The University of Nottingham has developed a private cloud which will have the ability to "deal with demand quickly", the CIO of the university Lucy Burrow says.

Burrow said that the project will support all three of the University's key components: research, teaching and learning. The move will also support business operations, building on the process of modernisation of the university’s infrastructure. (See also: Anya Hindmarch CIO deploying hybrid cloud to drive business growth)

An infrastructure modernisation programme is in place at the University. CIO Lucy Burrow feels the organisation has reached sufficient "maturity and capability" to make this change. Using a private cloud system will enable the automation of key processes and a self-service functionality for users, enabling them to "burst out to the public cloud".

Burrow adds that the self-service element allows users to spin up new cloud environments, and find out how much it will cost them, making for an overall quicker process at the touch of a button. The automation will enable users to  have "confidence", functioning like "a shopping menu".

The research project has saved on time and cost for the University. This allows "internal customers and their research projects" to access greater capacity and more services, as Burrow describes.

The University of Nottingham private cloud: Several challenges 

The new private cloud has faced several challenges in development with the cloud storage provider NetApp being an entirely "new technology for the team" to learn, as Burrow continues. The infrastructure of the networking aspects has seen the researchers working hard to resolve issues, and offer the ability to "spin out to the public cloud directly via the implementation".

Burrow is part of the Russell Group of IT directors, a community of CIOs that comes together to have active discussions on IT strategies, working closely with Jisc, an organisation that provides an academic network updating the community with everything they are doing for the higher education sector. Running a research group from which CIO Burrow adds can "learn from each other" enables procurement activity, for example Microsoft licences and the usefulness in working with that particular supplier and party. (See also: Why a CIO should join a CIO community)