Page 33 - Campus Technology, May/June 2018
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A cloud-based infrastructure helps universities scale their computing power up or down on the fly. They purchase only what they need, like a utility.
For instance, a researcher might need to run a simulation on tens of thousands of cores at once,
but on short notice. “To have all that computational capacity on site and sitting idle, waiting for these types of requests, is not a good use of university resources,” says Chuck Gilbert, technical director for Penn State University’s Institute for CyberScience.
Hosting applications in the cloud also facilitates
easy collaboration and sharing of resources across departments and institutions. With the right permissions, employees and research team members have instant access to data and other shared resources wherever they might be, which improves productivity.
Despite these benefits, there are corresponding tradeoffs in moving to the cloud. Campus leaders must weigh several factors before developing a cloud migration plan. For example, although moving to
the cloud can reduce the effort needed to support applications over the long term, it requires a significant
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“We spend an enormous amount of money on security, integration, and performance tuning of our cloud-based applications so that
our customers don’t have to.”
up-front investment in change management.
“When universities have struggled, it’s often because
they didn’t realize the amount of change management that needed to happen within their business pro- cesses, and they didn’t spend enough time on that part of the project,” says Keith Rajecki, senior director for education and research at Oracle.
A cloud-based delivery model not only changes workflows for users. It also affects the IT needs of an institution, which could also affect how staff are deployed. “The role of the CIO and his or her staff will change in a cloud centric or even hybrid cloud environment,” says Mungovan. “Some of the
essential skill sets required for the maintenance and upkeep with legacy on premise systems are simply not the same set of skills required for a dynamic cloud environment or hybrid environment. The management opportunity is to pivot away from daily maintenance and move to strategic alignment across an organization’s growth path.”
Campus leaders must also consider factors such as total cost of ownership involved in moving to the cloud, the maturity of their IT department, how well their existing applications are working, and whether they would trust another entity with their data and applications.

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