IG16 Conference Preview

by Matt Flower, Consultant, University of Wolverhampton

Fast becoming an established annual event for HE IT Professionals, this year’s UCISA Infrastructure Group Conference is taking place 29–30 September at the striking Queens Hotel in Leeds city centre. Offering 1930s art deco opulence, easy access to all that Leeds city centre has to offer, as well as being adjacent to the railway station, we are sure that the Queens will prove to be a fantastic venue for IG16.

Software defined. So what?

What do storage, data centres and networking all have in common? They are all things that we are now increasingly prefixed with Software Defined. But, what do software defined storage, data centres, and networks really mean for those of us tasked with designing, implementing and managing ever more complex IT infrastructures? Through a range of focused and more widely ranged sessions, IG16 aims to help you understand the technologies required in order to meet the progressively complex and demanding needs of our institutions and how they can bring business value.

This year we have put together a programme that offers a combination of strategic vision, experiences and insight from sector colleagues and industry experts.

Following the welcome address from David Telford, UCISA Executive Chair, day one continues with our opening keynote from the leading information technology research and advisory company, Gartner. After a mix of subject-focused breakout sessions from sector colleagues, and Business Showcases, the first day concludes with the welcome return of Infrastructure Question Time, again hosted by the inimitable Adrian Ellison (UCISA Executive Secretary and Director of IT at the University of West London). With an eclectic mix of panel members, we encourage questions from delegates, so don’t forget that you can also tweet your questions using the conference hashtag #igconf16.

Matt Flower

One consistent item of feedback we receive is that delegates really value the prospect of networking with peers and solutions providers. This is something we are sure the Welcome Drinks and Conference Dinner will provide abundant opportunity for.

Day two of IG16 opens with a look at the Software Defined University where VMware and Softcat, along with University of Central Lancashire, will outline how a software-defined approach to HE can prove vital towards a more collaborative, innovative and successful environment for both staff and students.

Software virtualisation – a journey not a destination is the first of two presentations from the University of Wolverhampton. Nici Cooper, Assistant Director will look at the drivers and approach that UoW took in moving over 300 applications to an on-demand virtualised delivery solution, a project that formed part of the University’s £25m Digital Campus foundation projects.

Business Showcases follow, first up being Adrian Davies, IT Operations Manager at Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council who will be talking about how Nutranix have helped to underpin the digital future of the council. This will be followed by Deliver IT at the speed of the business from Chief Technologist at Logicalis, Neil Thurston.

After lunch and further networking opportunities, UCISA Infrastructure Group Committee member Joanna Radley, Infrastructure and Network Services Manager at University of Huddersfield will outline the benefits of getting involved with UCISA, being joined on stage by UCISA Executive Adrian Ellison.

IG16 will then have the second session from the University of Wolverhampton, this time from Dean Harris, Assistant Director (Infrastructure). Talking about another of the University of Wolverhampton’s Digital Campus foundation projects, Dean will cover how the Digital Storage project has provided a powerful, scalable, and robust platform to meet the storage requirements of the University for the next five years. 

This year’s closing keynote will come from Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft UK. The author of numerous books, including Business Reimagined, Dave is passionate about turning the base metal of technology into valuable assets that affect the way that we live, learn, work and play and in so doing, move the focus from the technology itself to the actual outcome.  

The IG16 organising committee have worked hard to bring you what we hope will once more be both a rewarding and informative conference. 

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