Flexible infrastructure for innovation
This activity used as its starting point a May 2006 project proposal to investigate hardware virtualisation as an option for provision of flexible responsive and rapidly configurable technology infrastructure.
Details on that earlier proposal follow for information.
- Relationship to strategic initiatives and goals
- Learning and development
- Resources required
The Library advocates a culture of innovation. All staff are encouraged to
track technology developments and consider service applications.
Experimentation with new technology is a volatile and iterative process. It
may require administrative access to nonstandard
Results of experimentation are varied. Ideas and technologies are often
picked up, quickly tested and rejected. A minority are investigated and some
become integrated into mainstream services.
The Library cannot provide dedicated nonstandard
hardware and software
to support exploration of all ideas. If viable, outcomes from FIFI would provide staff members with the virtual equivalent of disposable, reconfigurable computers.
Strategic Initiative : Continuous Improvement Program.
The Library wants to catch and express staff ideas as part of the project development lifecycle. Outcomes from FIFI may provide supportive technical environments for exploring and testing ideas dependent on technology.
Strategic Goal 4: Digital Innovation
Strategic Goal 2 : Lifelong Learning
Online environments for self-directed learning (e.g. testing and simulating network topologies and distributed applications).
Collaborations with Central ICT
The project supports Chris Bird's* desire to see cross-university development of flexible online environments for innovation.
*Director ICT Strategic Development & Planning speaking at a Library technology planning forum, 22/05/06
The project will investigate an option for supporting the Library's innovative
culture through provision of flexible, responsive and rapidly configurable
The project will determine the feasibility of providing Library staff access to virtual machine environments*. A default virtual machine environment would include an installed operating system (e.g. Linux or Windows XP) supporting basic services such as intranet and external web access. It would provide the user with administration level configuration rights including capacity to recreate a default environment (either through manual reinstallation of an operating system or by restoring a standard installation).
* A virtual machine is a software environment that mimics the behaviour of a computer. Multiple virtual machines can operate on a single server. Systems such as Windows XP
and Linux can be installed into a virtual machine and operated by a user as if they were loaded on their desktop computer. For more information, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_machine
The project will investigate
- Feasibility of accessing Central ICT Hardware virtualisation services as a means of providing user-configurable operating environments.
- Costs of accessing Central ICT virtualisation services
- Software licensing issues
- Prerequisite user skills
- LITS support issues
The project will not investigate
- Provision by the Library of dedicated computers as a way of supporting user-configurable operating environments
- Provision by the Library of hardware virtualisation services
- Provision by Central ICT of hardware virtualisation for server consolidation
- Provision by the Library of facilities for IT skills development.
- Liaison with Central ICT
- Install, configure, reinstall and restore operating systems and applications
- Demonstrate and report results
- Support liaison with Central ICT
- Support implementation of access to Central ICT virtual machines
- Technical support during project
- Facilitate access to ICT services required during the project.
No learning and development is required to successfully complete the
Post project learning and development requirements will depend on factors such as
- Decision whether or not to offer the service
- Scope within which the service may be offered
- Prerequisite skills required to access the service
- Level of interest from staff in using the service
- Cost and benefit calculation concerning self directed
or supported skills acquisition.
- Access to 2 Central ICT virtual machine environments via the Library's vlan
- Linux and Windows XP installation software, apache web server, PHP 5.
- Data storage for each virtual machine environment (in addition to operating system storage requirements)
- Installation of any client software required to access the ICT virtual machine environments
- External internet access
- eScholarship representative : XX hours
- LITS representative : X hours
- Central ICT representative : X hours
Discussions with LITS & Central ICT to reach agreement on project scope, roles, resources & activities.
- Obtain access to 2 virtual machine environments through Central ICT. (One each for a Windows and a Linux environment)
- Install and configure Windows XP and Linux (e.g. kubuntu or redhat) to provide intranet and external web access and apache web server support.
- Configure a backup environment for the the 2 virtual machine environments.
- Backup the Windows and Linux environments to a Central ICT server.
- Delete the Linux and Windows environments.
- Restore the Linux and Windows environments.
- Install and configure an application environment within Linux which cannot be currently supported on the Library's development or production servers. (PHP 5)
- Install an application within Linux which relies on the nonstandard application environment. (eFlora glossary)
- Demonstrate access to the Linux and Windows test environments and a nonstandard application.
- Report results.
The project will be evaluated as successful if it provides sufficient evidence to enable the Library to decide whether to scope and develop a service providing Library staff access to virtual machine environments.