1 loud Computig ad Power the to Choose By Rob Bristow, Ted Dodds, Richard Northam, ad Leo Plugge Some of the most sigificat chages i iformatio techology are those that have give the idividual user greater power to choose. The first of these chages was the developmet of the persoal computer. The PC liberated the idividual user from the limitatios of the maiframe ad miicomputers ad from the rules ad regulatios of cetralized system maagemet. Idividual users could istall PCs o college ad uiversity campuses without obtaiig the approval of the cetral IT orgaizatio. For the first time, idividuals could choose their ow word processor, programmig laguage, utilities, ad more. As the umber of persoal applicatios grew, more attetio to user-friedliess became a key sellig poit. 14 EducausEreview MAY/JUNE 2010 C.J. Burto, 2010
2 Cloud Computig ad the Power to Choose Subsequet waves of chage the World Wide Web, mobile devices, Web 2.0 fuctioality, ad virtualizatio cotiued to beefit users as iterliked PCs ad other persoal devices delivered iformatio ad iovative ew applicatios to idividuals coected via global etworks. I additio, the resultig idustrializatio of iformatio techology allowed geeric services used by idividuals services such as , chat, ad the exchage of documets, pictures, ad videos to be provided o a massive scale. Today called cloud services, may of these such as Wikipedia, Hotmail, ad YouTube were available before the phrase cloud service was eve coied. What is ew is the delivery of these From the idividual user s poit of view, the oly thig that matters is the power of choice. services o a idustrial scale through what might be called IT factories. 1 Yet the methods ad techiques for deliverig these services do ot cocer the user. From the idividual user s poit of view, the oly thig that matters is the power of choice: the opportuity to choose amog cheap (or free) competig services that are user-friedly, accessible from ay locatio, ad withi higher educatio, potetially more reliable tha campus services. Colleges ad uiversities aroud the world are thus discussig, plaig for, ad usig cloud computig ad cloud services. The rate of adoptio varies from coutry to coutry, but the eed for awareess ad preparatio is uiversal. This article will examie cloud issues both opportuities ad risks by lookig at examples from four coutries: Australia, Caada, the Netherlads, ad the Uited Kigdom. Drivers What are the drivig forces behid the curret iterest i cloud computig i higher educatio? College ad uiversity IT departmets are strugglig to deliver scalable, secure, reliable, ad costeffective techology services i a time of shrikig budgets ad growig demads for icreased operatioal efficiecies. Studets, faculty, ad staff are brigig a rapidly chagig array of cosumer electroic devices to campus, ad they expect ready access to easyto-use mobile applicatios. Large commercial IT orgaizatios are gaiig sigificat ecoomies of scale i their ifrastructure ad service-delivery capacities that idividual college ad uiversity IT departmets simply caot match. College ad uiversity CIOs are becomig itrigued by the possibility that some ad perhaps most of the services curretly maaged by the cetral IT departmet could be moved to the cloud. However, may CIOs lack direct experiece usig cloud services, fear the prospect of a ew form of lock-i by service providers, ad have deep ad legitimate cocers about iformatio privacy issues. Colleges ad uiversities are lookig to their CIOs ad their IT staff for strategic advice associated with the istitutioal missio of teachig ad learig ad research, yet at the same time, CIOs are ofte distracted by operatioal issues associated with ruig core ifrastructure. May core IT services are beig viewed as a utility service much like electricity or gas. As commercial providers ehace their capability ad maturity i providig these core services, movig to a commercial provider becomes a more attractive optio. Examples Some aspects of cloud services have become embedded i idividual practice. For example, may studets forward their college/uiversity to their private Hotmail or Gmail accout, which provides much more storage space. They use their istitutioal accout as a kid of statioery to show addressees that they are a member of a trustworthy istitutio for istace, whe they apply for a itership. Other examples iclude usig cloud services to commuicate with frieds ad colleagues (e.g., Facebook, Twitter), to collaborate o documets (e.g., Google Docs), to back up files olie (e.g., Dropbox), ad to exchage documets, video, or photos without the itervetio of system maagers. Researchers are also startig to leverage the elasticity that the cloud (or cloud computig) offers by usig systems such as Eucalyptus ad e-sciece Cetral. Curretly some 75 percet of colleges ad uiversities i Australia ad New Zealad have moved their studet to the cloud. 