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.
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.
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…