Server hosting

VMware service

Computing Services Department (CSD) can provide centrally hosted virtual servers, running on VMware, which are a more economic and environmentally friendly solution than a physical standalone server. The VMware cluster uses enterprise grade hardware that is located in both CSD data centres providing resilience against failure of a single server and failover capability in the event of the loss of a data centre. Additionally VMware servers are backed up daily which provides fast recovery in the event of data loss or corruption.

As there is no need for departments to procure additional hardware, servers can be commissioned and put into service quickly. There is also the possibility of providing test environments that are the same as the production environment.

The VMware offers 3 standard levels of server specification:

Server Cost
VMware Level 1 (4GB RAM, 2 CPUs, 50GB HDD) £900
VMware Level 2 (8GB RAM, 2 CPUs, 70GB HDD) £1600
VMware Level 3 (16GB RAM, 2 CPUs, 100GB HDD) £1900

To discuss requirements and costs, which include any Microsoft OS licensing (with Red Hat OS and web server certificates at additional cost), please contact the CSD Service Desk.

Full administrator privileges will be provided to the nominated administrator and VMware management tools are available which enable features such as remote power management of the virtual server.

Physical servers

Physical servers can be hosted on agreement with CSD in one of the data centres. Due to the flexibility of VMware this is rarely required and work out significantly more expensive.

CSD will get an estimate from one of its preferred suppliers to provide a server with the necessary specification. End users will not be able to install their own pre-purchased equipment in the machine room.

The server(s) will be installed in one of the University's data centres.

End users are strongly advised to pay for hardware maintenance to cover the life of the project with the initial purchase of the server.

CSD will NOT carry out repairs of the servers but will deal with reporting faults to the original suppliers and supervise the repairs on behalf of the end user. Once a server is out of hardware maintenance, the end user will need to make their own arrangements with the supplier to carry out repairs.

In addition to the physical server cost, other costs will need to be considered such as software licensing and backup.

Hosting guidance

By hosting servers in the CSD datacenters the following conditions will need to be met. These are standard best practices that ensure the hosted systems are secure and correctly managed:

  • The server will include a virus scanner and automatic updating. It is a requirement that all servers managed by CSD be patched to the same level as other CSD equipment. There is no additional cost for these.
  • Servers must pass Vulnerability scan tests before going into service. This is to ensure there are no vulnerabilities in software components e.g. outdated versions of Java etc.
  • Where required CSD can obtain and install security certificates to encrypt any web traffic.
  • Where an end user has engaged a third party to provide software, CSD will prepare the server (standalone or VM) up to the point where the third party is ready to install their application. Maintenance of software not installed by CSD is a matter for the end user and their supplier.
  • The VMs can be added to CSD’s Active Directory where appropriate and local administrator rights are provided.
  • CSD can provide remote access to the servers if required for software configuration by third party companies. There is no additional cost for this provision.