2. Introduction to Oxford University Computing Services (OUCS)

Dear Colleague,

Welcome to the annual report of Oxford University Computing Services for 2010-2011. In keeping with previous formats we have attempted to write a report that is informative and approachable to allow our users to get a comprehensive view of OUCS’s performance over the last year. This is our way of reporting on our services, and how we have attempted to meet the demands of the collegiate University.

The mainstay of this publication is a set of performance reports that once again demonstrate the year-on-year growth in demand for OUCS’s services, and the increasing portfolio we have been asked to cover. Wherever possible we have shown the level of use of OUCS’s services broken down under the Academic Divisions, OUDCE, College-only users, and other central units. We also include a series of reports from the various Research Projects OUCS has led or been part of over the year. This aspect of OUCS is fundamental to our taking services forward for the University, both financially and strategically. We bring in about £1m per annum from external funding agencies, which in 2010-2011 contributed nearly £350k in FEC, allowing us to progress our shared data centre and cloud-based services.

This is a time of change in the University - especially with central IT services. Discussions began in 2010-2011 about the bringing together of the three central IT units - OUCS, BSP, and ICT ST - and we envisage this will be a major task in 2011-2012. Despite this OUCS has launched a variety of services - Sharepoint 2010 and OxFILE (for large file sharing) to name but two - and is upgrading or further developing our core services. 2010-2011 also saw important moves in Information Security, virtualisation, secondary authentication, mobile developments, and open educational resources. Furthermore we were engaged in lengthy discussions with the colleges in terms of a possible contribution by them to the cost of OUCS's services.

Over the year we have sought, and received, guidance from the OUCS Management Sub-Committee. This was chaired for some time by Professor William James, but due to his new position as PVC for planning and resources, this role will be taken on by Dr David Popplewell. We would like to thank Professor James for all his support and help over the years. Finally, it should be noted that this Annual Report forms only part of the information OUCS provides. Here we attempt to indicate how we have performed over the year; but we also produce a five-year strategy looking forward (revised each January), a research strategy, and various briefings for the University.

I hope you enjoy reading this report and find it informative,

Dr Stuart D Lee,
Director, Computing Systems and Services,

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