L perspectives? HFK: can do technology change, but behavioural change hasn’t happened. <Doing Digital> AE: does Cloud change behaviours? <IT Governance/Weill & Ross – ‘to encourage desirable behaviour in the use of IT’> Staff – have encouraged behavioural change in students without changing themselves. CW: modelling value-based behaviours, senior management walking the talk. HFK: deliver systems, don’t think about what the person at the other end is doing, enough. AE: be sure that you really have senior management (& other) engagement. How do we decide what technology to choose? CW: not about technology. HFK: only interested in what it can do for me, just want it to work. <Useful, usable, & used> What’s exciting? HFK: ease of use. AE: gap between choice of tools/new students & tools in use in HE. HFK: death of email? Can twitter/facebook replace? What can? CW: simplicity & openness. Open access. HFK: easy & just works = requirement. AE: technology & stress. Stress – when delivered without ease of use. RM: factors for success. Formula for change: dissatisfaction with status quo, vision of goal, tangible first step. Advice for changemakers: AD – engagement & communication. SAMO. HFK: the way we see the world isn’t necessarily how recipients of solution see the world – solve their problem, not yours. Shouldn’t assume you know. CW: communication. Don’t just engage with one set of stakeholders. RM: humble & brave; single-minded & flexible. Avoid bunker mentality. Q&A: should we be less flexible? RM: in danger of losing flexibility but need to deliver services. Tricky balance. Innovation: management & staff blame each other for lack of innovation, but technology has changed everything, how do we shift? IT role to tease it out & play it back. <probably management want efficiency & staff want effectiveness> CW: senior management humility, again walk the talk, don’t take themselves too seriously, senior management disconnected = huge blockage.

Afternoon

<insert photograph of woman in blue lycra bodysuit & wig>

Technology in Education – The Case Against/Lindsay Jordan, Senior Lecturer, University of the Arts. The Cup Song from PitchPerfect – wasn’t expecting that…demonstrates how great the internet is for short bite-sized focused bits of learning. Then piano! – not learnt on internet, impossible (?) & also parentally not self-motivated. Some loss when not in an F2F environment. So what’s the difference? With F2F:

  • Space for the purely social. Time off task. Architected social spaces.
  • Forging (forcing) relationships, very hard to hide.
  • Reduced flexibility/reduced choice. Flexibility about when & where do stuff is not always a good thing. How to focus in the age of distraction.
  • Very hard to resolve problems online.
  • Online communication can bring out the worst in people. Lack of presence makes it easy to be a bit rubbish. Alone Together – Sherry Turkle.
  • Eventedness: synchronicity, uniqueness, movement, difference, aesthetics. One night only.
  • Sacrifice/commitment

How do we bring it back? Harvard – SPOCS (Small Private Online Courses) not MOOCS. Interventions in physical world.

Interesting stuff!

Revolution – Include Me!

Martin King/Head of IT services at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College (EHWLC). Enabling the disconnected to get online – here comes everybody. Biodiversity versus monoculture – education fosters the latter. Average is not normal. <but Steve Vai is not a great guitarist imho> Anyone can play guitar? Mmmm – yeah, but…anyone can learn how to play guitar, not the same thing. A mind is like a parachute, it doesn’t work unless it’s open – Frank Zappa. What happens with technology mediated culture? Exponential effects of network connectivity. Different, anyway!

Research data – bothersome burden or treasure chest? Kevin Ashley/Director, Digital Curation Centre.

Data deluge will oustrip the ability of technology to deal with it. Data must be recoverable to be reused.

A game of two halves – afternoon much more interesting stuff. & that’s me done & off down t’pub…

UCISA Cloud Computing Review – 31/10/12 Nottingham #uccr

Usual random notes that may be of interest…see Programme for access to presentations.

Simon Marsden/Edinburgh: Introduction

What’s in/what is a cloud? Standard definition. Gartner view: high security, privacy or competitive advantage – otherwise outsourced or offsite. But myths abound:

  • Costs will be predictable – not to start with!
  • Costs will be lower – no!
  • More resilient – if you make it so
  • Disaster recovery – as above
  • Assured performance – or noisy neighbours?
  • Don’t know where data is? – probably do

User perspective: I get what I want; it just works.

CIO challenges: not too many – scale, exit strategy, data loss, how to charge, integration. & need to be seen as part of the solution, not an obstruction to be bypassed.

