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Spotlight on Cloud Computing Series: Community Clouds

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Many institutions in the education community are considering moving some aspect of their business to "the cloud." Moving to the cloud could mean outsourcing your e-mail to Google or migrating your existing server infrastructure to a virtualization platform such as VMWare. What are some of the alternatives in between? Can our community apply some of the lessons learned in developing advanced networks for education to so-called community clouds?

One of the useful ways to look at cloud computing is through the variables of access and control. At one extreme everyone has access to resources in the cloud, while at the other access is limited to only the owner. Looking at control, the owner can have complete control or a third party can be making all the key decisions. In the middle of this matrix lies a hybrid that is best called "community cloud computing." A community cloud seems to be particularly attractive to educational institutions. The reasons why educational institutions have chosen community cloud–based applications and resources include to reduce cost, improve performance, ease troubleshooting, and enhance privacy and control.

In this session, we'll hear about what community clouds are and what they offer from representatives of two major U. S. regional networks.

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