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Chris Bamber is the IT systems manager at Somerville College, Oxford. He told ZDNet UK that his college was slowly looking at adopting virtualisation technology.
"[Virtualisation] is a solution for problems we have — space is our problem," Bamber said. "We'll look at power and cooling to see what benefits can be gained. There was an 85 percent hike in electricity prices over the last year. Anything we can bring in to give us out-of-hours resilience is a good thing."
Bamber was less concerned with the buzz surrounding cloud computing. "There's been a mention, but I don't think anyone is that concerned," he said. "It's more of a departmental focus — we deal with accommodation. It will come down to resilience, power and maybe disaster recovery. Insurance companies are also snapping at the heels of the colleges to look for their business approach."
Rival colleges are starting to look at using each other for systems backup purposes, according to Bamber. "That would mean halving the cost but keeping resilience," he said. "Working together is always interesting."
The biggest problem facing college IT administrators is security, Bamber said. "We spend most of our time firefighting with students. Our biggest threat is internal users. We have more than 300 students, 24/7, for 24 weeks a year."
Bamber said that, while the new generation of students are "computer natives", they can be very lax in terms of security. "We put in secure procedures, but next time new viruses come out, they'll be on the network before you know it," he said. "You can be proactive as you can but, if the colleges are not willing to pay for 24/7 staff, that's what happens."