Cloud Computing in Higher Education
By Mohit Phogat on Sep 19, 2013
Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.
Today, cloud computing is at an early stage in its lifecycle. However, the evolution and convergence of technology trends over the last several years has been driving enterprise data centers and service providers to grid computing, clustering, server virtualization, SOA shared services, and large-scale management automation. For more than a decade, Oracle has been the leader in these areas with thousands of customer successes and a high level of investment. One of Oracle’s most significant acquisitions, Sun Microsystems, authored “The Network Is the Computer”. Cloud computing is merely the latest term used to describe that reality. Today, Oracle powers the cloud and is the foundation for many of the world’s public and private clouds.
Several key factors are driving cloud computing in higher education and research—none of which are new to IT leaders: shrinking budgets, increased complexity, and continuously accelerating user expectations. Added into this mix for many institutions is the use of legacy or customized software and technologies that are resource-intensive to maintain much less update.
Here are some of the key points Oracle has seen in our work with higher education and research institutions around the world:
- Cloud computing builds on well-established distributed computing and shared services concepts.
- Data center consolidation, optimization and virtualization are logical steps in the evolution of an organization towards a cloud computing model.
- For higher education, the challenge is ‘how and what’ to move to the cloud—not ‘if’
- There are important differences between the public and private cloud deployment models.
- Operating system (OS) virtualization is not equivalent to cloud computing; and in fact may exacerbate problems of cost and complexity through “VM sprawl.”
- Virtualization can be delivered at different levels; service-driven virtualization rather than infrastructure-driven virtualization is the most beneficial form of virtualization.
- OS virtualization (hypervisor-based) is limited and deficient as it essentially promotes creating “virtual silos” instead of physical silos; it therefore does not necessarily deliver the benefits of a true cloud model.
Perhaps the most important perceived benefit of cloud computing by higher education and research institutions is that shared service models through cloud computing offer affordable choices and a multitude of options never before available to an industry which has so long lagged behind the private sector in its ability to keep pacewith technology resources purchasing power.
I would suggest you to read the white paper by Oracle on Cloud Solutions for Higher Education and Research.