2 Early i 2010, Macquarie Uiversity became the first higher educatio istitutio i Australia to also move its research, teachig, ad admiistrative staff to a cloud provider. Studet provisio has bee adopted i a umber of U.K. istitutios, with more examiig this optio. Oe uiversity, havig already placed studet i the cloud, is lookig to embrace cloud solutios for all its IT requiremets where appropriate. I Scotlad, aother uiversity is goig through the tederig process for placig its faculty ad staff i the cloud, i additio to its studet service. I the Netherlads, the most popular sceario curretly is to outsource studet . Aythig else is cosidered too risky due to cocers about privacy, owership of the data, security, cotiuity, ad so o. However, studet is oly oe part of a istitutio s , reducig the ecoomic beefits of outsourcig. I Caada, the move to the cloud has progressed rather slowly due i large measure to strict legislatio goverig the storage of persoal iformatio outside the coutry. The legislative restrictios apply to U.S.-hosted cloud solutios that are istitutioally provided eve if they 16 EducausEreview MAY/JUNE 2010
3 Cloud Computig ad the Power to Choose are ot istitutioally madated, but the legislatio does ot ihibit idividuals from choosig to use the services. Ideed, most studets ad may employees make persoal use of these services every day. The privacy statutes vary from provice to provice, makig it difficult for wouldbe domestic cloud service providers to aggregate atioal demad uder a stadardized cotract template. Nevertheless, higher educatio istitutios are curretly cosultig with studets ad other commuity parters i a effort to fid a acceptable solutio that will lead the way to cloud services, begiig with studet . Wilfred Laurier Uiversity plas to move studet , caledar, ad documet storage to a cloud solutio this summer. Dalhousie Uiversity is i the process of movig alumi services (for life) to Google; its ext step is to explore migratig studet to the cloud. Both istitutios are motivated by a strategic directio to focus iteral efforts o techologies that address core academic activities while begiig to disegage from odifferetiatig services that ca be offered more efficietly elsewhere. The Uiversity of Alberta is takig a strategic approach to movig services for faculty, staff, ad studets to Gmail. Istitutioal leaders have built cosesus aroud a goal to adopt Gmail but have made adoptio cotiget o successfully completig a comprehesive Privacy Impact Assessmet (PIA) ad the egotiatig a cotract that is fully compliat with provicial legislatio. The PIA is complete ad has bee accepted by the govermet agecy resposible for iformatio ad privacy. Cotract egotiatios are ogoig. The PIA documet has bee shared with members of the Capacity computig is exactly where cloud computig excels. Caadia Uiversity Coucil of CIOs (CUCCIO), ad assumig a successful coclusio to egotiatios, the resultig cotract will also be shared with CUCCIO members. These documets ca the form the basis for stadard templates that ca be used across the coutry. This should result i faster ad simpler adoptio of some cloud services ad serve as the foudatio for egotiatio with other providers. Research Aother opportuity provided by cloud services is to support researchers i reducig the costs ivolved with computatio. Oly a small umber of researchers eed capability computig that is, high-performace computig (HPC) systems with large umbers of cores. The majority of researchers are well served with capacity computig that is, systems that share their computig power with several ad up to may users. This capacity computig is exactly where cloud computig excels. Recetly Microsoft ad the Natioal Sciece Foudatio aouced a agreemet that will offer selected idividual researchers ad research groups free access to the Widows Azure cloud computig resources. 