Hybrid Cloud: Right for Higher Education

University instructor leads course discussion with students

As we’ve discussed here prior, hybrid cloud is a computing model that includes on-premises infrastructure, private cloud services, and public cloud services. It also encompasses the orchestration between these platforms. This allows institutions of higher learning to choose the best environment for each workload, based on factors such as cost, performance, security, and compliance. Is hybrid cloud right for higher education?

Among the many reasons universities and colleges exist we find a commitment to educating individuals on problem-solving. Higher education exists to train minds to view challenges objectively and craft creative solutions to those challenges. For that reason, a hybrid cloud solution perfectly embodies this mindset.

How It’s Right for Higher Education

Hybrid cloud views the need for flexibility in workload environment and addresses it. A university with mission-critical workloads can choose to run those on-premises while offloading less sensitive workloads to the public clouds. Higher education is constantly being asked to provide world-class tools to its stakeholder groups (including students, faculty, and donors). The agility offered by hybrid cloud solutions can help institutions quickly deploy and scale applications using the public cloud, saving costly investments in particular infrastructure.

What about security? In past weeks, we’ve underscored the need for entities to have a comprehensive cybersecurity plan. Hybrid cloud solutions can help institutions to improve their security posture. Private clouds for sensitive data pair nicely with the public cloud for non-sensitive data. The ability to be flexible with where data is housed works to strengthen compliance as well. When higher education can utilize a private cloud for data that is strictly regulated while leveraging the public cloud for other data, complexity—and cost—are decreased. That’s a win for higher education on matter how you view it.

Right in the Real World

The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) is a real-world example of how a higher education institution has realized business benefits from moving from an on-premise only solution to a hybrid cloud solution for their IT needs.

As a large public research university with over 40,000 students and 15,000 faculty and staff, the university has a wide range of IT needs. This includes supporting research, teaching, and administrative functions. In the past, UC Berkeley relied on an on-premise only IT infrastructure. However, as the university’s IT needs became increasingly complex and expensive to support, the existing infrastructure just didn’t cut it. UC Berkeley needed to be more agile and responsive to changing business needs.

To address these challenges, UC Berkeley decided to move to a hybrid cloud solution. The university partnered with a cloud platform provider to migrate a number of its workloads to the cloud. The result? They’ve realized incredible benefits by making the move. They include:

  • Cost savings: UC Berkeley has saved millions of dollars on IT costs by moving to the cloud. They have the ability to pay only for the resources they need and only when needed.
  • Agility: The university is now more agile and responsive to changing business needs. They can quickly deploy new applications or scale existing applications to the cloud without costly investments into its own infrastructure.
  • Security and compliance: UC Berkeley has improved its security posture by moving to a hybrid cloud solution. As well, they’re able to comply with regulations by storing sensitive data in a private cloud and use the public cloud for non-sensitive data.

Additional Thoughts

Beyond the standard benefits listed previously, higher ed can benefit in other, more specialized ways. These include:

  • Deliver innovative educational experiences to students: Institutions can use the cloud to host online learning platforms, provide students with access to virtual machines, and deliver streaming video lectures.
  • Support groundbreaking research: Universities can use the cloud to access high-performance computing resources and to store and analyze large datasets.
  • Enhance operational efficiency: Colleges can use the cloud to automate IT tasks and to streamline administrative processes.

Are you looking for a comprehensive solution to some of these challenges? PKA can help show you how a hybrid cloud is right for higher education. We can put our expertise working with higher education to work for you. We understand higher education and the ongoing needs you have. Reach out today to schedule a consult with our team. As always, we’re listening.