La Trobe University hunts MSP to take over data centres

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La Trobe University hunts MSP to take over data centres

La Trobe University is hunting an IT managed services provider to help the institution ditch its data centres.

The university's chief information officer, Peter Nikoletatos, explained that his department was currently in a tender process looking for a supplier to take over its infrastructure.

"We don't want to manage any data centres – we want to have that completely managed by a third party."

Nikoletatos envisages a future where La Trobe's IT team is more focused on transformational projects, not keeping the lights on. He wants to move "away from something that adds absolutely zero value to the business and that is all about implementation of IT, and switch them over to application of IT".

The university is embracing SaaS, though Nikoletatos said many legacy applications will continue to run out of a managed data centre.

"Where it makes sense, where our core applications are quite mature and our providers are doing software as a service – that makes a lot of things easy for us. You do the whole platform and infrastructure and application bundled together."

He predicted "the top 30 applications, they will migrate to the SaaS model".

"We have been public about our work with SAP in this space. We were the first customer globally to put SAP's Simple Finance in the cloud," he said.

"But that is a top 30 application. While that is quite mature, there are another 600 applications that operate in the university that need a home. For us to maintain tin, to buy servers and compute and maintain infrastructure in data centres, we have to have a capital demand-driven model.

"That predisposes that we will get capital each year – enough to refresh at regular intervals. What typically happens is you can't rely on your capital funding being consistent over time. You may need it, but it may not be a great time for the institution. Their priorities might be elsewhere.

"We are tending to sweat assets further and that of course increases our error rate – and that is a problem that I don't need," Nikoletatos said.

Nikoletatos made the comments at last month's Cisco Live, then also spoke at the CRN Pipeline summit in Melbourne last week along with a panel of leading IT buyers.

La Trobe is not alone in looking for an MSP to take over infrastructure to free up the internal team to focus more closely on transformation and business-driven projects. Last year, CRN reported how Flight Centre had chosen service provider Interactive to take over its data centre for similar reasons.

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