- Ron Kraemer, VP and CIO, University of Notre Dame
- Ryan Frazier, Director, System Engineering & Operations, Harvard Business School
- Sarah Christen, Director of Community Platforms and CIO, Cornell University
- Mike Chapple, Senior Director, IT Service Delivery, University of Notre Dame
- Blake Chism, IT Transformation Sr., Amazon Web Services
RC: we want to accomplish 1 major goal: roadmap and framework to take back to campus and “deal with the cloud in your culture and your world.”
It’s not perfect, and it’s a lot of work. BUT, it’s better service to our universities if we do it well.
SC: we’re a cloud-first institution. Lots of leadership change since that initiative started. We have 62 accounts under our master contract (master contract signed 18 months ago). Lots of accounts outside our contract. About $300K annual spend outside the IT org…we have a very distributed IT model.
We call the transformation “cloudification.” It’s a partnership with campus IT units. We refactor for most effective use of cloud technologies and containerization vs. “lift and shift.” Central IT must be the expert that campus wants to come to for help. We want to enable, not enforce (we do have SOME requirements to move to the master contract). We understand that if IaaS isn’t better with us, campus will make the move without us. We allow campus technologists to focus on unit differentiators central IT can help with the utilities.
Reqs for Cornell Master Contract
- Onboarding discussion
- Shibboleth for authentication
- DUO for multi-factor authentication for AWS Console access
- Lock down root account, escrow with security office
- Activation of AWS config
- Activation of CloudTrail
- CloudTrail logs sent to Security office
- Activation of Cloudcheckr
What About Researcher AWS Accounts?
- Easy onboarding without a lot of steps or complication
- No interference with their research. No overhead (cost or performance)
- Solutions for export control data and other compliance reqs.
- Standard network config not always a good fit. “I am an island, not part of Cornell campus.”
- Technical consultation options: docker, data storage, training, devops support
- All centrally hosted apps are being moved if possible
- Infrastructure services are a large part of our on prem inventory
- Campus units are moving more quickly than our central IT org
Biggest Challenge to Cloud Transformation: RESISTANCE TO CHANGE
RF: I’m director of Infrastructure Customer and Project Services. Initiated cloud strategy and planning when I was in the central IT division.
- <2013: Exploration. Very early adopters at Harvard Medical School (research lab), pockets of uncoordinated use, little use within central and school-level IT departments.
- 2013-2016: Alignment. We got enterprise agreement, direct billing and enterprise support services, laid technical foundations, brought on early adopters, developed cloud strategy.
- 2016-?: Implementation. Accelerating adoption at all levels, i.e. labs, initiatives, schools, and central IT; shared service roadmaps; early adopters beginning to focus on optimization.
The Case for Cloud
- Quality, cost, reliability, speed.
- Our goal was to have 75% of our infrastructure at AWS by 2017. We’re currently at 31%.
HBX: Can We Deliver the Rich Interactive Experience of the Business School Online?
- LET’S TRY
- Move fast – 90 days to build, implement and launch application and registration system, < 1 year for complete course platform
- Run independent of HBS IT – minimize impact on eisting services, enable new approaches to new needs
- Be able to scale up or down rapidly – prepare for success or failure of the experiment
AWS Service Mix
- 17 VPCs, 23 ELBs, 135 EC2 instances, 345 EBS volumes, 18TB instance storage, 4 Redshift Clusters, 18 RDS DBs, 30+ TB loaded via snowball, 78 TB object storage
- Storage is a very small part of our spend (data transfer is 1%)
- EC2 is about 58% of our spend
Notre Dame’s Journey to the Cloud
Why move at all? For us, we were sitting on an aging data center infrastructure. A capital investment – particularly cooling – had to happen if were going to continue. Tech demands from students, faculty and administrators outpaced our time and budget. In 2012, emergency communications were a critical concern.
Originally we moved the web site as part of an emergency mitigation effort – “can we move the site in the event of an emergency?”
- 3 web servers
- load-driven autoscaling
- Geographic diversity
- It was really an easy move for us
- 435 web sites
- 4 million monthly views
- db as a service
- In 2013, we began having conversations about “why don’t we move everything over?”
