Monday, 11 April 2011

Lift to the Cloud

Last Friday I was in London at the HEFCE offices in Centrepoint for a Cloud Advisory Committee meeting. Not sure how I've managed it, but this was the first time I'd been to the HEFCE offices, and the first time I'd encountered a lift with no floor buttons inside. You get a visitor card, pre-programmed with the floor you're visiting, scan it through a reader, are told which lift to go to, get in it, and it takes you to your floor. Heaven knows what happens if you get in the wrong lift. Weird.

Anyway, the meeting. Probably more important than the lift. It was mainly concerned with progress on a suite of projects funded as part of the University Modernisation Fund. £12.5m has been allocated to the Shared Services and Cloud programme and it's being managed by the JISC, and overseen by the Advisory Committee. There's two strands - Shared IT Infrastructure and Shared Services for Administration. Good description of what both strands consist of is here, and in summary:

Shared IT Infrastructure
  • A broker service to help procure shared virtual server and data centre capacity
  • A core virtual server infrastructure (cloud)
  • Data Management Tools
  • HE Research data management applications to be deployed as SAAS (software as a service)
Shared Services for Administration
  • A specialist team to support HEIs in procuring and implementing admin applications
  • An Enterprise Service Bus (not sure what stops it will call at...) in the cloud linking particularly to student record systems
  • A shared Research Management and Administrative Application (RMAS)
  • A service to support electronic resource management
  • A service for the secure distribution of electronic documents
Progress reports received and discussed for all projects, and a communications plan received. Audiences for the comms plan is important - all of these projects will need senior level buy-in from VC, PVC and COO level, but as it was pointed out, will need support and promotion by us IT dept to make them actually work.

Exciting developments. Will keep you updated as news comes out.

No comments: