ITS Cloud Strategy 2017-2019

Information Technology Services strives to provide you with the best possible technology and support services. We are constantly searching for opportunities to enhance your experience with us at Seneca College. You can view the opportunities that we plan to pursue during the Cloud Strategy for 2017-2019.

Background

The Information Technology landscape is ever changing with new technologies being utilized in new ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Cloud computing is a relatively recent technology advancement that provides the ability to utilize remote computing services to supplement the traditional on‐premises Data Centres that Seneca maintains. In the past one year, the maturity and adoption rate of cloud computing has significant momentum increased and has reached infection point. The objective of this document is to provide strategic direction on how Seneca can take advantage of cloud computing. This strategy document is a “rolling plan” that will be reviewed and updated once per year.

Drivers for adopting Cloud

The focus will be on risk mitigation and improving ITS service delivery without significantly increasing total cost of ownership. Leveraging cloud technology will allow ITS to improve on its service level to stakeholders by overcoming challenges like technology obsolesce, high maintenance, capacity management, availability and infrastructure issues beyond its control. At the same time, not every service from our data center requires to be moved to the cloud. The criteria for moving to cloud is detailed under section ‘Moving existing Services to Cloud’. The intention of adopting a cloud strategy is not to achieve headcount reduction or achieve significant cost savings.

Understanding Cloud Services

The term Cloud Services is generally defined as a service that is made available to clients that run in an off‐site Internet‐based environment. This differs from traditional “on premise” IT services that are normally housed on‐site in a secure Data Centre.
The three main types of cloud services are Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). A similar type of service called “Managed Hosting” is not strictly a cloud service but for the purposes of this document, we will consider Managed Hosting as a Cloud Service as it provides similar benefits.
In broad terms, cloud vendors can be categorized into two buckets as Solution based cloud providers and Platform service providers.

For a detailed understanding of each type of cloud service, please refer to Appendix‐A

Definition of ITS Services

Seneca College currently has two major Data Centres located at the Newnham and Seneca@York campuses. These Data Centres house the production and development environments for most of the major enterprise systems including i3 systems such as Student, HR and Finance and other systems such as My.Seneca, and other smaller web applications. ITS Services can be broadly classified into 4 types as below.

Service Name Description of Service
External Systems Integrated third party vendor provided systems like Seneca Works (Orbis), Ex Libris Alma, Lynda.com, Accommodate, Adobe eSign, etc. Typically, these systems are ideal candidates to be hosted as Software as a Service (SaaS) or for Managed hosting.
Web Applications Home grown ITS developed applications for managing important business operations like Continuing Education Web Site, International Applications Web Site, Locker rental, etc.
Home grown applications may continue to be served from in‐house data center or depending on their criticality may qualify to be hosted as Platform as a Service (PaaS) depending on the criticality.
Enterprise Systems Mission critical enterprise systems like My.Seneca, Email, ERP, etc.
Of all the services, Enterprise systems will undergo most scrutiny. Clear business benefits need to be established before moving these services to the cloud. Enterprise systems are typical candidates to be hosted with a solution based cloud provider.
Infrastructure Covers Servers, Storage, and internal Data Centre network, Internet, Load balancers, Routers, Firewall
Most infrastructure services are typically local to a data center except for Storage and Servers. Platform service cloud providers are good candidates for moving our Servers and Storage.
Departmental Systems Departmental subscriptions for academic or administrative purposes like Workday, OscarEMR (Health Centre), Matrix, Warp, Zenith, etc.
These services are generic and may be moved to either Solution based or Platform service cloud providers.

Traditionally, ITS has been the manager or provider for all of the above business requirements. With the adoption of cloud, ITS role may include to be an advisor of solutions as explained in later sections under the column ‘ITS Role’.
This document covers the ITS cloud strategy for both acquiring new services and moving existing services to cloud.

Acquiring New Services ‐ The Cloud First Approach

As part of the Seneca ITS Cloud Strategy, ITS will be ensuring that all new services utilize Cloud Services where available and appropriate. Since cloud services are provided by vendors at various levels, depending on the solution, ITS will follow the hosting preference in order for new solutions as follows.

Preference Service Name ITS Role
1 Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • As an Advisor, ITS will assist the user department in setting up and getting the services up and running.
  • ITS will provide integration support to Enterprise data where needed including authentication support for single‐sign on.
  • The user department will maintain the operational duties of the system with ITS providing technical support when required liaising with the vendor for technical matters and issues
  • ITS will provide centralized contract management and budgeting support for long term subscriptions
  • ITS will ensure that new SaaS vendors go through a rigorous screening process on behalf of the college
2 Managed Hosting
  • All services as listed under SaaS
  • In addition, ITS will ensure that the data centre is built as a Tier 3 Data Centre or above. ITS will review and approve co‐location services for performance, backup, exit strategy, data ownership and other risks
3 Platform as a Service (PaaS)
/ Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • As manager of the service, ITS will configure and administer the service from a technical standpoint including integration support and single sign‐on.
  • ITS will assist in the design and architecture of the solution to ensure there are appropriate resources available for the scale of use
  • ITS will maintain the operational duties of the system with ITS providing technical support when required liaising with the vendor for technical matters and issues
  • ITS will ensure that these solutions are deployed in approved cloud services
4 On‐premise hosting
  • As Provider and manager of the service, ITS will configure and administer the service from a technical standpoint including integration support and single sign‐on.
  • ITS will help acquire and create the appropriate computing resources required for the solution.
  • ITS will further configure and administer the service from a technical standpoint.
  • ITS will maintain appropriate resources and perform regular maintenance duties and ensure that performance remains acceptable

When new services are being planned and considered for use, ITS will assist in the selection process with the client department, to ensure that the college can support the service with any integrations to enterprise data and ensure that there is a smooth launch and support plan.
In 2016, the following services were acquired using cloud first approach: BoardEffect, Adobe eSign, Qualtrics Survey software, etc.

