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Coming in to the final top 3 issues, as we look at starting the fall semester on our campuses:

Issue #3: Developing an Institution-wide Cloud Strategy"Given the tremendous diversity of technologies, approaches, and providers, colleges and universities need to develop a coherent strategy about alternative sourcing. A successful strategy is not focused on technologies but, rather, is focused on issues such as architecture, business models and requirements, procurement and contract management, contingency planning, security, privacy, and compliance. For services that remain available in an on-premise model, campus IT organizations will need to continually demonstrate the value of that model in the face of cloud offerings. For new, cloud-only offerings, the institution will need to establish a strategy for evaluation, selection, risk assessment, and vendor management. It will also need to establish a strategy around data-integration tasks that may have to be undertaken by the campus IT organization."

This is one area where my experiences are centered on the procurement model, vendor communications, and contract management.   We also try to be the security and privacy experts in the negotiation and relationship.   I'm surprise how little actual technology gets into the discussion on my campus.  We find our constituents falling in love with some solution, and we enable the purchase, as that is the strategy at our university.  We seek to be enablers of niche decisions, rather than consolidators or technology evaluators in these situations.  It is a different role and we are trying to be the best we can be in that situation, while discovering what the "best" is in that role.

What role is your organization filling it developing a cloud strategy?

--
Theresa Rowe
Chief Information Officer
Oakland University
 
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

I’m sure we all agree that “cloud” is a timely topic, and one that is worthy of a coherent sourcing strategy.  I encourage us to continue to assess cloud through an economic and service quality lens rather than a new technology lens.  Certainly some of the economics and services are enabled by the return of virtualization, scale, and connectivity, but these are means and not the end themselves.

 

One approach could reasonably argue that campuses, especially campuses of smaller size that do not have other paths to grow scale, might hollow out their IT operations to simply be contract managers of cloud services.  The same could be true for large institutions where the economics at scale are even beyond multi-university systems.

 

Yet history advises some caution with that recurring idea.  As a Professor of Information Systems, we’ve seen the insource-outsource yo-yo play out through several cycles since the late 1980s.  Kodak, GM, and other firms famously outsourced IT writ large to just manage sets of contracts with experienced IT service providers and then a few years later began reassembling internal IT capabilities.  That is, of course, an over simplification, but the coordination costs of managing contracts with divergent interests can sometimes negate the anticipated benefits.

 

Three years ago a group of about 30 universities convened to discuss cloud and how we might actively shape a trend that was certainly coming our way.  Shel Waggener and I drew on those conversations and others to write “Above Campus Services: Shaping the Promise of Cloud Computing for Higher Education” in EDUCAUSE Review (2009).  We argued that a big push on Federated Identity and “Consortium Makers” would be key to driving favorable economics of cloud.

 

Three years hence, we now see great progress with Internet2’s InCommon work on identity and Net+ services.  Participants in the first Net+ service, Box.Com, are seeing firsthand how aggregated negotiation, simplified contracts, and federated identity are showing an industry-wide approach – not just a campus approach – to cloud strategy.  If you look the Net+ site on Internet2, you see a four stage path to incubate and mature a range of cloud services that are nominated and sponsored by higher ed institutions.  These sometimes include higher ed Institutions or Consortia as the service provider.

 

I’ll end this long post with yet again a word of economic caution from The Economist that has written variants of “beware the cloud” on several occasions.  Unless we think wisely about our individual and collective approaches to contracting for off-premises cloud services, we risk repeating a new and possibly more challenging wave of vendor lock-in with its sometimes unsavory consequences.

 

http://www.economist.com/node/13740181?story_id=13740181

 

This is a timely topic for thoughtful discussion, and I appreciate Theresa starting it.

 

Cheers - Brad

----------------------------------------------------------------------

IU Vice President for IT & CIO, Dean, and Professor

Indiana University, http://ovpit.iu.edu 

 

 

 

 

Although by no means perfect, some ideas about how to map institutional need to technology, and what internal offices/processes might be helpful approaches to instantiating both cloud computing strategies and implementation plans, some thoughts may be found in these materials:  http://www.it.cornell.edu/policies/cloud/index.cfm

Kudos to Theresa for running us through this entire series! I always look with interest to her posts and everyone's responses.

Best, Tracy


Your cautions are well founded Brad.  While not one to usually focus on technology, also as an information technology professor, I would add that it may be important to ask if there is something different about this technology that changes the formula of scale, economics, and service from earlier cycles of yo-yo insourcing and outsourcing.  I am unfortunately old enough to remember that in those days we could just “hold our breath” and eventually all the talk about outsourcing would go away when economic and service realities set in.  It’s important to understand whether cloud computing is just another chapter in this cycle or truly something different—a real game changer.  If so, then as you point out individual and joint strategy become critical.  This dialogue and the group you convened earlier is a good beginning.

