UCD IT ARCHITECTURE. Executive Summary ( )

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1 UCD IT ARCHITECTURE Executive Summary ( ) Prepared by: On behalf of: UCD Computing Services Date: January 2004 Unit 2054 Citywest Business Campus Dublin 24, Ireland. Tel: Fax:

2 1 Executive Overview 1.1 Background This document is the report of an extensive, formally managed, study of the existing UCD computing environment by outside experts in cooperation with the UCD Computing Services staff. Driven by the requirements emanating from the UCD Electronic Communications and Information Technology Strategy (Jan 2003) and the direct input from the users of IT services, the report recommends a technical architecture and implementation plan which will provide UCD with the reliable, secure high performance computing environment needed for the future. 1.2 Project Remit and Report The remit of the project was to define and cost a viable IT architecture for a 3 to 5 year period, which would address both current IT issues and establish a sound basis for future growth and development. In answering this remit, the report proposes a three phased implementation approach: Phase 1 Achieve reliability & performance The report recognises that there are issues of performance and reliability which need to be addressed immediately. It therefore proposes a number of short term improvements, which can be implemented without compromising the long term architecture design and implementation. Phase 2 Cater for growth & change The essential issues facing UCD relate to the growth in use of EICT services and the level of change anticipated over the duration of the plan. Phase 2 is explicitly aimed at addressing the implications of such expansion. This will require an IT architecture which provides high levels of availability and reliability, with implications for network infrastructure, scale and design of data centre services, and a new level of operational monitoring and management. Phase 3 Provide redundancy & recovery facilities The third phase of the architecture focuses on increasing redundancy and implementing recovery and business continuity facilities. It also consolidates the move to an Enterprise Data Centre, and fully redundant network. The proposed plan was established following consultation with key users, and is designed to address the clearly identified challenges facing IT within UCD. The need to consider immediate demands and to provide a stable environment is of paramount importance. However, the EICT strategy and future UCD plans require a new scale of IT services and hence a new approach to their design and management. These changes are driven both by outside influences: advances in technology, and a very diverse user population; and by the new strategy for teaching and research at UCD. Ward Solutions Page 2 of 10 UCD Computing Services

3 1.3 Level of Growth & Change The level of growth over the life of the proposed IT architecture is best illustrated by looking at the user population and the network infrastructure expansion. Traditionally, the number of users accessing IT services has been restricted by the number of physical desktop PCs provided on campus. This view is completely changed by the growth in student owned PCs, both at home and through laptop programmes. The expectation is that there will be One PC per user rather than a fixed limit on devices Home PCs Laptops UCD Desktops Figure 1 Growth of User Computing Devices Figure 2 Growth of Network Connection Points Refurbished Network Points (cuml.) New Building Network Points (cuml.) Baseline Network Points The size of the physical network infrastructure, continues to grow, and will expand towards a One network point per user scenario. This is driven by new building development, the establishment of Research Institutes and the ongoing refurbishment of networks in older buildings. The impact of these changes is that while the total number of students and staff in UCD remains stable, the use of IT services has doubled over the past 3 years and will double again over the next 3 to 5 years. This reflects the intensity of use of electronic material and applications in all areas Teaching, Research and Administration with increasing pressure on storage capacity, network bandwidth and performance. 1.4 Conflicting Demands of a Complex Business The diversity of users and activities within UCD result in a wide variety of demands for IT services. These range from basic facilities such as , Internet and Business applications; to the requirements of research groups for open network access and the ability to host a variety of servers locally on the network. The result is a conflict of requirements which cannot easily be accommodated by a single set of services and infrastructure. The demands of one group for open and unrestricted access, may compromise the performance of a core service essential to all. Equally, because of the diversity of use, it is difficult to predict load or to plan for orderly expansion. Ward Solutions Page 3 of 10 UCD Computing Services

4 1.5 Weaknesses in the current environment The existing IT infrastructure and architecture is the result of organic growth over a long period as UCD computing evolved from the early mainframe, to user based PCs. As a result, it has a mix of technologies, some well suited for their task and some obsolete. The basic premise is a one size fits all set of services. Recent developments suggest that different Faculties, Institutes and User Groups require individual sets of services, with scope for diversity and varying pace of change. The operational window for many services has expanded to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; while the core IT services and support are still limited to office hours. Current systems and infrastructure were certainly not designed to provide the level of availability expected in the future as identified by the users and the EICT strategy. The network was conceived as an open environment, with access for academic staff to publish services, and to collaborate freely with other institutions. As such, there are minimal controls placed on the configuration of user equipment and the scope of services. While this is a necessary requirement for research activities, it can compromise performance overall and impact business critical applications. The long term trend is for open access to students with laptop PCs, also with limited control on the configuration of the equipment. The architecture must therefore cater for essentially public access requirements, while maintaining high levels of performance of core systems (e-learning, etc..) The conflicts can be summarised in the following way: All UCD IT users need Stability & Reliability of IT Services: That is, they need network connectivity, basic applications and a stable environment within which to operate. This core set of services is expected to be available 99% of the time, within a 24x7 operational window. But... Many also need Flexibility, Local Services and High Performance That is they need to configure their own services, have reasonably open access to the network, use additional technology and applications within their own Department or Project. The implications for the architecture are that it must cater for: Unrestricted network access User run servers & services Anytime / Anywhere availability High performance & bandwidth New devices & technologies Balancing this diversity and designing an architecture which can accommodate the spectrum of requirements is a significant challenge. Ward Solutions Page 4 of 10 UCD Computing Services

