George Washington University Considers Moving To The Cloud
The George Washington University Board of Trustees will vote in coming weeks on a proposal to move some data and services from overloaded on-premise servers to cloud-based servers.
According to university information officers, moving data and applications to the cloud will liberate considerable space on existing traditional servers. Currently, the university must move data between servers located at its Virginia and Foggy Bottom campuses. Shifting programs and functions to the cloud will simplify the process and could enhance end-user experience, university officials noted.
Like many institutions, George Washington University is investigating the potential of the cloud as an alternative to investing in physical servers. Applications and solutions deployed for administrative, educational, and other university purposes require considerable storage and space requirements. Migrating many of these functions to the cloud offers magnified storage capacity and increased agility without the need for expanded data centers; it also gives the university the chance to free up space currently designated for on-premise servers.
In recent weeks, George Washington University was compelled to take several non-essential functions offline because of cooling system malfunctions at the Foggy Bottom campus data center. Additional failures caused outages at the Gelman Library, the main library on the Foggy Bottom campus.
Moreover, university officials note that migrating some functions to the cloud could result in savings of approximately $1 million per year. Georgetown University recently migrated several functions to cloud servers, reducing information technology costs by about $700,000; St. Leo University in Florida saved nearly $500,000 by moving some student applications to the cloud and Duke University also reported considerable savings after deployment of cloud solutions.
In most cases, universities and university systems that have shifted functions to the cloud retain a number of on-premise servers. While many of the schools want to get optimal benefit from investments in existing infrastructure, information technology officers also express concerns about security and confidentiality. Nonetheless, they note that the cloud offers significant upside for institutions seeking cost-savings and flexibility.
By Mary Elizabeth