- We wanted to take advantage of what the cloud offers: 80% by the end of 2017; we’re at 59% today.
- SaaS first, then PaaS, then IaaS, then on-prem.
- Setting a goal created “a line in the sand,” that made it real for our people.
What We Learned
- Rethink technical roles. NOBODY IS GOING TO LOSE THEIR JOB! However, you might not be doing the same job three years from now…
- We were a very siloed organization prior to the cloud move. As a result of our move, those silos are breaking down.
- Rethink security processes and tools (this was hard for us). We’re not mapping THINGS 1-to-1, we’re mapping OBJECTIVES.
- Leverage automation – we’ve used ansible
- Practical financial engineering. Our data center manager is now the guy who is our financial expert, who gives us insight into our costs. We’ve standardized on regions, instances (T2 class – about 3/4 of all our instances), use of reserve instances, etc.
- Make a few choices and just go with them!
Cloud Transformation Maturity Model
- Project Stage: limited knowledge, executive support, inability to purchase, limited confidence, no clear ownership or direction.
- Foundation Stage
- Migration Stage
- Optimization Stage
Blake Chism from AWS: we developed this model to help you figure out where you are in the process. We’ve found that for most of our customers, procurement conversations are getting easier, but they’re still a challenge. If the central IT team helps take ownership, it can help organizations move forward more effectively, i.e. central IT not perceived as “being in the way.”
If your team has good processes now, your move will be much easier.
No matter what, you need to have a business case, a reason why you’re doing it. The roadmap helps describe how you’re doing it. Governance models evolve, and you get better at understanding them. Services change, and you need to have a plan about how you’ll integrate them (or not).
POC are much easier because if it doesn’t work, you can simply shut it off and you’re only out a few bucks. Try things out!
During the Project Stage, establish a “Cloud Center of Excellence” or “Cloud Competency Center” to get the organization moving in the right direction.
Lack of a detailed organizational transformation plan can be a challenge. Do a staff skills gap analysis to help you here.
Should be as short as possible to get over the hump of hybrid and duplicate hosting. All-in will allow you to BEGIN doing new and exciting things. Imagine a space where the default state of, say, development environments, is OFF. All in is just the end of the adoption journey.
Were your enterprise systems like LMS, SIS, HR, Financials and the portal viewed as special and treated differently from smaller apps? Have you moved them yet?
- Cornell: our KFS (Kuali) finance moved first (we dockerize ours) high availability on file shares was an early challenge (EFS – Elastic File Services are out now)
- Harvard: IdM was first, we do Peoplesoft now, Oracle e-business is happening now
- ND: ERP and LMS – do not separate db servers and application servers!
AWS Cloud Adoption Journey
ALL: we use our AWS solutions architects extensively, and we’ve relied on AWS consulting almost exclusively for our migrations. These interactions have helped to accelerate our staff learning, because our staff are the ones who will need to maintain it long-term.
The professional services unit can help you figure out the high-level ecosystem you need for your particular situation. Enterprise support services is a bit pricey, but it’s useful in many cases.
SC: at Cornell, we created a 100 day training program that includes getting Amazon Solutions Architect certification. This is a good way to assure a certain level of competency. Some schools are using our model for training up their people, and they’re also using it as a way to network and learn new things, i.e. get names of people at other institutions that are going through the same problems.
Building the Roadmap – “Cloud Adoption Framework”
More details here: https://aws.amazon.com/education/movingtothecloudworkshop/
Organizes and describes the perspectives in planning, creating, managing, and supporting a modern IT service. Provides practical guidance and comprehensive guidelines for establishing, developing and running AWS cloud-enabled environments.
Don’t try to use all the components at once! Have your Cloud Center of Excellence (or whatever you choose to call it) do it in sprints by taking five or six of the elements and working through them.
In the private sector, the push to move to the cloud typically comes from the top. In higher ed IT, the push to move to the cloud typically comes from below. What we’ve often done is break off a small part of our budget, and use it to fund an “engineering SkunkWorks” where we can do the POCs and get staff buy-in. If the “where you do computing versus how you do computing” equation doesn’t click in your leadership’s minds, you’re going to have a hard time going anywhere.