3 This iitiative opes up a whole ew spectrum of opportuities for both researchers ad istitutios. Oe specific use of the cloud for research is e-sciece Cetral (http://www.esciececetral.co.uk/) i the Uited Kigdom, developed by Professor Paul Watso ad his team at Newcastle Uiversity. Buildig i part o experiece gaied through projects fuded by the Joit Iformatio Systems Committee (JISC) projects such as my Experimet (http://www.jisc.ac.uk/ whatwedo/programmes/vre2/ myexperimet.aspx) e-sciece Cetral delivers cloud-eabled e-sciece capability to researchers across may disciplies. Researchers build workflows i a drag-ad-drop iterface from preexistig shared modules, or they write ad cotribute their ow workflows usig Java,.et, or Pytho. The system utilizes a collaborative model ispired by Facebook, with users havig the ability to form groups ad share data ad processes i fiegraied ways. The security model of e-sciece Cetral works with this elemet of the system, allowig researchers to permit collaborators to see their workflows ad to commet o them. The system also has a built-i bloggig tool, eablig the developmet of coversatios. Oce a experimeter has set up the workflow, he or she iitiates the process, at which time the system seds the computatioal work either to Newcastle s ow servers or to the cloud, as appropriate. Although e-sciece Cetral curretly uses Microsoft s Azure platform, the system ca also be cofigured to use Amazo EC2. It has about fifty regular users across a rage of scietific disciplies, but Watso sees the system as scalable to thousads i due course. He also sees the potetial for applicatios like e-sciece Cetral to ope up e-sciece to what he terms the log tail of researchers those who at preset are excluded, by geography or cost, from access to grid computig or HPC. The Netherlads is curretly buildig a atioal IT ifrastructure for sciece ad research as a cloud service. This ifrastructure icludes a virtual laboratory for e-sciece with geeric fuctioalities to support a wide class of specific e-sciece applicatio eviromets. The techology ad resources come from differet sources, such as SARA, BiG Grid, GigaPort3 ad SURFet, DAS-3, ad Starplae. The software is developed i ad by research domais such as high-eergy physics, food iformatics, medical diagosig ad imagig, biodiversity, ad Dutch telesciece. 4 I Caada, although there has bee some spot activity i the use of cloud services for research for example, NEPTUNE Caada (http://www.eptue caada.ca/) used Akamai video services to broadcast the lauch of its udersea etwork the mai research focus cotiues to be grid techologies. 18 EducausEreview MAY/JUNE 2010
4 Cloud Computig ad the Power to Choose Challeges Ucertai Defiitios The term cloud computig meas differet thigs to differet IT professioals ad to differet istitutios. It is ofte used to loosely describe a broad rage of activities, ragig from outsourcig a specific activity to a sigle exteral provider (which may would argue is ot cloud computig) to deliverig a set of services from the cloud i such a way that users are ot eve sure where their data is beig housed or where it is beig processed. Prelimiary fidigs of three JISC studies cofirm cofusio about the terms cloud ad cloud computig ad also suggest that for some i the research computig commuity, cloud computig is just aother term for grid computig. To this ed, the grid commuity i Europe came together recetly, uder the auspices of the Ope Grid Forum, for the Cloudscape II coferece (http://www.ogfeurope.eu/pages/selecteddocumet.aspx?id_documeto=316b846a c-9007-f63d2cba5ed9), explorig issues pertaiig to both grid computig ad cloud computig. There was a covergece of iterest i both areas, sice the eed for stadards ad for iteroperability betwee cloud systems was see to be just as relevat as is this eed i the world of grid computig. Privacy Broadly speakig, the issue of privacy is oe that cocers campus legal office ad seior maagemet admiistrators more tha ed users. Studets, may of whom use Gmail ad Hotmail before comig to college, do ot appear to be overly cocered with privacy or with the idea that compaies like Google ad Microsoft ca access their s. I 2008, for example, several Australia uiversities did a aalysis of their studet systems ad foud that more tha 80 percet of studets were ot usig the uiversityprovided system ad had already set up a forward to their Hotmail or Gmail accouts. 5 Faculty ad staff have prove to be a bit more vocal about the privacy issues. Particularly i the research domai, they have expressed cocers about sesitive research data goig outside the bouds of the college or uiversity. Yet though these cocers have bee oted, some researchers readily use Gmail or Hotmail to move data to colleagues at other istitutios as a way to get aroud firewalls or system attachmet The JISC Studies The Joit Iformatio Systems Committee (JISC) i the Uited Kigdom has lauched three studies to ivestigate the cloud for higher educatio from a umber of perspectives. As a whole, these studies will provide a comprehesive picture of the issues at the preset time. The first JISC study is a techical review of the cloud i terms of research requiremets ad is lookig at the issues required to make cloud computig feasible, icludig security, distributed programmig abstractios, schedulig, ad bechmarkig. The secod study focuses o the orgaizatioal