Things to look at: Coursera, learning platform for MOOCS; Office 365; Unidesk shared helpdesk; elastic cloud; trust; app store; reliability; green.

Agility: key issue. Running MOOCS with Coursera for over 100k students, quick deployment. Important to be there at the start, couldn’t have done it themselves.

Technology Enhanced Learning cloud – hybrid of supported through to non-supported, but provided within app store – flexible way of choosing tools.

Resilience – Site24x7, full scale monitoring.

So Cloud enables: swift innovation, reduced costs, greater choice for users. Not an option: can be difficult to understand, needs leadership.

Great start!

Richard Maccabee/ULCC: Delivering cloud services to the sector: ULCC’s experience of the range of options

Is it good use of public money for every HEI to have its own data centre? (or two…) – probably not, but is it public money anymore? All about services to paying customers, perhaps, perhaps sadly.

Approach: OS; shared services; vendor partnerships; evolutionary; hybrid: supplier, based in the community.

Service portfolio includes middleware & applications: ESB; Digitary (DARE!); Agresso Finance System, for about 10 institutions.

About 300 customers, across the sector & significant number of FE.

Issue: single data centre, in London – not good choice. So second site commissioned for 12/13, & looking at partner for Cloud IaaS. ULCC data centre will become point of presence for the Cloud. First bid submitted for provision of full IaaS for FE college.

MMU: very good student-focused VLE built around Moodle but including distributed services.

Drivers: mobile; BYOD/DIY; increased customer expectations; SOA ref Nexus ESB/DARE/Digitary, important for SaaS. Looking into Student Systems. <oh right, hosted then?>

Good that SOA – & to my mind hence EA – still seen as key component.

Ed Carter/Leeds: YHMAN – A Data Centre Without Walls!

Not Ed’s fault, but have a feeling I may have heard this before!

8 Universities collaborating in shared virtual data centres: enable economies of scale, balance asset utilisation, meet carbon reduction commitments, enable growth, enhance service standards, adhere to stringent security arrangements. Built on JANET/YHMAN network. Not that far away! & JANET6 increases potential reach/scalability. Storage for research, big data; HPC capability.

So essentially, promise of Cloud = ‘EaaS’: Everything as a Service. The Virtual University – the ‘University In A Box’?

Pleasantly surprised, if I’ve understood this right, by transition of technical/network staff into service support. Backed up by supplier support – HP.

It works!

Shan Rahulan/janet: Janet Brokerage

Set up to: promote cloud; reduce hurdles to adoption; create efficiencies. Like YHMAN, applying network approaches to data centres/services.

Usual drivers as previously referenced; also noted that adoption/governance is formative, & integrating clouds not straightforward. Customers are in the Cloud space, institutions/IT depts aren’t (entirely, yet).

Cost savings: not proven; current costs not understood, so savings hard to define. Hard to compare like with like.

Working with BUFDG, UCISA, JISC & UUK on modelling costs – which should be helpful!

Also looking at Amazon & Dropbox to establish a sector offer.

Olly Butters/Leicester: Building BRISSkit on the Eduserv Cloud

BRISSkit – Biomedical Research Infrastructure Software Service kit. Funded by UMF Cloud initiative to deliver in the Eduserv Cloud.

Good practical example of delivery of a service in the Cloud.

Cloud challenges – like ‘Hard to give up hardware – I can’t go and kick it’. Interesting thought – can you kick a cloud?

Working through governance issues/toolkits.

Mini Panel Session: Shan Rahulan; Ed Carter; Olly Butters: Matt Johnson/Eduserv

What are the barriers? People still want their servers on their site (‘Can you kick it?’ ref A Tribe Called Quest, perhaps). Again, internal services not fully costed/full costs not understood.

Simon Marsden: you need a burning platform – agree entirely. For Edinburgh, this is agility. Must be a real business/service driver because otherwise won’t want to meet the costs of change – cost saving not enough.


Stephen Booth/Coventry: A Managed Storage Service on a Hybrid Cloud

Can no longer do ‘just an IT project’ – I thought it was quite a while since you ever could? Business not IT initiative. Business drivers: cost reduction; flexibility; enhanced support; DR. Importance of supplier/partner relationship – joint customer/partner management of project & service delivery – partner will not let it fail: so have to make sure they have some skin in the game.

