Curtin University has become the first pilot customer of Optus Business and its subsidiary, Alphawest, to move into a private enterprise cloud.
According to Curtin University CIO, Peter Nikoletatos, the three parties spent the past 12 months working on a cloud computing roadmap and were deploying an internal cloud based on Cisco’s Unified Computing System.
“You can not do this in isolation,” he said. “We’ve been working very hard in partnership with Alphawest and we are working closely with VMware.”
While the task of moving 46,000 students and 3200 staff over to Cloud computing appeared daunting, securing information was relatively easy. The main problem was deciding which data to migrate, Nikoletatos said.
“We have about 180 applications we support right now, but we only have three master data sets. Only three applications have unique data – HR, finance and our student system. Everything else is a derivative from those.”
Under the proposed system, Optus business will provide compute power over the cloud from its datacentre in Sydney. According to Alphawest datacentre technologies practice manager, Andrew Vranjes, the time savings will be significant.
“All the moves, adds and changes are done in software. So if you think of a traditional datacentre, how long it takes to order a server, rack it, cable it, turn it on – you’re talking weeks or months. We’re now talking provision times in minutes,” he said.
“In the first part of the process we worked with Peter’s networking team and we deployed several of Cisco’s Nexus product into his core network. The goal of this is we wanted to work with and build a next-generation local area network that simplified and flattened the network to make sure it had enough bandwidth now and for the future delivery of services.
“The next step was virtualisation…to Peter and his team’s credit, they’ve done a lot of server virtualisation with VMware. And so most of our discussions have been around how we would connect his internal cloud up to the Optus external cloud.”
Although he wouldn’t provide an exact figure, Vranjes said there were 5-10 other partners taking part in its beta program. Optus director of enterprise fixed marketing, Scott Mason, said it was in different phases of discussion with various customers and added Alphawest’s involvement was vital to its success.
“We see cloud as a very important part of our strategy going forward,” he said. “We see that we’ve got the network elements, the network itself, the expertise and the partnerships to be able to pull together a unique proposition.”
While Nikoletatos said he expected Curtin to start making the final move from mid-2010 onwards, neither Optus or Alphawest would confirm anything beyond a 2010 start date for when the telco’s cloud solution will be ready for the public.