Deloitte Helps University of Newcastle Cut Carbon Footprint and Drive Innovation by Migrating to AWS

Executive Summary

In 2019, the University of Newcastle appointed Deloitte and AWS to deliver a complete migration to the AWS Cloud, and effectively facilitate a seamless exit from its on-premises data center. Together with the University, the team migrated 139 mission-critical applications to AWS, with additional migration of applications to software as a service, and decommissioned a number of applications, three months ahead of schedule.

Seeking to Migrate 200 Mission-Critical Applications with Zero Downtime

As one of Australia’s leading regional universities, the University of Newcastle is committed to providing a modern digital experience to all its 6,000 staff and researchers, and over 38,000 students across 14 campuses. The University recognized technology as a key differentiator in its competitive sector, and it sought to move to the cloud to support its strategic goals. However, migrating nearly 200 applications, including its mission-critical student management system (NUSTAR), with zero downtime for users was a challenge. “More than 40 other applications interact with NUSTAR as their data source. If that system goes down, the University can’t function,” says Anthony Molinia, Chief Information Officer for the University of Newcastle.

Deloitte Helps Move Applications to AWS Three Months Ahead of Schedule

Deloitte, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner, successfully led the in-depth migration journey to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud, in collaboration with the University and AWS. The team worked closely together every day to ensure a focused, smooth transition. “Deloitte and AWS had the right cloud technology expertise and migration knowledge and experience to help us migrate to the cloud,” says Ben Patey, Associate Director of Solutions for the University of Newcastle.

Engaging Stakeholders and Leading an In-Depth Immersion Day

To prepare for the migration, Deloitte built a thorough business case and strategy, and conducted detailed planning exercises with the University to understand how each application worked. Deloitte also worked with different University stakeholders to identify their specific user requirements. To make sure the final solution was fit for purpose, the University with Deloitte and AWS designed an in-depth immersion day for students, staff, researchers, and local industry, so they could experience the cloud in 12 proof-of-concept immersive stations.

To ensure a successful migration and take users on the journey to AWS, the team also ran multiple consultation workshops, narrative sessions, Q&A sessions, and impact analysis and assurance sessions across the University. In parallel, the team delivered the technical work of preparing production-ready workloads. Following the immersion day and initial technical work, Deloitte worked with the University to migrate 139 applications to AWS, including NUSTAR and key finance systems.

“The move to the cloud has allowed us to be faster, so when the business has demands, we can respond in half an hour to an hour, as opposed to six to eight weeks.”

- Ben Patey, Associate Director of Solutions, University of Newcastle

Zero Downtime

Deloitte, in collaboration with the University, migrated NUSTAR to AWS in a single weekend, so this critical student application was up and running and available to students before Monday morning classes. “The day this application went live is the day the university started believing in this cloud migration,” says Molinia.

Ultimately, Deloitte helped the University replatform 72 percent and refactor 23 percent of its application suite. For NUSTAR, the cloud migration team wrote more than 55,000 lines of automation code to manage the application. “To achieve the migration out of our on-premises data center to the cloud in that space of time was pretty heroic,” says Patey. The University’s application environments run on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and use Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for data.

Updating NUSTAR in Less Than a Day

The University now only requires less than a half day to introduce changes in NUSTAR, compared to more than three weeks in the data center environment. “The move to the cloud has allowed us to be faster, so when the business has demands, we can respond in half an hour to an hour, as opposed to six to eight weeks,” says Patey.

The cloud allows students and academics the ability to acquire the necessary skills they need to succeed in a cloud-first world. Specifically, the University’s School of Creative Industries’ design-rendering solution is performing 64 times faster by running on AWS. Additionally, Deloitte, the University, and AWS are working together to offer AWS-specific classes directly to students.

Enabling Academic Innovation

Relying on AWS-based high-performance computing (HPC) solutions, researchers and instructors can more easily access resources and perform testing and analysis faster. Additionally, the University is using Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon AppStream 2.0 to enable remote teaching functions that were previously dependent on a physical infrastructure.

As it continues to expand its use of AWS, the University of Newcastle is embarking on new cloud initiatives and is also working to enhance students’ digital dexterity as it seeks to enable the next generation of cloud-savvy students.

Supporting a Renewable Energy Vision

By running its applications on AWS, the University of Newcastle can better deliver on its Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019–2025. In line with its initial sustainability vision, the University is well on its way to become becoming carbon neutral by 2025, having attained 100 percent renewable energy supply in 2020. The University has reduced its carbon footprint by implementing a cloud-first strategy that removes the need to build a new physical data center and associated infrastructure on campus.

University of Newcastle

About the University of Newcastle

The University of Newcastle is an Australian public university founded in 1965 in Callaghan, Newcastle, New South Wales. Known for its academic research, the University has over 38,000 students and 6,000 faculty and administrative staff.

About Deloitte

Deloitte is one of the world’s largest professional services firms and has expertise in developing digital transformation strategies. Through a network of more than 310,000 professionals, industry specialists, and an ecosystem of alliances, Deloitte helps customers turn complex business challenges into opportunities for growth.

Published June 2021