Borderless Computing – Catalyst for IT Change and Innovation via the relocation of the ACU Data Centre

The Australian Catholic University (ACU) is the fastest growing University in Australia with over 30,000 students that are distributed across multiple campus in several states. Its growth strategy is based in part on offering specialised courses which has created a growing demand from students, staff and researchers for increased network speeds, access and the innovative use of IT. These factors have led ACU IT to reconsider its approach to computer networking and its use of data centre services in order to ensure highly available, scalable, resilient, cost effective and timely IT service delivery.

In early 2013, The ACU began developing a new design and business engagement model. This approach focussed on the establishment of a hybrid “private” cloud environment that would be facilitated by the relocation of its Data Centres to an off-site co-host purpose built facility and the replacement of its intercampus network links with a new network topology based on high speed  fibre network rings between ACU’s campuses, its preferred third party data centres and its ISP – AARNet.

The “approach” relied on developing a partner relationship with its ISP – AARNET and outsourcing the design, technical and business project management assistance to AARNet Enterprise Services. AARNet project managed the design and implementation works to handover coordinating with a variety of parties including Fujitsu Data and Cloud Services, VIFX (ACU SAN and Vmware Operations Partner), EMC, CISCO, and the ACU and AARNet Operations and Infrastructure Development teams.

While The ACU is yet to complete its establishment of the “hybrid” private cloud environment, the supporting infrastructures of the outsourced Data Centre and Network are now in place for this to occur. The presentation though will focus on the Data Centre relocation, the network build, the benefits of these to the University and the new wave of service opportunities for on demand and pay as you go IaaS/PaaS/SaaS services that would mesh service offerings from service suppliers such as Amazon, Azure, Fujitsu and AARNet

The presentation will start with highlighting the drivers for investment and the sourcing of partners, followed by Project Management experiences from the solution design to implementation plan coordination and the actual migration itself where technical, human resource and communications factors come together. The talk will also cover the documentation and ITDR aspects that are also important when supporting and monitoring data centres off campus post migration.

The talk will also briefly cover shared experiences of the use of AARNet Smart Cloud Bench for benchmarking virtual machines from cloud providers which for ACU was of particular interest in providing visibility to their third party operator VIFX’s performance compared with commercial cloud providers.

The talk will close with thoughts and discussions on the pros and cons of managing multiple partners and use of outsourced providers and aims to share best practice to help universities achieve outcomes in cost and time effective ways.

A 25 minute short talk is recommended for the QUESTnet (Queensland Education, Science & Technology Network) technical and project management audience and would best be supported in either Cloud Services or Strategic Procurement sessions. This talk will be jointly presented by Will Daniels (ACU) and IuPati Tumaalii (AARNet).

Iupati Tumaalii
AARNet

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