Alabama universities plan to share DRaaS, Nutanix HCI

Alabama A&M University created its catastrophe restoration approach with tornadoes in head, and then discovered it beneficial after acquiring strike by “that unseen tornado,” COVID-19.

Alabama A&M (Agricultural and Mechanical) University is in Huntsville, aspect of northern Alabama identified as “Dixie Alley,” which is significantly prone to tornadoes. To deal with these threats, Alabama A&M CIO Damian Clarke overhauled the university’s IT infrastructure all around Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) on premises and its Xi Leap DR as a support (DraaS). His intention was to establish a DR cloud that could be shared with other historically black faculties and universities (HBCUs) in Alabama.

The DRaaS setup would make it possible for the schools to operate remotely if campuses or other services ended up not offered. Minimal did Clarke know that functioning remotely would quickly develop into the only way schools just about everywhere could operate.

“Everybody is hunting for methods to do IT better,” Clarke claimed. “Accomplishing IT better does not suggest you need to have the greatest knowledge center on your campus. It signifies you can provide the greatest products and services for your people.”

He claimed the state’s HBCUs presently experienced an informal consortium to share assets. Now they can share products and services hosted on just one or two campuses to provide all of them with DR.

Alabama A&M CIO Damian ClarkeDamian Clarke

“The question is, do we all need to have knowledge centers?” Clarke claimed. “The reply could possibly be ‘no.’ We can consolidate knowledge products and services in centralized locations and specified schools don’t need to have a knowledge center. If Alabama A&M is a centralized locale working with Nutanix, any of people other HBCUs can use our infrastructure and wouldn’t need to have a knowledge center. They could open a browser and regulate a distant knowledge center on our Nutanix hardware.”

Alabama A&M installed Nutanix in late 2019 with the intention of managing all of the college’s products and services in the cloud if necessary. With the pandemic, the college or university will provide on the internet classes but remain physically shut at least by way of its summer time semester.

“Prior to COVID-19, it was a excellent concept,” Clarke claimed of his DR approach. “Now it really is a necessary concept. When COVID-19 — that excellent tornado — strike, we ended up ready to go on the internet in a matter of days from a technology viewpoint.”

Alabama A&M installed six Nutanix clusters and Nutanix Xi Leap for DRaaS. After COVID-19 strike, it extra Nutanix Xi Body desktop as a support.

“Catastrophe restoration as a support is a further rationale we use Nutanix,” he claimed. “Everybody in the consortium will get all of these to these products and services. We wished a scalable, comprehensive answer and at the similar time, we wished to provide the similar detail to the consortium.”

The question is, do we all need to have knowledge centers? The reply could possibly be ‘no.’
Damian ClarkeCIO, Alabama A&M University

Clarke claimed ahead of deciding on HCI, he explored likely fully to the cloud. “I believed that was the only answer at first,” he claimed. “I am always hunting at ‘Let’s get rid of the knowledge center, let’s go one hundred{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} cloud.’ When we did a deep dive, we discovered out it was far more charge-powerful to put matters in the cloud but not charge-powerful to choose matters out of the cloud. We just can not find the money for it appropriate now.”

Even now, Alabama A&M slice its knowledge center footprint and listing of distributors substantially by likely hyper-converged. The faculty previously experienced Dell EMC storage and Cisco servers, and “a knowledge center that is at least ten periods larger than we have now,” Clarke claimed.

“We experienced too several distributors in the knowledge center. When there ended up challenges, we experienced just one vendor blaming the other vendor on the telephone. When we ended up on the telephone, we ended up down. And I am on the telephone, attempting to explain to the college president why we ended up down.”

Clarke claimed his 15-human being IT staff that products and services the university’s 7,000-plus people now has far more “operational performance” since it is much less concentrated on keeping infrastructure managing. “The discussions we have now are far more visionary,” he claimed. “I don’t want my IT people deep in the weeds, I inform them ‘I want you to consider on a visionary degree.’ But we couldn’t get out of survival manner ahead of.”