The MS Dynamic Academic Alliance conference in Barcelona focused this year from November, 30th to December, 2nd 2015 on new versions of the Microsoft products Dynamics CRM 2016 and Dynamics Navision 2016 that are now available as fully “cloud-based” versions. So enterprises do not need to have their own server infrastructure anymore. Rather, they can now fully base on application-services provided in the MS Azure Cloud. While MS CRM was already available in previous versions (since CRM v2013) as a cloud-based solutions, the availability of MS Dynamics Navision 2016 as a “Cloud-based” ERP-solution is a new variation of business-software offered by MS in the Azure-cloud.
ICCLab again organised the Summer School this year. This was the 3rd year since this program was incorporated as part of the ZHAW international exchange program. We had 16 students in total this year, 6 from the United States of America (GVSU, Michigan) and 10 from Switzerland (ZHAW).
The Summer School is an overall 4 week program, of which 2 weeks where spent in Winterthur, teaching Cloud Computing and Computer System lectures and labs everyday. Two more weeks of education are currently spent at our partner-university, Grand-Valley State University, in Allendale, MI, USA.
The lectures & labs were held by our own team members from the lab, the experts teaching their topic. Hence it provided a good opportunity for the aspirant young researchers to have some formal teaching experience. Some regular lecturers and professors (who look after this responsibility in the formal semester of the University), could take a back seat to supervise the course and some others transferred their long term expertise to the next generation of ICT-engineers.
Complimenting the ICCLab cloud computing lab, the InIT operates and runs 2 BladeCenter infrastructure environments, based on IBM Blade-server technology.
These environments have different purposes:
- 1 productive environment for projects, teaching and training systems (running on VMware vSphere v5.0 and operated via a vCenter 5 management system)
- 1 test and training environment for practical exercises (different hypervisor configurations, as required during lab exercises)
The systems consist of IBM Blade servers, corresponding BladeCenter chassis and are connected to IBM SAN storage networks that are linked via fiberoptic switches to deliver a maximum of flexibility and performance for each environment. Both environments can be operated and run independent from each other, at different physical locations.
Hard-/Software Infrastructure and Virtualization Layers
The productive InIT BladeCenter environment consists of 7 IBM HS 22 Blade systems, each with 192 GB RAM, 2 Xeon processors per system and are linked to a 8Gbit fiberoptic network storage switch.
They are running on VMware vSphere v5.0 hypervisor software for virtualization and a are operated via vCenter v5 as management platform.
The productive environment has 3 IBM DS 3512 SAN storage units available, 2 x 12 TB storage space and 1 x 8.5 TB storage unit. All SAN units are configured as RAID 6 storage systems, with 4 GB local memory and each with a hot-spare disk. The hosts systems have an additional storage server available that contains over 200 different ISO-software images (various operating systems and applications that can be attached during setup of a new virtual system or for installation of additional software during operation). All computing units are connected via 2 x 1Gbit network interfaces for operation of the virtual systems and 2 x 1 Gbit network links for backbone management and backup purposes.
The InIT Blade infrastructure currently hosts over 250 active virtual systems and approx. 8 different templates that are used in various teaching courses, a project- and test-environments of for dedicated research projects. The templates allow the operators to deploy pre-configured Windows- and Linux-Servers within minutes.
A dedicated backup-server is available for raw-backup of running virtual systems or for backup of individual virtual servers, based on user-requests. An agent-based version of the Acronis Backup software allows authorized users to run independent backups of full servers, databases or individual files, not requiring access to the underlaying VMware host systems.
The InIT Blade Test-Lab consists of 10 x IBM HS21XM and 2 x IBM HS21 blade servers, each equipped with 2 Intel Xeon processors and 32 GB RAM.
They share 2 SAN storage units IBM DS3400, each with 36 x 250 GB storage volume, organized in various LUNs for different exercises and training Labs.
Connectivity and internet access is managed via a BladeCenter chassis and three 6-port 1Gbit Ethernet switches, while the SANs are attached via 4Gbit fiberoptic switches to allow a maximum of flexibilty and configuration options for different lab-tests.