John Waters/University of West London: The North Face of Office 365

The University formerly known as TVU. 12 years on the HEFCE at-risk register. Rebranded as UWL April 2011. Bit of a mess of overlapping/inconsistent systems for student services.

Wanted to move to functional Cloud-based Student Portal & facilities, rich use, back end integration, SSO, IDM etc.

Approach: generated SMT buy-in through Microsoft-led activities at TVP. Project team. Focus groups. Piloting & proofs of concept. Got some help! (Fulcrum). 3 parallel work streams: infrastructure; IDM & data migration; portal design & back-end integration, Agile/Scrum, .net into O365 Sharepoint.

How does it work? Create accounts in Cloud (SIS = Capita Unit-e) along with authentication. FIM & ADFS. Systems Integration – .net to Sharepoint. Some use of Lync.

What’s in it? See presentation.

Content & administration issues ref content from Schools. Feedback from students – overlap with groups in Facebook. Systems integration: interestingly, no harder than doing on-site.

We did it (within 5 weeks) & students like it. Say no more. & next Phase 2 – mobile, Lync, staff email, SSO for VLE & SIS, distance learning, etc. Phase 3 – August 2013 – further data integration, social features, business portals.

Fulcrum Worldwide for site customisations & systems integration.

Useful day – & now, publish & be damned, & out of here to catch that slow train to Southport…

#UCISA12 UCISA Management Conference 2012 Last Day, Last Post

Session1 – A cloud by any other name… Simon Daykin/CTO, Logicalis

Are we ready for cloud? From a technology perspective, yes. Loughborough – totally cloud. Transition to customer centric experience. janet brokerage. Really excited. Put your arms around that experience. Perfect storm. Immersive. iPad6. No longer central service that you can put your arms around. Lot of putting arms around things. Current approach is no longer viable way of delivering IT. Is this telling me anything? Can’t control the endpoint – so don’t try…liberate our services. Put all our services behind the firewall & then…put our arms around them! Should have seen that one coming. The general internet forms a core part of what we do! Noooo! Really? *fake surprised expression* Private cloud – that you need to wrap your arms around! Going forward. What I would say is. You can’t put your arms around a memory, can you put them around a cloud? Wrap them in a security blanket. Mutual authentication & posture. Collaborative & connected. Cool. Know what to do, just need to do it.

IT services in the HE sector: a private sector perspective, James Salmon/CIO, BPP

Global requirements for efficient, fast, standardised IS. Don’t start with technology – start with process! Actually, don’t start with process – start with people. Have to engage people first. People, process & technology – here we go again. We know the ducks, but can we get them in a row?

Review the data, understand the data, be the data…& then be out of here.

 

#UCISA12 UCISA Management Conference Day 1 Part 2

University Showcase – The Digital Academic Records Exchange (DARE) Shared Service – John Townsend/LJMU, Jonathan Dempsey/Digitary

Couldn’t blog on this ‘cos I was presenting it – but here’s the poster…

 

 

 

 

#UCISA12 UCISA Management Conference 2012 Day 1 Part 1

14th March 2012. At the Celtic Manor Resort Hotel, somewhere near Newport. Wondering whether or not to tackle the assault course outside my window. Maybe not. & then there’s the lobby…abseil, perhaps?

Session1: Welcome, Peter Noyes/Vice Chancellor, University of Wales, Newport

Working with business to create the Entrepreneurial University, with the best VLE that money can buy – that’ll have to be a new one then…clearly recognises the strategic importance of ICT, which is a good start.

Session2: Providing sustainable public sector ICT services for Wales, Gwyn Thomas/CIO for Wales

From technology to information…

Lot of commonality between HE & the rest of the public sector, as indcated by the content of the exhibition – but need to identify where collaboration adds value. Strategy of critical mass, not consensus – not everyone needs to agree with everything. Cloud: the critical mass is nearly there.

Building the social architecture on which the technical architecture will rest – sounds good. Devolved/collective leadership – don’t know what goes on in a scrum, but can’t take any part of it away. CIO Council for Wales – strategy. Delivery – regional. Public sector design authority – interesting idea – experts responsible for standards & architecture. Wonder how much authority it really has? Once for Wales is the default option. Social architecture – getting people together to work in common. Technical architecture flows from social. Banned the word pilot – had more pilots than the RAF – now seen as first steps, if don’t work, stop.

Technical governance – national architecture. Programme governance – regionally delivered. Benefits – locally realised. Sounds about right.

Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s job with yesterday’s tools – with yesterday’s concepts” – Marshall McLuhan.

Moving away from the institution to the person – person-based services.

Too many data centres – value of baselining, measuring – 24 with excess capacity, 19 with insufficient, must be better way of doing things.

Defining the approach for CEOs: 4 themes – buying better, using smarter, working together, working differently. & that’s the strategy. Discussion: ICT is just the enabler, what is it you want to enable?

Moving from lots of infrastructure & not many online services, to vice-versa. Balancing economies of scale with secure access. Base security on the nature of the services required, not vice-versa.

Everything is marching inexorably towards the cloud, on the cusp of a new kind of ICT department, little infrastructure, specialist apps, intelligent customer, technical governance & design, collaborative working, information not technology.

From systems to services! Well, whaddaya know!

To be valued, information must be: well designed & presented, trusted & authoritative, benchmarked against the best, rated by users, & worth something…

 

 

 

 


 

Janet Cloud Conference Part 3 #JanetCC

 Phil Richards/Loughborough University: The Business Case for Virtualisation

Couldn’t afford to refurbish new data centre – need 20 year ROI when IT needs only predictable for 5 years (5years? More like 2…) – went for local mini-pods. Resilient local cloud architecture – similar to what we run at LJMU. 

Also – hybrid cloud, with Logicalis, & Google Apps. 

So – estimates £460m pa on servers & storage – could we save 50% of this?

Useful to look at what suppliers have done themselves eg HP: reduced data centres from 85 to 6, applications from 6000 to 3000, saving $1Bn pa revenue; industrial scale = key. According to Berkeley University study, can get decreases in factors of 5 to 7. 

But…2 to 3 x more expensive than Loughborough local costs? Because offering PaaS & SaaS, not IaaS, & not using single resilient network. Currently focused on these more profitable areas.

Janet = national grid for the hybrid cloud? Should UK HE take the lead?

5th supplier – Logicalis – signed up since this morning, which is great. Key role for Brokerage in working with suppliers & driving the price down.

Chris Sexton/Sheffield: Security of Academic Data in the Cloud

Story of move to Google, staff & students.

Why? Poor student email service. Multiple staff email systems. Old servers. Unsupported calendar product. Mobile strategy. Added value. Pace of innovation. Carbon footprint. Service (filestore). Note ref LJMU: possibly more difficult when already running a quality email & calendaring service. Also in context where no Microsoft infrastructure.

Decision May 2009. Students 2009. Staff 2011. Configured different clients for staff email.

Open & transparent, but not making a big deal out of it – very good approach to change management! (Really now believe that a big problem with change management is doing change management ie starting assumption is that there will be resistance, so make a big deal of it & overreact in advance).

Major business change for staff from use of Oracle Calendar – engaged local departmental secretaries in making the change. 

Disruptive technology – so need to know what you’re trying to do with it.

Security. Mythology – cloud issues the same as local issues, but make more of a big deal out of it. Just for light relief (?): Google’s Director of Security Eran Feigenbaum is also a magician

Patriot Act: can access data of any company that has presence in the US. Sheffield decided risk ref google or Microsoft was sufficiently low as to be manageable. Issue isn’t where data is, but how processed – is it under Safe Harbor. Consulted Information Commissioner’s office to confirm.

Concern: Google can change things. Need to be aware of this, because they will.

Latest: moving to Google Docs, introducing Google+ & Google Talk. Will be instead of, not as well as, so should be savings.

 

Tim Marshall/Janet: In Conclusion

If it’s really going to add value, means radical change. Not a cloud but a hurricane. & a much more joined-up, focused JISC will help. 

Janet Cloud Conference – the Janet Offering #JanetCC Part 2

 The Janet Offering – Shan Rahulan, Janet Brokerage

So, why is what Janet is doing different to anybody else? Lot of stuff already in/outside the sector. Building on existing work. So? 

First offerings:  framework agreements with Dell, Liberata, eduserv, HP. 

Working with suppliers to put readiness/maturity models etc together.

What are Janet doing about desktop virtualisation? – complex area, difficult, don’t want to jeopardise success by taking on something too hard too early – but the audience want it!

Back to – what is Janet brokerage doing that no one else is? Lot of different sources for advice etc on this stuff. Tim Marshall – can’t keep duplicating work in current financial situation. JISC/Janet working to provide more focus, less duplication.