Posts tagged ‘datacentres’

Cloud to help Arab Open University provide more support to students and staff, CIO says #cloudmena

Cloud to help Arab Open University provide more support to students and staff, CIO says | Business Cloud News

Written by Business Cloud News

Abid-Butt-jpegArab Open University (AOU), a non-profit, private regional university spanning seven countries is looking to take more of its applications to the cloud in a bid to improve how the organisation supports staff and students in the region, according to the university’s chief information officer Abid Butt.

The AOU, which is affiliated with the Open University in the UK, was set up in 2003 with funding from the Arab Gulf Fund to provide education to working professional in the Gulf region. It’s headquartered in Kuwait with campuses in Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman and Saudi Arabia, but the organisation hopes to eventually cover 22 countries in the region, from Oman to Morocco.

Similarly to the UK Open University, the AOU is not a traditional brick and mortar school and relies heavily on digital platforms to reach a wide audience, which is one of the reasons the AOU is slowly moving its applications and platforms – both student and faculty facing – into the cloud.

“Students should be able to access knowledge and education through any media, anywhere, but when the university started it wasn’t carrying this thinking through to the technology being used,” Butt says. “The eight campuses in the Gulf were doing a lot of redundant work because they weren’t viewing the environment holistically.”

The organisation relies on three core application groups: financial systems (i.e. payroll), human resources systems, and student lifecycle management –including campus management applications and a learning management application, which resembles a Coursera-type model.

But instead of delivering the applications from multiple datacentres in the region, the AOU has for the past year started implementing its roadmap to deliver many of them from the cloud, partly in a bid to cope with spikes in application traffic during certain periods of the academic year, and partly to reduce costs.

The IT department at the AOU is fairly small, with little budget to fund technical support operations for its datacentres.

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Verizon’s top tech predictions for Enterprise in 2014…

Ah the beauty of an info-graphic… Need this lazy writer continue?


Thinking big

Read our guest blog from, written by James Middleton:

Thinking big
(September 28, 2012 Written by James Middleton,

In 1919 Irish poet WB Yeats wrote ‘The Second Coming’, a work that conjured the image of a “spiritus mudi”—a vast warehouse that contained all the archetypes of human concepts. This enormous storage facility was located somewhere out in the inhospitable desert, yet magically accessible to every person walking the earth. Almost a century later, in the age of high speed data transport, intelligent networks and virtualisation, it’s easy to forget that behind the almost magical connection delivering information to the screen in front of the end user’s eyes, there is a solid, squat building full of humming electrical equipment. The datacentre is almost an abstract concept in itself. It sits at the heart of the network and carries out many of the critical tasks that keep the services fl owing; rarely, if ever, occupying the attention of the millions of customers it serves.

The vision of a datacentre as a hulking steel warehouse packed with racks and racks of servers studded with flashing lights isn’t far wrong. But what actually goes on behind the glowing LEDs? A telecom operator’s datacentre houses critical applications such as OSS and BSS and everything essential for running the Master Control Centre. As a result, a datacentre requires 24/7 uninterrupted availability, high security, high speed connectivity and lots and lots of power. That power is by far the biggest factor in running a datacentre, so if a carrier can reduce the electricity bill by 30 per cent, they can dramatically reduce cost. This consideration has influenced a number of approaches to datacentre building. Scale—a common concern in the telecoms industry—is another important dynamic affecting which approach an operator takes.

UK-based network fixed and mobile service provider TalkTalk, which focuses on both the enterprise and consumer markets, favours the ‘build big’ approach. The company recently opened a new facility in Corsham, built on 30 acres of Wiltshire scrubland. This datacentre covers a very large physical area in a campus-style build, which at the moment is only one tenth occupied. With “significant” amounts of power available on site TalkTalk can continue to expand and build out at this location over the next ten years—a very different proposition to urban build-outs, where operations are restricted by the availability of physical building sites. (more…)

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