How often do we experience a true alignment of people’s actions with their words? I bet most of us would say probably not often enough. The IT media is all abuzz with marketing noise about how cloud technology will transform IT, but they don’t always have concrete examples to point to. Check out this interesting project run by some pretty smart people who understand that by marrying open cloud technology with collaboration across multiple organizations they can truly transform IT service delivery.
Developing future-ready IT platforms for higher education in Norway
UNINETT operates networks and provides Internet, advanced computing, and technology services for universities, colleges and research institutions in Norway. An important part of UNINETT is its responsibility to examine new technology and explore what technology can provide to the education sector. With the UH-sky project, UNINETT has established a partnership to coordinate a common approach for cloud infrastructure. The intention is not to build a separate IT environment, but act as an advisor for architecture, layout, brokerage and consumption of cloud services in the education sector in Norway.
UNINETT Network Map showing peak traffic
Infrastructure as a Service
A critical aspect of the UH-sky project is collaboration involving the largest universities in Norway (University of Oslo, Bergen, Tromsø and NTNU) who are developing a new model where IT infrastructure can be delivered as a service across organizations. This cloud model will be tested as a foundation for future delivery of IT services in the education sector. UH-sky project documentation is available for viewing here. The project is contributing code to opensource via GitHub. As Technical Project Manager Jan Ivar Beddari explains:
The key drivers for the UH-sky project are similar to those highlighted by Gartner for why organizations should offer cloud services. We believe that by drawing on the expertise across multiple Norwegian universities and colleges to develop this new cloud model we can ensure better service quality, become more efficient and accelerate the speed with which ICT services can be delivered. By having ready-made cloud solutions and models it becomes much easier for users to get started with new services.
Software Defined services and networks
Dell was selected as one of the main providers and counselors for this project. The UH-sky platform is being built with Dell PowerEdge 13G servers (R630 and R730xd), Dell switches with Cumulus Linux software, and the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. Software-defined services and networks are a prerequisite, and the project made an active choice to use open source technologies. Dell and Red Hat’s approach and support for software-defined services and the open models was a key decision variable. This notion is supported by Beddari:
Dell and Red Hat are well established suppliers to all the major universities in Norway. We know their expertise and compute and storage solutions well, and are very satisfied having worked with them. As we move forward into the future we are very interested to be working with Dell and Red Hat to explore new software-defined and cloud models and believe Dell and Red Hat have very competent advisors to help us with the UH-sky project.
UNINETT and its UH-sky project provide an excellent example of how Dell actively collaborates with our customers, and this project is directly aligned with Dell’s leadership and support for open standards-based platforms and technologies. Dell will continue to advance open cloud and software-defined technologies with customers like UNINETT and partners like Red Hat, because fundamentally open standards-based solutions are the key for transforming IT systems and operations.
The evolution of Dell Red Hat cloud solutions just took another significant step forward with Red Hat’s release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 6. This release brings improved support for OpenStack Neutron networking, support for multiple LDAP backend and inter-operability with Red Hat Inktank Ceph storage – a technology Dell and many of our OpenStack cloud customers have strongly embraced. Our Dell engineering team is finalizing our validation work with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 6 now – watch for more news on this front soon.