In this series, we introduce the team members who make up Research Data Services (RDS). This interview is with Luke Bluma, RDS team member and Engagement Manager for the Campus Computing Infrastructure (CCI) initiative.
Describe your role with CCI.
I am the Engagement Manager for the Campus Computing Infrastructure (CCI) initiative. CCI is a campus sponsored and governed initiative that delivers shared, scalable, secure IT infrastructure services to campus partners at UW-Madison. Services include: data center management, server hosting, storage and backup. My role is all about building relationships, learning how departments on campus do what they do, and gathering requirements on how shared IT infrastructure services may be able to help them out. My main focus over the last couple of years has been file storage.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on recently?
I recently got to work with a faculty researcher who had some storage needs. He is going to be utilizing the computing resources through the Advanced Computing Initiative (ACI) and needed a place to store the research data after the computations were complete. I was able to meet with him, learn a little about his research, identify his storage needs, and set him up with our scalable, affordable network storage service.
What excites you about supporting research data management on campus?
I love supporting research data management on campus because in the past my role has been mostly focused on administrative data, and while administrative data is critical to our campus it isn’t always as exciting as research data, in my opinion. I love being able to provide the platforms (virtual servers, storage, backup) that allow researchers to innovate. Working for UW-Madison is great, and being able to help support the research we do, in some small way, makes that even better!
If you had an unlimited budget, what would you institute on campus?
Free Babcock ice cream for all! In every building, day or night! (I wish!)
If I had an unlimited budget, I would re-think how we provide IT services on campus. I would work with campus to identify what core IT services should be provided by the University at no cost. This might include things like networking, virtual and physical servers, storage for your group, backup for your data and computers, etc. This would be a tremendous undertaking and would require a huge investment, but it would allow researchers and departments on campus to focus less on IT infrastructure (like running their own server room or storage array) and focus even more on their missions!
In addition to that, since I have an unlimited budget, I would also establish a group that would be available to facilitate access to these services. A group of people that could meet with you in person, learn about your work, identify potential solutions and help you get started. Having free tools is great, but it’s even better when someone is available to show you how to utilize them in the best ways possible.
Do you have a favorite UW building or landmark?
This was a tough question. I’m lucky because in my role I get to roam around campus a lot and see a lot of different buildings. I love the tall buildings because you get some spectacular views of downtown Madison from way up there. However, if I have to pick just one, I’d have to go with the Memorial Union. It gave me so many great memories during my undergraduate years here at UW-Madison – from studying in Der Rathskeller to enjoying a beer on a sunny afternoon at the Terrace. And recently one of my best friends got married there, so the memories just keep adding up!
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to golf! However, I should be honest here… while I do love to golf, I’m not very good at it. I was on the golf team in high school because it allowed me to play golf after school for free, not because I was a great golfer. I love being able to get outside on a sunny Sunday afternoon and play 18 holes with some friends, even if I spend a lot of the time in the woods looking for my ball.
Do you have a question for Luke or the rest of the RDS team? Contact us today.