ad huma issues surroudig cloud computig for research, such as service-level agreemets, skills ad competecies, licesig, security, ad the best mix of cloud ad more covetioal HPC for various research commuities. The third study wides the scope to look at the implicatios of cloud computig for eterprise computig ad also at the evirometal implicatios of movig computig ito the cloud. Fid out more o the JISC website (http://www.jisc.ac.uk). Privacy cocers campus legal office ad seior maagemet admiistrators more tha ed users. limitatios. Aecdotal evidece suggests that faculty ad staff are becomig more comfortable with trustig some cloud providers with their sesitive data. Iterestigly, the corporate policies of Microsoft ad Google are very strog o the issue of privacy. For example, i the early days of Australia uiversities movig their studet services to cloud providers, may of the uiversities wated to retai the ability to examie logs i cases where there was reasoable evidece to implicate a studet for a breach of the uiversity code of coduct. The services offered by Google ad Microsoft did ot offer this capability, ad providig it proved to be challegig for both compaies, sice it cotraveed their iteral compay privacy policies. I a coversatio betwee the Coucil of Australia Uiversity Directors of Iformatio Techology (CAUDIT) ad a umber of cloud providers o the issue of privacy ad, i particular, the misuse of user data the providers argued that the risks associated with misusig user data were sigificat. If, for example, it came to light that Microsoft or Google was misusig data, the higher educatio sector would immediately lose trust. The stakes for large, well-kow cloud providers are sigificat: their reputatio ad brad are o the lie. Cotractual ad Jurisdictioal Issues Cotractual ad jurisdictioal issues remai a key challege whe movig services to the cloud. Whe the cotract is based aroud atioal law ad whe the data ad trasactios are occurrig withi the same coutry, the process is relatively easy. But whe the data ad 20 EducausEreview MAY/JUNE 2010
5 Cloud Computig ad the Power to Choose With the use of cloud service providers, there ca be a eed to rearchitect applicatios. trasactios are happeig offshore, the challeges icrease dramatically. Further, the implicatios of the USA PATRIOT Act lead to very real impedimets for o-u.s. istitutios whe dealig with U.S. compaies. For example, a college or uiversity will ecouter difficulties if it is collaboratig with researchers i a coutry that is uder embargo from the U.S. export clauses. I a icreasigly coected world with collaborative research spaig may iteratioal boudaries, U.S. compaies will eed to work with their lawmakers to address these issues if they wat large-scale acceptace of their offerigs outside the Uited States. Some cloud providers, such as Microsoft, have recogized this as a sigificat problem ad have show a willigess to work with istitutios to chage the jurisdictio of cotracts ad to address as may of these cocers as possible. Risk ad Noperformace Strategies eed to be employed to maage ot oly risk but also those situatios whe a cloud service provider suddely ad uexpectedly stops deliverig services. For example i Australia, Curti Uiversity has set up a strategic partership amog five providers with which it works closely so that services ca be moved betwee parters as required. I aother example, Victoria Uiversity is developig a iovative strategy to rearchitect its iteral ifrastructure so that itegratio with the cloud ca be doe i a more seamless ad elastic maer. I this eviromet, data ad processig ca move trasparetly betwee the uiversity ifrastructure ad the cloud provider. The uiversity ca the readily address ad cotrol performace issues by adjustig, i real time, how much of the service sits i the cloud ad how much stays o the uiversity ifrastructure. A importat aspect of risk associated with privacy ad data is to correctly classify ad value the itellectual property of the data that is beig etrusted to the cloud provider ad the to build a appropriate idemity ito the cotractual arragemets. Doig so ot oly esures that the cloud service provider will correctly uderstad ad value the data but also fiacially compesates the college or uiversity i the evet of a leak of sesitive data of sigificat value. The other issue to be cosidered is that i movig services to the cloud, the istitutio o loger retais direct access ad cotrol. The college or uiversity must esure that it has strategies ad processes i place so that should a cloud service stop workig i the iteded way, causig problems for other systems, the istitutio ca maage the situatio eve though it caot readily cotrol or access the offedig service. Iteroperability To date, use of the cloud has largely focused o specific services, but as the practice icreases, a loomig issue is iteroperability betwee clouds ad the lack of stadards. If a istitutio eeds to quickly move a service from oe cloud provider to aother, there are few stadards to esure that the data associated with the service is readily portable betwee providers. Further, as adoptio of the cloud cotiues, iteroperability betwee services ruig o private, public, ad hybrid clouds will itroduce further complexity. Some work has bee doe to develop ope-cloud ad iteroperability stadards. 