The University of Plymouth operates its main campus in the city centre, with a number of affiliated campuses spread around the south west of England. Providing a variety of post and undergraduate degree courses across Arts and Humanities, Business, Medicine and Engineering to well over 20,000 students. The university also employs around 3,000 staff members.


Introduction

The University of Plymouth first outlined their 'Into the Cloud’ programme in October 2017 to address with the primary objectives to address:

  • A complex and large application estate
  • A need to make savings due to falling student numbers
  • High levels of residual risk
  • A demand for greater cost transparency

Industry:

Higher Education

Country:

United Kingdom

Number of users:

20,000

The challenge

The university was nearing the end of a large hardware refresh cycle, and the decision was balanced to either re-invest in current on-premise data centres or to commit to a cloud programme designed to transform services and to reduce Opex and Capex costs. It was at this point when CoreAzure were engaged to develop the case for cloud, not only from a financial viewpoint but also in terms of outlining a unique pathway to cloud from an architectural perspective. Following an in-depth Cloud Readiness Assessment, the commissioned plan to Design and Build a new cloud-based infrastructure and to migrate c.90% of application workloads to Azure over a 15-month timeframe was given the go ahead. 

Our solution

The Azure platform was implemented over a 12-month period, working closely with the in-house team. Agile was used as the basis of application migration, with a team comprising both UoP and CoreAzure staff. In addition to IaaS lift and shift, the migration pathway comprised re-architecting and re-factoring applications as well as PaaS and containerisation. In parallel, CoreAzure optimised the integration layer through LogicApps and ESB.  

As a result of the successful cloud transition programme, UoP now have a platform in place that has:

  • Reduced overall levels of Opex and through effective cost management levels of Azure consumption were lower than expected
  • C.90% of application workloads migrated to Azure
  • Levels of application optimisation higher than expected. The programme had been the catalyst to decommission around 40% of the application portfolio
  • Recovery and business continuity capabilities that have been enhanced with Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup
  • Established a transparent consumption-based cost model combatting the issues around many years of delegated budget and non-managed spend

The Cloud Discovery Assessment that CoreAzure completed here at Plymouth University has helped us to understand more about our unique pathway to cloud, allowing us to better and more accurately understand the cost of cloud vs our on-premise equivalent.

Paul Westmore, IT Director, Unievrsity of Plymouth