VIDaaS Project Update, 24th January 2012

After meeting our Project Steering Group for the final time yesterday, now seems like a good time to give a brief update of where VIDaaS is at, and what we’ll have in place when we go to service in April.

The virtual infrastructure side of the project is going well, with the Oxford private cloud now largely in place apart from some networking kit which has apparently fallen foul of Customs and Excise. Likewise, the work on Identity and Access management, which took a long time to get off the ground, now seems to be progressing nicely. The DaaS part of the deal is taking shape, and we’ve received some useful feedback from our test users regarding the user interface and current functionality. We have a good idea of the costs of the future Online Research Database Service (ORDS), and a sense of the staffing levels required to offer the service within the University.

Encouragingly, we are getting a steady trickle of enquiries about the forthcoming service from researchers currently planning data-based research projects, and there seems to be growing concern about good research data management more broadly, which the ORDS helps to address.

It has become clear during the course of the last nine months that we will not be able to get every feature that our researchers have requested into the ORDS service by its April launch (writing a new database management system from scratch is no small task!) but we do now have a clear sense of what will be in place come the launch, and what functionality will have to wait until we’re in service. We’ll be publishing a ‘roadmap’ in due course to give people an indication of when the more advanced features of the system will be ready to use.

We have already tried accessing the underlying system using Microsoft Access as a front-end interface, and this seems to work just fine – now it’s a question of polishing our native interfaces.

One final thing to note – we are planning on staging our concluding project workshop on Friday 2nd March at the Said Business School in Oxford. Expect a more detailed announcement shortly, but, for now, block out that day!

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