Thursday, 9 February 2012

JANET Cloud conference, outsourcing your datacentre

Today I'm at the JANET Cloud conference in London, speaking later today on our move to cloud with particular reference to security.

First session is from Middlesex University. They have 52 staff, and 37 hot desks. Everyone hot desks, including the senior staff and they can book hot desks in half day slots. They also work from home, and come together for project work. It makes them realise what they have to deliver themselves and what they can get third party suppliers to do. They have outsourced their datacentre and server management.Their data centre is based with IBM, it is Tier 4 and they use 10 racks at 18kw. It's about 8miles from campus. IBM staff do the tape backups. Middlesex can get into it, but very seldom do.

Also have a DR centre with them in Warwick, only 2 racks, 80 miles away. They own some of the hot equipment, but rest is shared and has significantly reduced costs.  There is some small amount of equipment on campus to handle local stuff eg printing. Only 5 racks.

Have virtualised almost everything, about 90%. Use VMWare.

Data centres joined up by virgin network to push data around, not JANET. Main data centre is then joined to JANET.

Wanted to move staff away from looking after hardware, patching etc, and have them looking after applications. IBM monitor hardware 24/7/365. They do all of the patching, Middlesex look after applications. Remote support is provided out of India, patching done locally. They also patch the SAN. There's a service and change management process in place.

Service and contract management very important. Terms and conditions, change management, charging, DR plans, DPA, security controls etc all need agreeing and documenting.

Exit strategy is looking for tier 4 DC with low PUE, servers and storage on demand, delivered using multi tenanted architecture and connected to JANET. Because everything is documented, should be easy to move. Have a defined set of requirements. Will no longer own hardware. Very liberating!

Why have they done it?
Uncertain Estates strategy. Unsuitable space allocated, power and air conditioning not maintained.
Didn't want staff to be doing patching. Needed them to work on significant projects which deliver visible business benefits to students and staff.
Budget pressures.
These sort of technology skills can be obtained from outside the university, don't need to be internal.
Total cost of ownership much lower if outsource. It isn't cheaper to run DC in house if you look at all costs. Focus on institution cost, not just IT cost.
Global 24/7 aspirations of University not viable on current University staffing.

Issued tender in January 2009, contract in place September, migrations finished by July 2010, transition complete January 2011.

Lovely quote from Paula, " moving a a data centre's a bugger".

Lessons learnt:
Shape and know your service contract- don't rely on supplier to do due diligence
Know your baseline configuration and technology, it's your exit strategy
ITIL practice is key

The cloud is maturing and stoppable, plan for it.
Why put high bandwidth services on campus, eg video content, if your students and staff are accessing them from off campus

For users it's the service that's important, not the location.

Need to help technical people let go, show them that there 's more interesting roles to have. Letting go is hard, and trusting a third party to do stuff you've been used to doing is hard. But it gets easier with practice!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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