/sis/images/about-big.jpg [about SIS icon]
Shared Infrastructure Services (SIS) is a collection of interlinked services
designed to offer state-of-the-art infrastructure to underpin IT service delivery
across the University. The SIS are designed to be layered to provide services from
basic physical hosting of equipment through to full virtual data centre and hybrid
cloud computing facilities.
In the most complete form, Shared Infrastructure Services provide a dynamic
infrastructure, which offers the opportunity to separate the physical aspects of
service deployment from the service build. This allows the consolidation of
workloads, with the associated cost and efficiency gains; the strategic management
of hardware capacity, removing the multiplicative over-provisioning of equipment;
the provisioning of multi-site resilient services, by designing in redundancy from
the start; and enables rapid service deployment via self-service interfaces,
removing the need to wait for equipment to be delivered before services can be
Shared Infrastructure Services:
- Provides a collection of shared infrastructure, from physical to virtual,
to deliver a foundation for IT services from across the collegiate
- Offers the benefits of centralized infrastructure whilst recognizing that
subsidiarity is a core principle of the University and IT services are
delivered in a federated manner.
- Recognizes that for some services it may be more cost-effective to utilize
resources not owned, but still managed, by the University.
- IT service providers from across the University to create and maintain IT
services in a flexible, agile and highly available manner.
- IT services to continue to be delivered at the most appropriate location
within the organization.
- The reduction of costs by the simplified comparison of the true total cost
of ownership for IT services and infrastructure, and the optimization of
those service delivery costs.
Shared Infrastructure services are managed by Oxford University Computing Services
(OUCS). We operate, develop and support the University’s primary computing
infrastructure and services. We are committed to providing high-quality and
cost-effective IT services that meet the needs of the University and its members. We
seek to foster and support excellence, innovation, best practise and value for money
in the use of IT across the University.
As all the services are hosted and supplied by the University, concerns over the
physical location, accessability and security of data can be more easily addressed
than with external services.
Shared infrastructure offers a number of benefits over physical infrastructure in
diverse server rooms across the University. These include:
- Resilience - The USDC and the private cloud offer levels of
resilience which are not cost effective to implement in small scenarios
despite being extremely desirable. Examples of this include independent
power feeds from independent transformers, dual UPS systems and N+1
- Security - The USDC implements a number of technologies to ensure
the physical security of equipment including biometric systems, 360 degree
CCTV and an anti-tailgating entrance portal, all with full access audit
- Agility - Both the private cloud and the USDC represent
infrastructure available for use now. There is no waiting to specify and
procure equipment; a new server can be provisioned in minutes rather than
waiting days for it to be delivered.
- Green - The USDC and private cloud make use of innovative
technologies to deliver services whilst reducing energy consumption by up to
40% compared to a standard small server room (small server room PUE approx.
2.5 compared to USDC PUE of approx. 1.5).
- Self Service - Online interfaces allow full access to data centre
and private cloud resources as if they were sat on the desk.
- Cost Saving - Economies of scale both in the construction of and
the on-going running of the services allow for real cost savings as the
utilisation of the services rises.
To ensure a robust and consistent service, the services are designed and built
around three core principles:
- Availability - Each layer of infrastructure should be designed to
ensure availability of the resources served by that layer. Where possible,
the resilience through replication model should be followed to provide
highly available services in the event of component failure by eliminating
single points of failure.
- Isolation - Shared Infrastructure Services are by their very
design multi-tenant. The actions of one tenant should never affect the
services offered to, and by, any other tenant.
- Management - A tenant of the data centre, and user of the
infrastructure services, should be able to perform any management operation
on their equipment (including virtual equipment) that they would be able to
perform if the equipment was physically located elsewhere, so long as those
actions would not bring them into conflict with the other two core
../images/sharedresponsibility-big.jpg [shared responsibility icon]
Being part of the University means we implicitly understand the nature of IT and IT
service delivery in the University environment. All the services are constructed
with this in mind and SIS take a shared responsibility approach to service
provision. SIS provide the underlying infrastructure, but the IT services built upon
it are owned and managed independently. This allows a “Shared Infrastructure, Local
Autonomy” approach to IT services. An approach that offers a great fit for one of
the University’s core principles – subsidiarity.