6 Still i their ifacy, these stadards are lightweight, ad ot all cloud providers have committed to them. A umber of CIOs believe that this issue will become a icreasig headache i the ext years. Network Capacity Oe of the cocers with movig services to the cloud relates to latecy ad to the speed of the etworks betwee the college or uiversity ad the provider. Peerig R&E etworks with cloud providers goes some way toward addressig this. The Natioal Research ad Educatio Network (NREN) i Australia the Australia Academic Research Network (AARNet) itercoects colleges ad uiversities, typically with 10GB circuits i metropolita areas ad 1GB circuits i regioal areas. The AARNet also domestically peers with a umber of commercial providers icludig Microsoft, Google, ad Akamai ad iteratioally peers with other NRENs aroud the world. A eabler i terms of quality of service, the AARNet demostrates the importace of leveragig NRENs to facilitate the use of the cloud. I the Netherlads, etwork capacity ad flexibility is addressed i the Giga- Port3 program. The aim of the GigaPort3 project is to raise the SURFet etwork ifrastructure to a higher level ad to itegrate it seamlessly with other IT ifrastructure facilities. The ew etwork, SURFet7, will icrease the flexibility ad maageability of lightpaths, implemet Next Geeratio Etheret, provide custom-size badwidth cost-effectively ad o time, exted the dyamic lightpath service to allow applicatios to iitiate a lightpath automatically, ad further professioalize the iteratioal NetherLight etwork ode. Part of the plas is to create seamless bridgig betwee fixed ad mobile etworks for both research ad educatio to use services aytime, ayplace. 7 Rearchitectig With the use of cloud service providers, there ca be a eed to rearchitect applicatios. Istead of a fat cliet, access typically chages to the browser utilizig small widgets. This ca ecessitate the rearchitectig of applicatios to make efficiet use of the etwork ad to keep the trasactios at the back ed. Buildig useful, resiliet, scalable, 22 EducausEreview MAY/JUNE 2010
6 Cloud Computig ad the Power to Choose ad cost-effective iterfaces to cloud systems for use by researchers or the eterprise remais as challegig as doig so for the grid or HPC ad requires may of the same skills ad approaches. Ideed, a ew layer of abstractio seems to be emergig to cope with the opportuities to haress the power of the cloud for research computig applicatios. This data-ceter operatig system will hide the techical implemetatio of differet cloud offerigs from the ed user behid iterfaces that allow rapid deploymet ad delivery of ew services, whether for e-sciece or eterprise computig. Staff Over the comig years, the skills set required of the staff withi the IT departmet to support ad maage a portfolio that icludes the cloud will differ from those required today. Staff will eed to be more adept ad sophisticated at maagig strategic relatioships with service providers, as well as beig competet maagers of services that spa both the istitutio ad the providers uder cotractual arragemets. Some IT staff may view the cloud as a threat to their future employmet rather tha a opportuity a situatio that will eed to be maaged. Staff will eed to be more adept ad sophisticated at maagig strategic relatioships with service providers. Perceptios The JISC studies revealed other perceptio problems, icludig a reluctace by some IT leaders to give up the prestige that comes from owig ad beig resposible for large hardware istallatios. Aother issue that has surfaced is that o iitial ispectio, usig cloud computig for research looks to be more expesive tha traditioal approaches. However, further examiatio shows that these more traditioal ways of providig research computig hide may costs from ed users ot the least beig the cost of electricity ad other overheads, icludig techical developmet ad support, which is ofte delivered by people whose real job is research. Fially, the cost of movig to the cloud i particular the eed to rewrite algorithms to take advatage of ew platforms is also perceived as a barrier. The Next Level Thikig, plaig, ad workig i the cloud requires colleges ad uiversities to recogize that idividual istitutios are limited i their ability to scale their ifrastructure ad services to the levels of commercial providers, o matter how large ad complex those istitutios may be. I the EDUCAUSE Review article Above-Campus Services: Shapig the Promise of Cloud Computig i Higher Educatio, Brad Wheeler ad Shelto Waggeer defied three broad categories of above-campus sourcig models: commercial, istitutioal, ad cosortium sourcig. 