Students apply to the university the number is constantly growing as the pandemic receded. Ensuring the availability of services anytime, anywhere is crucial in today’s educational environment, especially given that more students will create more data and rely more on digital services. Adoption of the cloud will allow universities to ensure the availability of services by addressing this increased demand.
The university has three main technological areas: research, academics (student training) and administration (university management). Each of these areas has unique challenges, but they can all benefit from the cloud – whether increasing speed, reducing overhead, or providing access to services and technologies that would otherwise be out of reach.
Three cloud focus areas for higher education
Researchers often have to perform large and computational workloads in small batches. Because of this, universities often have to figure out how to create, manage and maintain solutions such as HPC clusters without specifying who will use or pay for it. By not answering these questions or appointing someone to advocate this as a common initiative, university policy can often stifle a researcher’s progress.
In addition, it can lead to shadow systems, “artisanal clusters” or a decentralized approach to the cloud that bypasses security reviews, procurement policies, and governance policies. By using the cloud, universities can better manage the overhead of administering a large cluster of HPCs, the large amount of capital needed to purchase and build a cluster, and general management issues. This will allow researchers quick and secure access to huge computing power.
In addition to the need for large, computationally demanding workloads, researchers often work with specially designed or niche software that cannot be built with security protocols at the forefront. These niche solutions can be custom-made by staff or other experts in the field, and are often identified as too risky to install along with infrastructure owned and operated by the university because of the security risks they pose. Because of this, cloud hosting of some of these solutions, which are highly customized, is becoming another great use case where the cloud can help speed up research by providing the infrastructure needed to host very specific applications such as Cyberballwithout compromising the university’s network, systems and data.
The academic side of the university, especially with the increase in e-learning initiatives, should provide training in any subject from anywhere. Whether you pursue more technical disciplines such as physics, data science and computer science, or creative disciplines such as journalism, broadcast reporting or graphic design, you have students who need access to expensive software, intensive computing requirements and storage and / or require large data sets. Students may only need access to these resources for one semester, but this requires universities to invest in world-class computer labs that require physical space, which can be quite limited. Also, as more disciplines introduce more and more technology, the battle for course planning is growing for the use of these limited computer labs.