 

Paul

 

Paul B. Gandel

Professor of Information Studies

Syracuse University

 

Message from gray@uw.edu

Caution is certainly appropriate, and indeed  we are not very good at distinguishing between cycles and singularities (who knew, for example, that networking was going back to circuit switching in the from of SDN and OpenFlow?) --but one thing that may be different "this time" is that our customers can readily outsource on their own, whenever they decide that relying on central IT is the "high impedance" (or high cost) path to solving their problem. 

So the choice is often not between "cloud" and "no cloud"; rather, it's between "consumer cloud" and "institutionally vetted cloud".  In the latter case, the value-add of central IT is in risk management via contract review/negotiation, and improved functionality via enterprise system integration (e.g. SSO and groups).  I2 Net+ takes this theme to the next level.

-teg

<www.uw.edu/staff/gray>

One aspect to the economics and service quality that must be considered is the security of the data and its transport.  There is plenty of contract language and MOU's that can be written but that doesn't ensure that the provider is actually providing the service in a secure fashion.  This plays directly into what Brad stated regarding the yo yo effect.  These things come back because the economic gains are truly many times "cloudy".  

Matt Morton, MHEA
Chief Information Security Officer
University of Nebraska at Omaha
6001 Dodge St., Omaha NE  68182
402.554.2425 (o)
402.214.5943 (m)


I think the discussions by all have been great on this topic.

I will just add a few thoughts that demonstrate the internal conflict we all have to go through on this.

1. Time horizon. Higher education, operates on a time horizon that is much different than industry. We generally know we will exist and we have to think about decisions in the context of the long haul that will exceed the life of any cloud provider we contract with. Thus we always have to consider the issue of how we transition the cloud service. If the provider doesn't have a strategy you will ultimately have a problem.

2. Scale. Higher ed doesn't have the staff skills to scale technology well. SaaS and cloud are really helping HE by providing a way to consume services someone else is running closer to scale.

3. Risk over Cost. Because we spend decades to centuries building brand, Risk is generally more important than Cost.

For UMBC, we are probably a little more aggressive than most. Probably because we are younger with a slightly higher risk tolerage, the campus is used to change, and scaling is important to meet rising enrollments and research. We are trying to utilize the Internet2 NET+ offerings as much as possible.

1. for IaaS. We are virtualizing everything we can in our infrastructure. This will allow us to leverage IaaS as the services emerge. Our dream is to have on-site and off-site mirrored Virtual environments. Where we are planning to leverage IaaS soon is with phone service. We are waiting for the Internet2 SIP service to finalize but instead of installing our own VOIP switch we think leveraging a 3rd party community contract is the way to go.  ERP is on-premise but we will be looking at options.

2. PaaS. We just signed the Box agreement for storage and we use Google Apps for email and collaboration. We are testing out a NET+ service for software video conferencing (Evough) and we are looking at the NET+ adobe connect project to support distance ed. Saying that, we still run our LMS internally (it is virtualized in our environment) and we still are doing HPC internally. though we are looking at how we can leverage AWS or Azure for research support.

3. SaaS. We are leveraging InCommon as much as possible -- careers planning (symplicity), billing (cashnet), student affairs (Alcohol.edu), library resources, etc.



jack




Good Morning, All,

On 8/25/2012 3:03 PM, Jack Suess wrote:

3. Risk over Cost. Because we spend decades to centuries building brand, Risk is generally more important than Cost


    This has been a very helpful discussion, and I particularly appreciated Jack's report on UMBC's programs. 

    But I'll reinforce a comment made earlier about IT's evolving role in reviewing agreements and contracts as we evolve to use cloud services.

    At UVM, we recently backed out of a contract with a service because the company refused to accept any liability for compromises of systems holding the student data we were preparing to send them.  Our General Counsel's office terminated the discussions, after long negotiations, and we'll re-issue the RFP in the near future.

    Now, we don't generally mention the liability issue when we release an RFP ... we've always been able to negotiate appropriate terms in the final contract.  And we (IT) didn't issue the RFP in this case -- the client office did.  But this incident has resulted in that VP deciding that we should be involved early in the RFP process, and it's causing us to consider the list of factors we need to include in the RFP, to set vendor expectations appropriately.

    Just another (non-IT!) aspect of the work we do. 

    Happy start of the semester, All!

