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News From the Areas of Servers, Storage and Server Hosting

October 24th, 2022 | by

We have some news to announce since our last status report from the Systems Operation Department (SuB). Since December 1, 2021, there are new framework agreements for the procurement of servers and SAN storage systems. In the Virtual Server Hosting section, we have updated information on the infrastructure, the updated VM limits of Virtual Server Hosting as well as new processes for ordering VMs. Stay tuned to learn more about virtual machines and resources at RWTH Aachen University. 

 

Framework Agreements for Servers and Storage at RWTH Aachen University 

The SuB department supports the service, research and teaching areas by operating central hardware and software systems. In order to secure the IT infrastructure of RWTH Aachen University, the department makes a significant contribution to software and hardware procurement. For this purpose, tenders for framework contracts with high requirements have to be designed.

Since December 1, 2021, there have been new framework contracts for the procurement of servers as well as SAN storage systems. The framework agreements were put out to tender under the consortium leadership of RWTH Aachen University with the participation of several universities in the state of NRW.

Two new framework agreements with the following lots are currently available for procurement:

  1. standard x86-64 rack servers
  2. special x86-64 rack servers
  3. entry and midrange all flash SAN storage

The contracts can be used to procure servers from the manufacturer Dell Technologies and SAN storage from the manufacturer Huawei Technologies via call orders. The framework agreements were concluded with Bechtle GmbH for the Dell rack servers and with Itiso GmbH for SAN storage from Huawei. All three framework agreements run until November 2023, with the option of two 12-month extensions.

 

Renewal of Virtual Server Hosting Infrastructure  

The IT Center offers the operation of virtual machines (virtual server hosting) for rent and takes over both the setup, maintenance as well as ensuring the availability of a virtual hardware resource. Changes have also been made in this area: The infrastructure of virtual server hosting has been fundamentally renewed.

The current infrastructure is based on the following technologies, among others:

  • Intel Cascade Lake and Ice Lake CPUs
  • 2x 25Gb/s Ethernet per hypervisor host
  • All Flash SAN storage with 2x 32Gb/s FC per hypervisor host.

The renewal of the infrastructure made it possible to increase the “VM Limits” for the Virtual Server Hosting service, which means that larger capacities of virtual machines can now be booked:

  • 28 vCPU cores (instead of 14)
  • 128 GB vRAM (instead of 64)
  • 4 TB vSSD (instead of 2).

 

VMs Order and Cooperate Made Easy  

Virtual machines can be ordered and managed independently by employees of RWTH Aachen University through the self-service of virtual resources (SeviRe). Employees can authenticate and log in to SeviRe via RWTH Single Sign-On via Shibboleth. Since 2020, the SeviRe portal has enabled the ordering of virtual resources. This requires a unique sign, the PSP element, which references an account of an organization at RWTH Aachen University. The portal also provides an overview of existing VMs as well as corresponding order confirmations and also digitally represents various change processes.

Now there are improvements for the self-service of virtual resources (SeviRe) for handling billing-relevant data with relevance for cooperations within RWTH. For example, a virtual machine can now be ordered by a member of institution A for institution A, specifying a PSP element of institution B and a holder of the role “Order IT” for institution B. The SeviRe ordering process then automatically takes care of obtaining the necessary authorizations from the participating facilities A and B. Thus, a VM order can be placed by one facility and payment made by another.

The also new possibility in SeviRe to change a WBS element for existing VMs follows analogously to the specification of the PSP element for VM ordering, with the same cooperation possibilities of RWTH institutions. It is available in the context of the detailed view of a virtual machine in the SeviRe portal.

 

Responsible for the content of this article are Lina-Louise Kaulbach and Markus Steinberger.

 

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