Senior Core Infrastructure Services Specialist – IT Services

Full-time University of Birmingham in IT Email Job
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Job Description

Position Details

IT Services

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £42,149 to £50,296. With potential progression once in post to £56,587 a year

Grade 8

Full Time, Fixed Term contract for 12 months

Closing date: 15 August 2022

Our offer to you

People are at the heart of what we are and do.

The University of Birmingham is proud to have been a part of the City of Birmingham and the wider region for over 100 years, and we are equally proud to be recognised as a leading global university.  We want to attract talented people from across the city and beyond, support them to succeed, and celebrate their success.

We are committed to helping the people who work here to develop through our sector-leading Birmingham Professional programme which provides all professional services staff with development opportunities and the encouragement to reach their full potential.  With almost 5,000 professional services jobs in a wide-range of functions in Edgbaston and in our campus in Dubai, there are plenty of opportunities for you to be able to develop your career at the University.

We believe there is no such thing as a typical member of staff and that diversity is a source of strength that underpins the exchange of ideas, innovation, and debate.  We warmly welcome people from all backgrounds and are committed to fostering an inclusive environment where diversity is at the heart of who and what we are, and how we work.

Supporting our people to achieve a healthy work/life balance is important both to our employees and to the success of the University and, depending on the role, we offer a variety of flexible working arrangements. We therefore welcome discussions on all forms of flexible working.  In addition, you will receive a generous package of benefits including 40 days paid holiday a year, one paid day a year for volunteering, occupational sick pay, and a pension scheme. We also have three high quality subsidised day nurseries.

The University is situated in leafy Edgbaston and there are excellent transport links to our beautiful campus, including main bus routes and a train station on site.  On campus we have a state-of-the-art sports centre with pool, shops, places to eat and drink, our own art gallery, museum and botanical gardens.

Find out more about the benefits of working for the University of Birmingham.


The business of the University is increasingly dependent upon IT systems which must be reliable and resilient and able to deliver high levels of availability, sometimes greater than 99%. With this in mind the University has embarked on a major business continuity and disaster recover initiative with the aim of meeting the onerous requirements of the user community. Resources are being distributed across two data centres with an increasingly complex interaction between the two to ensure that failure of a system in one location is speedily compensated for by duplicate systems in the other. One such example of this is the adoption of storage area networks which replicate data simultaneously in both locations.

The University must ensure the smooth operation and technical development of business critical IT systems such as finance and personnel, research data management and student facing applications. Failure of any of these systems would have a significant impact on the University’s ability to continue its business. A recent analysis by external consultants identified that unavailability of some of these systems for as little as one hour would significantly disruptive; most other systems were identified as requiring restoration within four hours. Additionally, data is the fastest growing area within the whole IT infrastructure The post holder therefore must manage this significant risk to the University, and recommend and implement complex IT systems to enhance business continuity arrangements and the system’s ability to survive potential disasters, such as the loss of one of the University’s data centres.

Significant investment has been made into such facilities but as their reliability grows so does their complexity. Increasingly there is a demand for system availability 24 hours a day, seven days a week which can only be achieved by building reliability and automatic failover into the architecture. In the hostile environment of the Internet security considerations also play a major part in safeguarding services and data from external attack.

IT Services therefore requires highly responsible, skilled and dedicated staff to manage services in specialist areas, as any failure would have an immediate and significant effect on the business continuity of the  applications on which the University’s business operations depends e.g. the loss of financial systems or critical data for the whole University.

The Core Infrastructure Services Team within Core Infrastructure in IT Services is responsible for infrastructure changes and upgrades to major IT systems. Smooth and efficient operation of the team is therefore essential to ensure all development and change requests are appropriately prioritised taking account of available resources whilst aiming to meet the business need.

IT Services has adopted the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) standards for service management, and training staff throughout the organisation accordingly.