8 As the commercial providers of cloud services gai a icreasig foothold i the sector, cosideratio eeds to be give to istitutioal ad cosortium sourcig, as well as to the value that atioal associatios like CAUDIT, CUCCIO, EDUCAUSE, JISC, ad SURF ca provide to help higher educatio istitutios. The potetial beefits of commercially sourced cloud services are compellig: reduced istitutioal costs, icreased efficiecies through stadardizatio, improved collaboratio across istitutios, ad the ability to shift maagemet attetio away from operatioal cocers over odifferetiatig services to those that are strategic to the academic missio. The risks, though ot isigificat, are familiar territory for most CIOs: iformatio security, egotiatig ad maagig cotracts ad associated service levels, ad potetially high switchig costs stemmig from lock-i by service providers. However, i the absece of collective ad coordiated actio to date, each istitutio that has deployed commercially sourced services has developed its ow oe-off cotracts with providers, despite early idetical eeds across the sector. Sourcig studet services through Google is a clear example. Thus, oe of the first thigs that atioal associatios ca do is to help draw up cotracts with suppliers of cloud services ad to help create a ifrastructure that will facilitate the outsourcig of accouts. I Australia, CAUDIT has acted as a platform for collaboratio, eablig early adopters to share their experieces with each other. Specifically, CAUDIT has facilitated ot oly the sharig of cotracts betwee its members but also the subsequet refiemet of the cotracts to a template that is mutually acceptable for both the college/uiversity ad the cloud provider, reducig the legal costs for everyoe. Likewise, i the Netherlads, SURF has draw up a cotract with Google to be a member of SURFfederatio, the Dutch autheticatio ad authorizatio platform for all higher educatio ad research. Microsoft is expected to follow soo. This importat arragemet is a simple but very effective way to make the cloud services of differet providers accessible ad to give istitutios the opportuity to choose which provider ad which services best fit their eeds. SURFfederatio is already used for a large variety of services from the cloud, from publishers to theaters. But ca these atioal associatios do more? Ca or should they play a more active role i the provisio of cloud services 24 EducausEreview MAY/JUNE 2010
7 Cloud Computig ad the Power to Choose to their members? CAUDIT is i very early discussios with a cloud provider to explore this very otio. Oe possible sceario is for the atioal associatio to parter with the cloud provider to host the services iside the sector for its members o behalf of the cloud provider. Exactly how such a service would be provided remais a questio of much debate, but a iterestig possibility exists for the NREN to move up the stack ad provide value-added services beyod the core etwork. I the Netherlads, SURFdieste is the broker orgaizatio for Dutch higher educatio istitutios. It procures ot oly joural ad software liceces but also hardware ad services for all higher educatio istitutios i the Netherlads. SURFdieste ad SURFet work closely together with the istitutios i dealig with commercial service providers such as Google ad Microsoft. The expertise of both orgaizatios is thus improved ad put to use for all SURF members. Although at a earlier stage of developmet, CUCCIO is coordiatig the early cloud activities of Caadia uiversities by leveragig its experiece i settig up a Caadia Access Federatio that offers federated idetity services through eduroam ad Shibboleth. Meawhile, the board of EDUCAUSE is explorig ew leadership roles for the associatio, icludig that of active steward. For EDUCAUSE, active stewardship of above-campus activities would represet a challegig, uaced, ad vital role i service to the commuity. It is a role that would leverage the associatio s existig competecies while demadig that it stretch to develop ew capabilities where the eed for commuity leadership is acute. This could iclude policy developmet, directed advocacy, ad most importat, coordiated actio