A Farewell to VIDaaS, or, What VIDaaS Did Next

The VIDaaS Project is at an end. All that remains now is for the team to review the draft final report and then check that the JISC are happy with our conclusions and recommendations. Whilst the project may have ended though, our work improving the Database as a Service (DaaS) software and creating the Online Research Database Service (ORDS) is still very much ongoing.

Our work over the next three or four months will focus on migrating the DaaS software from the JBoss 5 application server to a more secure platform. Unfortunately, whilst JBoss 5 greatly benefited the rapid development of the prototype DaaS system back in the days of the Sudamih Project, it is no longer being actively supported, so security vulnerabilities are no longer being fixed. We cannot, of course, launch a production service hosting valuable research data on a platform with known security issues.

After this work is complete we will then begin work on a follow-on project funded by the University of Oxford which will oversee the official launch of the ORDS service during the Summer of 2012 and further develop the functionality of the DaaS thereafter to enable it to meet a wider range of researchers’ requirements. This project will be called the ORDS Maturity Project, and will run for twelve months, by which time ORDS should be able to cater for databases involving multimedia content and allow the publication of subsets of otherwise restricted databases to support research publications.

Additionally, we hope to be able to secure funding to enable early adopters of the service to use it free of charge, to encourage uptake and help us identify areas for further improvement. Expect news about this over the coming month.

I’d like to thank all of the members of the VIDaaS team, who have each put a lot of effort in to getting our virtual infrastructure up and running, adapting and improving the DaaS, and producing the supporting materials and service documents that the ORDS will require in the future. Thanks also to the members of the Steering Group who have helped us to focus on our priorities and ensure that what we do will actually be of benefit to Oxford and universities throughout the UK. And finally thanks to all of the researchers and support staff who have been involved in testing, telling us their requirements, or helping us understand current practices. Their input has been essential.

Several members of the VIDaaS Project Team will now jump over to the Data Management Rollout at Oxford (DaMaRO) Project to join our colleagues from the Bodleian Libraries with the task of integrating our existing data management tools and services. Others will return to their ‘day jobs’ managing the infrastructure and services that the Computing Services provide. Some of our developers working on the DaaS will remain involved in its migration to a new platform, where they will be joined by a few fresh faces. We will all be involved in some way, shape, or form with the continued drive to improve the research data management infrastructure at the University.

Once the VIDaaS Final Report is finalized and agreed for publication I shall add a link to it from the website and blog, but in the meantime enjoy the Spring and manage your research data well!

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