Description of the goods or services required
The University of Cambridge is approaching the market to engage with potential suppliers for the provision of Infrastructure as a Service.
The University Information Systems (UIS) would like to procure HCI hardware to support its new Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offering (Lot 1), and to support a new Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering (Lot 2). It would also like to procure a software stack that will provide IaaS. IaaS should allow University Institutions to deploy VMs and containers and manage them themselves. The VMs and containers should be able to be run in University server rooms using the HCI hardware procured in Lot 1 and an on-premise software stack, or by using public cloud providers. Deployment and management of VMs and containers to both on-premise and public-cloud destinations should be able to be performed using the same toolset - with the ability to deploy using a web portal or API calls.
UIS currently provides three different desktop environments with different levels of support and investment, and manages server infrastructure (running University Services) that is configured and managed in many different ways. The desktop services are relied upon by over 5000 users daily, and the services that run on the server hardware are consumed University- and world-wide. The Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) Project has identified and contracted with Citrix as the provisioning layer for the next generation of desktops supplied by UIS. The server back-end has yet to be procured. UIS needs to modernise and standardise the hardware, and the tooling used to administer its server infrastructure. Approaching the market for Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) will enable consolidation of a consistent architecture for the back-end and will make the systems more reliable, more predictable, and more able to scale to the future needs of the University.
The HCI solution will be deployed with in two locations owned by the University. At each location there will be a cluster for DaaS and a separate cluster for IaaS.
In addition to implementing a consistent hardware back-end, UIS would like to modernise its server deployment software stack and deliver a hybrid- or multi-cloud experience for consumers across the University. Initially (after DaaS implementation) existing VMs and services will be migrated across onto the new infrastructure, but ultimately UIS would like to have a way to provision servers, containers and services into public cloud, or private cloud, using the same methodologies, interfaces, and technologies. The ability to provision servers on this infrastructure will be federated out to the rest of the University. 130+ Departments and colleges currently have their own IT teams, and in many cases their own IT infrastructure. They should be able to provision resources from the IaaS systems, and integrate them with their own IT to offer reliable, resilient services. IaaS will enable greater consolidation of IT across the University, enable workloads to be placed appropriately depending upon cost, geographical location, resilience, latency etc, move workloads between private and public clouds, provide greater visibility into the IT infrastructure, and come with tooling that will improve the University’s IT security.
DaaS and IaaS are two of the most important services UIS can offer. Together, they touch every user and it is important that UIS offers a modern service that empowers users to work in new and mobile ways. UIS needs to invest in this service to deliver the changes required for a modern workforce but also break free from the technical debt and deliver brand new services.