David

   
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

David’s comments remind me of a attempts I’ve made in the past to deploy fiber on city utility poles, well utility poles in a city, owned by one of the telecom vendors. Project was to connect parts of campus that were not physically adjacent… Same issue. They would not accept any liability and wanted to be held harmless from loss of service if a pole went down… the college attorney’s didn’t like that and pulled the plug… so acts of “god” may result in your loss of connectivity to the cloud….what then?

 

Dr. Robert Paterson

Vice President – Information Technology, Planning and Research

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY

 

Message from bauer.rick@gmail.com

Theresa, Listserv participants:

I try to keep my comments on the listserv brief and infrequent. CompTIA is creating a globally-recognized, ISO-accredited certification in Cloud Computing and Virtualization Operations, geared to the technical practitioner. As a non-profit, vendor-neutral organization, we see the academic world as a partner in preparing the technical workforce for the challenges of cloud.

We have been meeting with the "best and brightest" of cloud operations people (not so much on policy, SLA, but deeper on the ops, security sides of things), and we have produced a Job Task Analysis, a formal ISO doc that needs to be validated by practitioners in the field. As many of the people on this list have technical professionals working in their organizations whose insights would be valuable toward building this standard, we are asking you to pass along a request for them to participate in our survey and caucus. Opportunities for them to take the beta test free of charge, as a recognition of their services, are available. More than incentives, they have a chance to help shape the training and skills validation that will hopefully benefit the workplace.

Again, sorry for a bit of an interruption, but workforce development, training, and hiring continue to be identified as one of the key areas that will enable (or inhibit) the more effective deployment of cloud computing solutions--in academe and throughout the world. I will post the link to the ISO spec once they are completed.

10-15 minute survey located at http://tinyurl.com/ck6pzl3

thanks for your thoughtful deliberations on cloud computing....you folks definitely have your "heads in the cloud."

Best,

Rick Bauer, Director of R&D, CompTIA
former CIO, The Hill School

Thanks to Theresa for always spurring such interesting discussions as this, and to all for the insightful responses.

 

Another role that an IT organization can fill relative to a cloud strategy is helping to ensure that our end user units are educated consumers of cloud computing services, ideally before they adopt a cloud service.  By providing education and advice to our potential cloud users regarding the benefits and risks associated with adopting cloud computing services, as well as the ways by which the risks can be mitigated via contract negotiation and vendor management, we help ensure a more effective outcome from the use of those services. 

 

For those interested in creating educated cloud consumers, I humbly offer that I teach a course on this topic with the next session scheduled for 10/29-10/30/12 in Washington, DC.  For additional details, please see www.thomastrappler.com.

 

Kindest regards,

Tom

 

 

====================================

 

Thomas Trappler, ASM

Director, UCLA Software Licensing

 

Email: trappler@oit.ucla.edu

Phone: 310-825-7516

Twitter: @ThomasTrappler

 

From: Terry Gray [mailto:gray@UW.EDU]
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2012 9:17 AM
Subject: Re: Topic #3 - Developing an Institution-wide Cloud Strategy

 

Caution is certainly appropriate, and indeed  we are not very good at distinguishing between cycles and singularities (who knew, for example, that networking was going back to circuit switching in the from of SDN and OpenFlow?) --but one thing that may be different "this time" is that our customers can readily outsource on their own, whenever they decide that relying on central IT is the "high impedance" (or high cost) path to solving their problem. 

So the choice is often not between "cloud" and "no cloud"; rather, it's between "consumer cloud" and "institutionally vetted cloud".  In the latter case, the value-add of central IT is in risk management via contract review/negotiation, and improved functionality via enterprise system integration (e.g. SSO and groups).  I2 Net+ takes this theme to the next level.

-teg

<www.uw.edu/staff/gray>

You may find this article about Amazon, AWS and Cloud services interesting and timely:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/28/technology/active-in-cloud-amazon-reshapes-computing.html?smid=pl-share
"
Active in Cloud, Amazon Reshapes Computing
Amazon is quietly upending the world of business computing through its cloud operations, a vast resource that gives companies heavy computing power without the baseline costs."

Thank you Theresa.  I will check out this article.

 

I’m joining the conversation after a great week of vacation.  I hope everyone is getting a chance to enjoy what is left of the summer.  They pass way too fast.

 

My take on the development of a “cloud strategy” is that no matter your approach, we will all inevitably end up with a partly cloudy future.  Most of us already operate within this provisional context.  In my opinion, our best response is to do whatever we can to shape and then adopt (and require adherence to) open interoperability standards – specific to K12 and/or higher education.  Or are we content with the increasing cost and complexity of integrating both proprietary and open source solutions (whether locally hosted or not) while our ability to negotiate for the best possible solutions based on price, performance and a host of other factors continues to erode?

