Talk on Cloud Migration Experiences

Tuesday 12 February 2013

BCS, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA | Maps

6.00pm for 6.30pm start.

Graham Oakes and Stewart Marshall


The talk looks at Oxfam’s experience of moving its web applications into "the Cloud".

Oxfam spent some time exploring options such as Amazon EC2 and the Google App Engine in 2009. It also virtualised many of its back-office applications (Finance and HR, Supporter Database, etc) in that year. Then in 2010 it decided to explore moving its complete web application suite (website, e-commerce, intranet, etc) from the 30-odd servers in its web hosting facility to a cloud-based facility.

That migration is now complete and we’ve learned a few lessons. Like how the difference between “public” and “private” cloud may not be as obvious as it seems. Or about the way in which cloud services cast a new light on a whole bunch of internal relationships.

So we’ll describe Oxfam’s experience and use it to trigger discussion on questions such as:

  • Who drives development in the cloud? E.g. are teams within business units (as opposed to IT) likely to drive more development?
  • What standards do we need to develop effectively for the cloud?
  • What application lifecycles make sense in the cloud, where constraints on the number of dev & test environments, etc, are more relaxed?

About the speakers:

 Graham Oakes helps people untangle complex technology, relationships, processes and governance. As an independent consultant, he helps organisations such as the Council of Europe, Greenpeace, Intel, Oxfam, the Open University, Skype and Vodafone to define strategy, initiate projects and hence run those projects effectively. Prior to going independent, he was Director of Technology at Sapient Limited and Head of Project Management for Psygnosis Ltd (a subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment).

Dr Oakes holds a PhD from Imperial College, London, and a first degree in geophysics from the University of Queensland. He is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Information Technology Professional, and Fellow of the BCS. His book Project Reviews, Assurance and Governance is published by Gower.

Stewart Marshall is an Enterprise Architect and heads the IT Design Team at Oxfam GB. He leads on IT strategy and architecture, to meet the needs of Oxfam’s diverse range of business disciplines. He is currently engaged in a strategic move towards exploiting managed services (“cloud” infrastructure and applications) and in developing an architecture for sharing services with other Oxfam affiliates around the world.

Stewart has worked in the airline industry, where he was a technical architect, working on a major UK airline’s web site and on other large airline systems. Prior to that, he used computers to model chemical processes within the natural environment.

Oxfam GB

Oxfam is a global humanitarian, development and campaigning organisation working with others to overcome poverty and suffering. Since its Oxford-based beginnings in 1942, it has grown into a worldwide force. Oxfam is now working in nearly 60 countries on a diverse range of projects, from providing emergency water sources to supporting community health projects.

Oxfam has one million supporters in the UK. For every £1 donated to its general funds, 83p is spent on emergency, development and campaigning work, 10p is spent on support and governance and 7p is invested to generate future income. Oxfam has more than 700 high street shops across the UK selling donated fashion, books, music, homewares and new ethical products. It is supported by a workforce of 22,000 volunteers. Oxfam also launched the UK’s first online charity shop in 2007.

Oxfam GB is affiliated to Oxfam International, a global confederation of 15 independent Oxfams which share the same purpose.


View the slides from the presentation