The University of Edinburgh research infrastructure has been following a plan to move from a “big bang” 5 year large scale investment cycle to an annual rolling replacement cycle.
An aim of this approach is to minimise disruption to research activities (ie removing regular wholesale replacement of the compete infrastructure – which causes considerable disruption due to the large scale changes involved and the concentration of work on the system and change into a single period.
It is also expected that a rolling refresh should allow greater flexibility in responding to requests for change/new technologies from the research community, as change of the system is not concentrated in single time frames with a 5 year periodicity (starting 2019/20).
A rolling replacement cycle also allows the potential for different approaches to support and maintenance for systems.
In a rolling replacement environment it is possible to consider greater use of commodity hardware in appropriate positions in the system (ie. non-business critical or where redundancy/work-flow migration allows).