Business Case Elements

The following has been produced to assist in writing business cases to make use of the USDC and Private Cloud. Feel free to utilize these verbatim or edited as you see fit. If in writing your business case you develop further arguments/justifications that you feel would be of assistance to the community then please email sis@oucs.ox.ac.uk.

Energy Savings
Data Centre: The target efficiency of the USDC is a PUE of 1.5. For each unit of energy used by IT equipment another 0.5 units will be used to support the environment the equipment is running in. This figure compares to 2.0 for a room equivalent to the current OUCS data centre and 2.5 for a small server room using office style air conditioners etc. There is a potential saving in energy of 25% to 40%. The USDC also trades low-grade waste heat with the building in which it sits, heating the offices and labs in the winter and cooling them via an absoption chiller in the summer. This contributes to lowering the University's overall energy usage and reducing its carbon footprint.
Private Cloud: The private cloud runs equipment more efficiently by increasing the utilization. Typical servers use 25% to 50% of their rated energy consumption when idle and with an average workload a server is only 10% to 15% utilised over a day. With increased utilization the private cloud therefore gets more bang per buck in energy terms. The private cloud is hosted within the USDC and benefits from the efficiency of the data centre as described above.
Overbuilding
Data Centre: Using the USDC negates the need to build new data centre or server room facilities. Facilities are usually built with both the physical space and power and cooling headroom for future use. This over-specifying of air conditioning and UPS systems means that during the early life of the facility they are running inefficiently. The potential PUE figure is greater than 3 meaning unnecessary expenditure on energy. There is also the capital cost of building facilities that are larger than required.
Private Cloud: When server or storage systems are specified they are traditionally sized for the anticipated workload of three to five years time. This means the system is the right size when it is about to be replaced and oversized until that point. For example: conservatively, storage costs half every two years and storage usage grows similarly over the time period. Purchasing a storage system now with the expected capacity for data in 5 years time would mean spending twice as much as purchasing incrementally. This culture of overbuilding is endemic within IT. The private cloud allows the purchase of the right resources for the workload now, with the ablity to expand them, on-demand, as the workload grows.
Agility
Data Centre: The USDC is available today to take equipment. There is no wait for the specification and build of a local facility, equipment can be in place, powered on and performing useful work within hours.
Private Cloud: The private cloud can provide servers at the click of a button. A new server, installed and ready to configured within minutes not the days/weeks usually required to specify, order and the deliver a physical machine.
Resilience
Data Centre: The USDC has a number of resilient features including 2N UPS systems, and N+1 environmental systems. More details are available on the colocation pages.
Private Cloud: Run across two sites, upon highly fault tolerant hardware and in resilient data centre environments, the private cloud is significantly more resilient than running a standard server.
Security
Data Centre: A number of features make the USDC a highly-secure environment. All access is controlled via an anti-tailgating security portal that requires the presentation of a token and fingerprint. All rack access is via the same token and access is logged from the moment someone enters the room. It records when they unlock a rack, if the open the rack doors or not, and when they close the rack. This full audit trail is combined with complete CCTV coverage. Further details are available on the colocation pages.
Private Cloud: The private cloud offers an expertly managed secure platform with secure multi-tenant separation and integrated firewall capabilities.
Self Service
Data Centre: Access to the data centre is available 24/7 for authorised users. Allowing out-of-hours maintenance and emergency fixes to be carried out without interruption.
Private Cloud: Self-service interfaces are one of the founding blocks of the Private Cloud. Machines can be provisioned, started, stopped and changed at any time, programatically or via a web browser.
Space
Data Centre / Private Cloud: Using the USDC or Private Cloud frees up physical space within buildings which can be repurposed as lab or office space. In colleges there is also potential for some space to be put back into use as accommodation.
Cost
Data Centre / Private Cloud: The charges for the use of the USDC and private cloud encapsulate all the costs. Conversely, local costs are frequently hidden (energy and maintenance being the usual candidates) and this can make comparison difficult. TCO calculators are provided to assist with comparison on the pricing pages.
Networking
Data Centre / Private Cloud: Both the data centre and private cloud offer the capability to host systems on the local network. Physically locating servers offsite whilst letting them be logically located within the local network. This provides seamless access to resources and the possibility of migrating services back and forth between local and shared facilities without losing access.
Being located on the University network ensures high speed access to systems without the concerns related to network performance usually found with locating services distant from the users they serve.
By the University, for the University
Data Centre / Private Cloud: Both services are run by the University within the University. The location of data stored is known and subject to the same rules, regulations and controls as if it were locally stored.