Develop a plan to identify how the IT infrastructure could be changed and managed so the IT budget is used more cost-effectively to increase and improve services.
A plan and roadmap that met the business needs to consolidate and save money, while facilitating the intrinsic need of freedom to exchange ideas and information.
Assisted the university to achieve each of its stated objectives across all levels of IT infrastructure, for greater flexibility and scalability, improved service levels and increased cost effectiveness.
An IT infrastructure plan was required to support the university’s strategic plan, which concentrates on the university being a leader in education and research excellence, supporting community development and achieving organisational excellence.
Aligned to the university’s business objectives, the IT infrastructure plan would be used as the basis for planning an IT program of works, to provide guidance and justification for future architecture decisions, and to assist with budgetary planning.
The plan was to identify how the university’s IT infrastructure could be changed and managed to improve service levels, mitigate operating risks, reduce IT operating costs, eliminate complexity, eliminate duplication and introduce flexibility. In particular, the university was keen to use its budget more cost effectively to increase and improve services, and so retain its standing as one of the state’s top three research institutions.
Drawing on our strategic planning expertise and experience deploying complex IT infrastructure solutions in the higher education sector, the plan met the business needs to consolidate and save money. What’s more, the plan facilitated the university’s intrinsic need of freedom to exchange ideas and information internally, with other institutions and with external organisations.
Our recommendations for the server infrastructure addressed the inherent complexities of an environment that had grown over time, in often disconnected directions. We identified standardisation, consistency, virtualisation and better operating practices as ways to achieve cost effectiveness while ensuring greater flexibility and scalability, as well as improved service levels. To address constraints in data centre space, power and cooling, we highlighted ways to optimise existing capacity and so ensure services could be sustained and added, delaying the expense of a longterm data centre solution.
For storage infrastructure, our recommendations enabled the university to define and offer a variety of data storage services, and ensured the data resided on the most cost-effective platform while meeting requirements for the data’s access, growth and retention.
The university had already commenced virtualisation of its network infrastructure. To support this, and maintain the integrity of the environment, we recommended investment in necessary support approaches, processes and management tools that would enable the environment to operate efficiently and cost effectively, at the required level of performance.
The solution we recommended for the database architecture, catered for different customer service level agreements, and provided the flexibility, performance and levels of high availability expected from a consolidated database environment. By consolidating hardware and databases onto new, cost-effective, x86- based commodity hardware that can be scaled over time, the university will realise financial benefits and have an environment that’s easier to manage.
To prepare the plan, business consultants and specialists in server infrastructure, storage infrastructure, network infrastructure and database architecture:
- reviewed relevant documentation
- interviewed business stakeholders for a full appreciation of business drivers and business requirements
- held workshops to gain an understanding of the key issues and needs relating to the current environment, and to gain an understanding of the desired future state
- reviewed information gathered about the existing architectures and environment, and developed a recommended future architecture, utilising industry experience, knowledge and best practices.
The plan was used as the basis for ongoing IT infrastructure planning. One year later, following development of its IT strategic plan, the university approached Frame to revise the IT infrastructure plan so that it addressed new requirements it had identified.