Higher Ed Cloud Forum: Beyond the Architecture — Rethinking Responsibilities

Glenn Blackler (UC Santa Cruz)

Cloud-First! Now What…?

Santa Cruz’s approach – hw infrastructure was going to turn into a pumpkin in sprint 2018. “Screw it – we’re all in, let’s jump.”

What’s our approach? How can existing teams support this change? Program work vs. migration specific work. Our focus – enterprise applications.

Defining the program: Plan for a quick win (build confidence, get familiar, identify training needs). Go big – went from a small PHP app to identity management infrastructure. All in! — moved Peoplesoft and Banner. Run concurrent migrations.

But really. … why? Need to continually talk to customers about why they’re doing it. Benefits of cloud migration aren’t apparent – have to sell it. The pitch: elasticity, DR/BR, Accommodation (additional test environments); modernized tools and team structures; sustainability.

Teams – Separation of duties – now have separation between sysadmins and app admins and developers. Always been a handoff, ticket driven organization. Don’t know what org looks like in new world – took really smart people and threw them in a room and told them to figure it out. Core team includes App and Sys admins, plus less frequent contributions from security, DBA, networking, devs.

Looking at Cloud Engineering Team that incorporates OS Setup/Config/App Config/Maintenance. DBA team still a bit separate. Security contributing across the board, but not necessarily hands on all the time. Teams are learning new things about each other that they didn’t know in the ticket-driven world.

Future – shared responsibilities mean fewer handoffs; engineers with wider breadth of skills; improved cross-team collaboration through shared code base; continuous improvement through evolving technical design and available services; adjusted job titles and responsibilities; ITS reorganization; budget impact, review of recharge model.

New ways of collaborating: Sys and App admins using a single git repository for code. Shared tools/technologies, password management; cross-functional tier 1 support;

Lessons learned – don’t lock decisions down too early, use governance to end debates, identify project goals that foster exploration (within timeline), use consultants carefully. Traditional PM will not work, push boundaries of what is possible, required vs. ideal – compromise is important; don’t compare with mature on-premise architecture; be prepared for rumors;

Not everyone is on the bus – what about those who don’t want to get on?

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