Moving Existing Services to Cloud

Moving forward with this Cloud strategy, ITS is reviewing all ITS services for cloud readiness by applying following criteria for moving to cloud. The services likely to get most benefit from the migration will be given the preference.

Criteria Description
Services requiring constant up keeping Example: Seneca Works (Orbis) which requires monthly updating of software releases in multiple
environments
Services requiring agility and elasticity Some services are used heavily at certain times of the year and not as much for the remainder of the year. Services like this will be identified and reviewed. Example: Number of servers required for Blackboard  can  be  reduced  by  50%  during  the
summer term.
Critical Student facing enterprise services which
need to be available on 24x7 basis
Example: My.Seneca (Blackboard)
Cost Services where the cost of maintaining on cloud is
approximately the same as maintaining on‐premises
Technology obsolescence As existing vendors provide cloud based alternatives, ITS will review these with the user
department.

Since cloud services operate on a subscription model, it is assumed that increased adoption of cloud services will result in transitioning from a CapEx to OpEx driven funding model as explained below

However, there will be marginal differences in overall financial impact to the college.
ITS will establish a baseline operational cost of running the services from on‐premises data center which will assist in the decision to move a service to the cloud.
Applying the above criteria, the following services are already moved to the cloud.

Service Name Reason for moving to cloud Type of Cloud
Office 365 Critical Enterprise Service Software as a Service
eMail Critical Enterprise Service, Services requiring elasticity Software as a Service
SharePoint Critical Enterprise Service, Services requiring elasticity Software as a Service
Identify Services Critical Enterprise Service Software as a Service
Board Effect Services requiring high maintenance Software as a Service
Adobe e‐Sign Services requiring high maintenance Software as a Service
Oracle Marketing Cloud (CRM Email Campaigns) Critical Enterprise Service Software as a Service

Infrastructure Implication

As we move services to the cloud, the demand on our network and internet is expected to significantly increase. For the past 3 years, ITS has been working to revamp and upgrade our network infrastructure. This project is now 90% complete. This transformation will be complete by summer of 2017. When completed, the network will have full redundancy and accommodate for surge in traffic due to cloud adoption.
ITS recently increased our internet capacity by 5 times. In early 2016, we had 2 Gb of internet capacity split between different campuses. The capacity has now increased to 11 Gb and is also consolidated through a single gateway, with a fully redundant path through alternate campus, to provide improved internet experience.
As we move more services to the cloud, ITS will continue to evaluate and implement additional measures to ensure our network and internet capacity keep up with the demand.

3‐Year Plan for moving to Cloud

Detailed below is the yearly plan for the next 3 years for moving existing services to cloud. The accuracy of this plan will be 90% for the first year of implementation and will reduce by 20 to 30% for each following year due to cloud based services continuing to evolve.

Current Fiscal Year 2016-2017

In 2016‐17, the following services are prime candidates for moving to cloud

Service Name Reason for moving to cloud Type of Cloud Timeline
Blackboard (My Seneca) Pilot Critical student facing service. The move will improve system availability and help keeping the system current. Managed Hosting Q4 2016‐17
Exlibris Alma Replacing Voyager system for Library Managed Hosting Q4 2016‐17
Security & Event Management Services (Sumologic) Services requiring high maintenance SaaS Q4 2016‐17
(Proof of Concept)

2017-2018

In 2017‐2018, the following services are prime candidates for moving to cloud

Service Name Reason for moving to cloud Type of Cloud Timeline
Blackboard (My Seneca) Critical student facing service. The move will improve system availability and help keeping the system current. Managed Hosting Q2 2017‐18
Academic Services (Matrix, Warp, Zenith) Critical Student facing services IaaS/PaaS Q1 2017‐18
Security & Event Management Services (Sumologic) Service requiring high maintenance SaaS Q1 2017‐18
i3 Erp Development Systems Services requiring high maintenance Platform as a Service (PaaS) Q3 2017‐18
I3 Erp Test and User Acceptance systems Services requiring high maintenance Platform as a Service (PaaS) Q3 2017‐18
Oracle Business Intelligence Systems Service requiring high maintenance Platform as a Service (PaaS) Q4 2017‐18
(Proof of Concept)
School of Fashion – Catalog service (Omeka) Critical Student facing service SaaS Q2 2017‐18
Blackboard BI Analytics Service Service requiring high maintenance Managed Hosting Q4 2017‐18
My Photo Critical Student facing service Platform as a Service (PaaS) Q2 2017‐18
Library System Proxy Service (EZProxy) Critical Student facing service SaaS Q3 2017‐18
SenecaWorks (Orbis) Service requires high maintenance Managed hosting Q4 2016‐17

2018-2019

In 2018‐2019, the following services are prime candidates for moving to cloud

Service Name Reason for moving to cloud Type of Cloud Timeline
Oracle Business Intelligence Systems Service requiring high maintenance Platform as a Service (PaaS) Q2 2018‐19
I3 ERP Production Systems Services requiring high maintenance Platform as a Service (PaaS) Q2 2018‐19
(Proof of Concept)

2019-2020

In 2018‐2019, the following services are prime candidates for moving to cloud

Service Name Reason for moving to cloud Type of Cloud Timeline
I3 ERP Production Systems Services requiring high maintenance Platform as a Service (PaaS) Q2 2019‐20
Hyperion Planning System Services requiring high maintenance Software as a Service (SaaS) Q1 2019‐20

Download ITS Cloud Strategy (1.6MB)