5 1.6 Overview of the proposed Architecture Based on the issues identified, the key goals of the new architecture were established: a) Meet the user requirements and objectives of the EICT strategy b) Provide the essential availability and performance levels c) Accommodate growth and change i.e. scalability d) Address the conflicting demands balancing flexibility and reliability The fundamental principle adopted in the new architecture is to divide the enterprise architecture into physical, logical and functional boundaries (zones) comprising: University campus locations Server farm locations Disaster recovery locations Wide area network and Internet backbone This approach separates servers from local networks, research zones from regular desktop computing, and provides the means to limit the impact of each activity on the performance of another area. While all the zones utilise the same physical network infrastructure, they are separated as virtual networks. Operations, Monitoring & Management Framework Open network zone (in UCD) Campus location Campus location Main UCD Servers Research Computing Enterprise Servers & Services Internet Campus location Recovery Servers UCD Backbone Network Figure 3 Logical Representation of Enterprise Architecture The architecture proposes that each zone would have redundant connections to the UCD Wide Area network backbone, and to the Internet. It also provides an open network zone which would be available where unrestricted external access is required. A separate Research computing server zone allows for dedicated housing of research computing equipment, with the potential for greater bandwidth and guaranteed availability levels. Within the logical Server Blocks, five key service groups have been identified for consolidation of the IT infrastructure and implementation of redundant, high availability hardware: Access and personal services: UCD Connect, , calendar & network files Business servers: Student systems, financial systems, HR systems E-Learning and content servers: Blackboard and UCD Web sites Research IT facilities: Hosting & network services File / Print and Application servers Ward Solutions Page 5 of 10 UCD Computing Services

6 1.7 Primary Architecture Recommendations Based on the overall architecture described above, the project has identified eight key objectives and a series of actions required to implement these objectives. They are aimed at achieving the zoning of the network, providing highly available environments for the key Server Blocks, and ensuring the necessary monitoring and management is in place to meet the required service levels. Monitoring & Management Network Zones independent Wide area backbone network Server Groups High Availability Recovery Facility Figure 4 Summarised Architectural Recommendations Access Services, UCD Connect & Objective: To provide a fast, reliable, secure environment for access to EICT services both on and off campus. Implement and scale UCD Connect environment to provide access, and basic services from any location Implement common authentication & authorisation service Provide physical access points at campus locations wireless & wired to accommodate growth in user devices Business Servers Objective: To provide a secure, high performance, redundant environment for business critical services (such as Finance, Payroll and Student Registration.) Consolidate server environment to support current services and initial expansion Replace hardware with new environment to provide necessary scale, performance and redundancy to support ASPIRE project goals Ward Solutions Page 6 of 10 UCD Computing Services

7 1.7.3 E-Learning & Content Servers Objective: To provide the information technology infrastructure to support e-learning and electronic content requirements. Scale e-learning environment (Blackboard) to support growth and to provide redundancy Phase out On-line Classes environment & migrate Plan future platform for web and content management Research Services Objective: To provide the flexible IT infrastructure required to support Research and to allow flexibility in deploying experimental and advanced technology projects. Create shared location for deployment of research servers with dedicated bandwidth, power and support facilities Provide network services catering for research projects Provide open network area for experimental projects Provide access mechanism for electronic journals & content File / Print / Application Services Objective: To provide reliable and secure file, print and application services for teaching and personal use. Review file / print / application technology environment Provide distribution facilities for software ftp & CDROM, Terminal Services Plan application requirements with individual Faculties & deploy locally or centrally as appropriate Implement personal & group file access via UCD Connect Networks & Infrastructure Objective: To ensure the availability of a reliable, fast network with redundancy for each campus and Server Block. Implement network Zones for each campus and server group Implement wide area backbone for interconnectivity Implement redundant connections for sites & server groups Introduce 24x7 monitoring & management Provide separate & extended network facilities for Research Move experimental network use to open zone Ward Solutions Page 7 of 10 UCD Computing Services