Role Summary

This is an important post within IT Services, providing a focus of technical expertise, support and development in the following areas: Microsoft Active Directory, Azure Active Directory, Identity management. Adhering to the IT Services Digital Strategy, developing and supporting application platforms running on multi cloud, including VMware private cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS.  This expertise is vital for new developments and supporting the day-to-day running of a large and complex infrastructure. Also working alongside blended managed services where appropriate to support the infrastructure, ensuring high levels of service availability. The benefit to the University is the on-going development and support for state-of-the-art computing and information services for both staff and students in line with the central vision for the University Of Birmingham.

The post holder is responsible for:

  • Development of a local strategy in line with the ITS Digital Strategy for the use of: Active Directory, Azure AD, Identity Management, and other systems that underpin the business applications and services. How they are managed centrally, including deployment, management, remediation and automation. Making technical recommendations to the Core Infrastructure Services Manager.
  • Development, maintenance, and support of: Active Directory, including defining standards and operational models of support. Development of self-service models to enable greater operational efficiency.
  • Provision: Of Infrastructure, including automation of infrastructure through the use of code, for repeatable standardised service release.

Main Duties

  • Lead the strategic, design, development, testing, and implementation of new and upgraded: Microsoft Active Directory, Azure Active Directory, systems and supporting infrastructure in accordance with customer requirements and agreed service level statements. Responsible for investigating and planning major IT infrastructure projects spanning several years.
  • Provide technical management advice to support and maintain existing central C&IT Services (such as service design, resilience and automation) based on various technologies to achieve high levels of availability, reliability and performance. This includes troubleshooting and solving complex problems.
  • Provide expert technical advice and assistance to colleagues across the University by developing and implementing systems in support of specific applications.
  • Support and maintain existing server-side operating systems and software services to achieve high levels of availability and performance.
  • Develop and implement new server-side virtual machines for virtualisation (VMware) operating systems. Delivered through a standardised approach using automation and configuration management techniques.
  • Provide expert support within IT Services for Identity management, MS Exchange infrastructure and developing and maintaining systems in MS Azure.
  • Define and develop a strategy for the use of Active directory, Microsoft Azure platforms, within the University, taking account of technological trends and experience elsewhere, particularly within HE.
  • Provide a central focus of Microsoft Azure system expertise within the University to advise on and resolve related issues throughout the University, including, where requested, schools and administrative budget centres.
  • When requested, lead projects involving staff from other teams of IT Services and sometimes other budget centres, following IT Services’ standard project management techniques, to achieve the agreed project brief.
  • Supervise and provide guidance to Core Infrastructure Specialists on a day to day basis.
  • Undertake other such duties as may be required from time to time in furtherance of the work of IT Services

Person Specification

  • Formal education to degree level or equivalent experience.
  • A postgraduate qualification in a C&IT related discipline or equivalent experience advantageous.
  • Good broad knowledge of identity management directories and platforms, network services, virtualisation, storage, including latest technology industry trends
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills.
  • Excellent inter-personal skills
  • Expert knowledge of virtualisation and storage infrastructures is required, both at the strategic level and at the detailed technical level with substantive experience of managing complex IT systems.
  • Specific and substantive in-depth knowledge and experience of Active Directory
  • Extensive experience in managing a large MS Exchange server estate, preferably with significant experience in centralised patch management of infrastructure.
  • Significant experience of managing or co-ordinating work of computer staff
  • Experience of managing significant IT projects and project teams.
  • Proven track record of successfully managing mission critical high availability services
  • The ability to develop skills in others, both in a formal teaching environment and within the context of day to day work.
  • Ability to specify hardware to meet the needs of various projects
  • Ability to recognise trends and needs in this area and recommend appropriate changes to existing regulations and policies and development of new ones
  • Sufficient knowledge and expertise to advise and help other specialists and support staff within the department in overcoming technical difficulties or problems with specific projects

Informal enquires to Ian McBride, email:



Valuing excellence, sustaining investment

We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working.

Primary Location


Work Locations

IT Services

IT Services Elms RoadThe University of Birmingham

Birmingham B15 2TT




 IT Services




Job Posting

 01.08.2022, 12:00:00 AM

Grade (for job description) Grade 8

Salary (Pay Basis)


Maximum Salary


Advert Close Date

 15.08.2022, 11:59:00 PM

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