Friday, 4 March 2011

Virtual ABBA

Today was a departmental meeting, and we were lucky to have the Registrar address us. He gave an excellent overview of the current situation facing us and other Universities, and the role that we can play in helping the University of Sheffield move forward. He talked about the uncertainty facing the sector, and how the successful Universities will be the ones that can seize opportunities by being agile and flexible. The need to promote collaboration and partnerships was emphasised, and how communication and staying connected will become more and more important.  As student fees rise, then the student's expectations will change, and we'll need to understand them and try and meet, or in the words of Disney, exceed them.

That was followed by a session on "Virtualisation: the new reality" delivered by Dave Speake, whch explained the progress of our virtualisation agenda - absolutely vital work which is usually completely hidden from our users, and sometimes from the rest of the department.  Pre 2010 we had around 200 physical servers whereas now we have 70 physical computers and 110 virtual ones, and by the end of this year we should have 50 physical ones and 200 virtual machines. The main advantages to us of this are:
  • It's cheaper than buying and running physical machines
  • Easier to manage
  • Uses less electricity
  • More flexible
  • More reliable
  • More functional
  • Quicker to set up
We've also been doing a lot of work virtualising our discs We've gone from 15 different types of disc boxes with loads of discs of all types in individual computer to 2 physical disc enclosures and nearly all of our storage on NetApp discs with all of the benefits listed above. Some great work by the Infrastructure Team.

We then had a look back on what we'd achieved this year, and what we are planning to do next year, which will be the subject of another post - too long for this one!

Finally, the all important announcement of who'd won the ABBAs - the Above and Beyond Awards. I'd decided at the last minute to include pictures of all the nominees and winners, but could only get my hands on ones from parties so nearly everyone had a silly hat on, or a drink in their hand!

The winners were:

Outstanding collague Award:     John Ollerenshaw
Unsung hero Award:                  Jayne Halsey
Team Award:                             The SAP Basis team, Neil Campbell, Andy Turner and James Ibbotson

Well done to all, and the rest of the nominees.

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