 

There are several different open standards initiatives underway.  I’ve blogged about one in particular here http://laughran.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/open-standards/  .  If you only have time for a laugh, scroll down the posting and you will find a humorous video to lighten your day.  It does sort of remind us of the potential dynamics of getting locked-in to a single solution provider.  The same issues can (and often do) arise with locally hosted solutions.  But I wonder whether there’s even greater potential for this dynamic with cloud based solutions that do not adhere to open interoperability standards…

 

Regards,

 

 

-P

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Theresa Rowe
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 12:12 PM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Topic #3 - Developing an Institution-wide Cloud Strategy

 

You may find this article about Amazon, AWS and Cloud services interesting and timely:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/28/technology/active-in-cloud-amazon-reshapes-computing.html?smid=pl-share
"

Active in Cloud, Amazon Reshapes Computing

Amazon is quietly upending the world of business computing through its cloud operations, a vast resource that gives companies heavy computing power without the baseline costs."

 


It's been and interesting and engaging discussion about the Cloud.

 

By way of background information, the 2011 Campus Computing Survey asked about the actual status of Cloud deployments. Although the movement to "low cloud" services such as hosted email is well underway, the migration "high cloud" functions such as ERP, HPC, and storage has been very slow.  

 

Indeed, despite much discussion in both the campus and corporate sectors about the operational and financial benefits of Cloud Computing, the 2011 survey data reveal that  just 4.4 percent of the survey participants report that their campus has moved or is converting to Cloud Computing for ERP (administrative system) services (range: from 1.3 among public universities to 7.1 percent for private universities).  Similarly, just 6.5 percent have moved to Cloud Computing for storage, archiving, or business continuity services.  And although Cloud Computing should offer significant benefits for research and high performance computing (HPC) activities, just 2.4 percent of public universities and 6.6 percent of private universities report migrating these activities to the Cloud.

 

Other Cloud services post slightly higher numbers.  For example, almost half of the survey participants report their campus has migrated email (typically student email) to the Cloud, usually via alliances with either Google or Microsoft.   More than fourth (27.8 percent) of the survey participants report that their institution has moved or is migrating their LMS application to Cloud Computing, and a tenth (10.9 percent) indicate that their institution is using Cloud-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) services. 



What accounts for the slow campus movement to potentially high value, “high Cloud"  services?  One issue is that the major campus ERP providers have been slow to offer Cloud Services to their higher education clients.  And although the cost savings may seem compelling, trust really is the coin of the realm: traditionally (and understandably) risk aversive, many senior campus IT officers are not (yet) ready to migrate mission-critical data, resources, and services to Cloud Services offered by their IT providers.


Casey Green

Campus Computing


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
 Kenneth C. Green   818.990.2212
 The Campus Computing Project®
 www.campuscomputing.net
 cgreen@campuscomputing.net
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=



From: Patrick Laughran <plaughran@FRAMINGHAM.EDU>
Reply-To: EDUCAUSE Listserv <CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Date: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 10:46 AM
To: EDUCAUSE Listserv <CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Subject: Re: [CIO] Topic #3 - Developing an Institution-wide Cloud Strategy

Thank you Theresa.  I will check out this article.

 

I’m joining the conversation after a great week of vacation.  I hope everyone is getting a chance to enjoy what is left of the summer.  They pass way too fast.

 

My take on the development of a “cloud strategy” is that no matter your approach, we will all inevitably end up with a partly cloudy future.  Most of us already operate within this provisional context.  In my opinion, our best response is to do whatever we can to shape and then adopt (and require adherence to) open interoperability standards – specific to K12 and/or higher education.  Or are we content with the increasing cost and complexity of integrating both proprietary and open source solutions (whether locally hosted or not) while our ability to negotiate for the best possible solutions based on price, performance and a host of other factors continues to erode?

 

There are several different open standards initiatives underway.  I’ve blogged about one in particular here http://laughran.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/open-standards/  .  If you only have time for a laugh, scroll down the posting and you will find a humorous video to lighten your day.  It does sort of remind us of the potential dynamics of getting locked-in to a single solution provider.  The same issues can (and often do) arise with locally hosted solutions.  But I wonder whether there’s even greater potential for this dynamic with cloud based solutions that do not adhere to open interoperability standards…

 

Regards,

 

 

-P

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Theresa Rowe
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 12:12 PM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Topic #3 - Developing an Institution-wide Cloud Strategy

 

You may find this article about Amazon, AWS and Cloud services interesting and timely:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/28/technology/active-in-cloud-amazon-reshapes-computing.html?smid=pl-share
"

Active in Cloud, Amazon Reshapes Computing

Amazon is quietly upending the world of business computing through its cloud operations, a vast resource that gives companies heavy computing power without the baseline costs."

 

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