8 1.7.7 Recovery Facility Objective: To provide the IT infrastructure required to ensure the necessary level of business continuity for the University. Investigate options for recovery site (e.g. UCD campus, HEAnet, commercial) Select site & implement initial recovery hardware with network and access facilities (for selected services) Monitoring & Management Objective: To implement the operational processes necessary for the proposed IT architecture, and reach the new target availability and reliability standards. Automate monitoring & escalation activities, with 24x7 response for key infrastructure Initiate project to improve operational procedures based on industry standards such as ITIL Create Enterprise Data Centre 2.8 Implementation Plan & Costs The successful deployment of the proposed IT architecture depends on a combination of the physical infrastructure (the servers & networks which provide the necessary availability and performance), the design and configuration of the environment to reduce interaction between conflicting activities (the zoning), and the implementation of appropriate monitoring and management processes consistent with the enterprise data centre philosophy which is the aim of the proposed architecture. These three elements are each essential i.e. High availability infrastructure, New network configuration with zoning Monitoring and management procedures The projects identified for each phase of the implementation are designed to ensure that each aspect of the architecture is given sufficient weight. In particular, the implementation of new configurations and the transition to new monitoring and management are, of their nature, time consuming and often neglected for the more tangible infrastructure upgrades. For this reason, short term measures to improve infrastructure are identified in Phase One, in order to give the necessary time to implement configuration changes and new operational procedures. Phase One Projects These focus on the short term performance improvements and long term design changes, including operational procedures: Improve current network reliability, redundancy & building refurbishments Improve current server reliability add redundancy Implement network and server zoning performance & scalability Improve monitoring & management procedures (ITIL) Implement common authentication service Implement access facilities to cater for mobile devices & changing user needs Ward Solutions Page 8 of 10 UCD Computing Services

9 Phase Two Projects These focus on adding key infrastructure blocks; providing high availability servers; and implementing redundant network connectivity. Transitioning to an Enterprise data centre should proceed in tandem with these projects: Continue new WAN / MAN and add further network redundancy Implement enterprise data center procedures & processes (ITIL) New business servers design, tender & implement Scale & consolidate portal/ environment tender & implement Provide Research IT facility hosting environment, network & services Implement fully redundant, scalable e-learning environment Phase Three Projects Enterprise data center, with associated monitoring and management Disaster recovery / business continuity facility Implementation Schedule A draft implementation schedule covering the first 3 years of the architecture has been prepared at a high level. This schedule reflects the over-riding priority of improving and extending the network infrastructure, as this impacts on the performance and reliability of all services. Initial work on server infrastructure is also planned for the early stages of the architecture, together with key services for authentication, management and security. Summary of Costs The projects have been costed over a 5 year period and broken down into 3 major areas: Technical Architecture: Network Refurbishment: Recurrent Costs: Covering the implementation of the new IT Architecture. Covering the replacement of all legacy network cabling. Estimating the ongoing cost of refreshing the technology. As the continuing presence of older cabling in buildings causes very significant performance issues, this refurbishment work is an essential part of the complete implementation. 1) Technical Architecture Sub Total: 9.5 mil Comprising: (EU 000) Network Backbone,WAN, Zoning, Wireless 3,200 Authentication, Monitoring & Management 900 Business Architecture 850 Research Computing 1,200 elearning Architecture 650 UCD Connect 1,350 File, Print & Applications 450 Storage 800 Other ( RIS & small servers ) 150 2) Network Refurbishment (2004/08) Sub Total EU 5.5 mil 3) Equipment replacement cycle (post 07) EU 1.5mil pa Total five year costs: EU15mil Ongoing recurrent costs: EU1.5mil The five year cost breakdown is as follows: Total 3.37 mil 3.64mil 3.13mil 2.45mil 2.35mil mil Ward Solutions Page 9 of 10 UCD Computing Services

10 1.9 Benefits of the Solution The proposed architecture provides the necessary infrastructure to support and deliver the key IT services identified as essential to the University. It will enable the implementation of UCD s EICT strategy which sets out a plan for IT to support the teaching, research and business objectives of the University, comprising: Single enterprise elearning environment Anywhere / Anytime access through UCD Connect Comprehensive, web accessible business applications Support & IT facilities for the research community A highly efficient communications network UCD currently has a unique set of IT services, which are ready to deploy, with many in active use by its users students, staff, researchers and administration. The core issue addressed by the architecture is to provide an infrastructure which will scale to meet the demands of these users, and which will provide high performance and high availability of systems, services and information resources. The proposed architecture will have the following benefits to the University: Provide a blueprint design template for implementation of a highly scalable, highly available, high performance, secure set of services as laid out in the University EICT Strategy. Provide a blueprint against which estimate of cost vs. benefit for targeted levels of service can be conducted by all stakeholders. Provide a flexible framework which can be tailored to the University s changing demands over the lifetime of the architecture project Provides a phased implementation plan catering for quick wins as well as achievement of medium to long term strategic objectives.. The implementation of the Architecture will allow UCD to plan for future growth and development of IT services within a technical environment which is capable of expansion and which will meet the demands and service requirements of its users. Ward Solutions Page 10 of 10 UCD Computing Services

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