that directly egages other member associatios, commuity parters, ad service providers. Takig these ideas to the ext level, what if there were a etity that acted as higher educatio s trusted broker i developig cotract templates, egotiatig services, ad maagig effective relatioships with commercial sourcig firms? The broker or brokers could fulfill the requiremets of demad aggregatio, resultig i optimal scale ecoomies for commercial sourcig. Iteratioally, we already have excellet examples of commuity-drive orgaizatios that are, i effect, trusted brokers: regioal ad atioal research etworkig societies. The success of these orgaizatios (Iteret2 i the Uited States, CANARIE i Caada, AARNet i Australia, TERENA i Europe, JANET i the Uited Kigdom, ad SURF i the Netherlads) provides a attractive ad istructive model of how colleges ad uiversities have worked together to combie their collective etworkig service requiremets, comprisig cotractig, stadardizatio, service-level maagemet, ad support. Cosider the alterative: i the absece of regioal etworkig orgaizatios, each istitutio would have to egotiate its ow badwidth cotracts ad service agreemets. Commercial etworkig providers would be required to egotiate hudreds of oe-off cotracts What if there were a etity that acted as higher educatio s trusted broker? with idividual istitutios, each cotract beig highly similar if ot idetical to the others. Istead, by aggregatig multi-istitutioal demad with a sigle trusted etity their atioal or regioal research etworkig orgaizatio colleges ad uiversities achieved scale ecoomies, best pricig, operatioal sustaiability, ad cosiderable leverage to mitigate switchig costs ad therefore ecourage a eviromet of healthy competitio. I short, atioal ad regioal research etworkig orgaizatios are good models for thikig about cloud cosortium services. These orgaizatios are drive by the eeds of their member istitutios. They are rooted i a very high level of trust ad trasparecy i their operatio ad goverace. They have successfully developed the staff competecies to egotiate large-scale cotracts, maage relatioships with ad performace by service providers, defie ad maitai outstadig levels of etwork service, ad provide strog cliet support. These orgaizatios work closely ad productively with privatesector service providers to esure that the eeds of the higher educatio commuity are uderstood ad met. I short, the existig competecies of these advaced etworkig orgaizatios could eable them to move beyod etworkig ad to act as a demad aggregator ad broker for commercial cloud requiremets ad services. Ideed, i the provice of British Columbia, Caada, the goverig board of the regioal advaced etworkig orgaizatio (BCNET) recetly revised its orgaizatioal visio ad missio to broade the potetial scope of activities beyod pure data etworkig. Fially, there are also opportuities for groups of higher educatio istitutios or a specially formed sector-owed orgaizatio to collaborate ad create private or hybrid clouds to provide services. The Australia Research Collaboratio Service (ARCS) is a example i which poolig the collective resources of the sector to provide a suite of services i a private cloud has provided real value to researchers. ARCS curretly offers a service where ay researcher i Australia ca have a 25GB data store 9 (more ca be requested) that is i a private cloud 26 EducausEreview MAY/JUNE 2010
8 Cloud Computig ad the Power to Choose ad that is available aywhere there is a reliable coectio to the Iteret. The service leverages the data storage ifrastructure of a umber of HPC facilities ad uiversities i Australia; the researchers do ot kow where their data is beig stored withi the sector. Such iitiatives are the begiig of a host of specific R&E services for which commercial providers are ulikely to provide a suitable solutio. The private cloud also offers a tremedous opportuity for colleges ad The cooperatio of some IT departmets may geerate simply a puff, ot a cloud. uiversities to collaborate ad deduplicate core services across istitutios. Such arragemets, whether provided by a orgaizatio withi the sector or i partership with a commercial provider, could eable uiversities to realize sigificat fiacial savigs. I Australia, this is already happeig at the regioal level, ad over the ext oe-totwo years there is a reasoable likelihood of atioal iitiatives beig developed through CAUDIT. O the other had, although creatig a private or shared cloud ca help istitutios maitai cotrol over the services ad ca lead to some ecoomy of scale, the result may still be a far cry from the advatages achieved by usig services from compaies like Amazo, Google, or Microsoft. Compared with these compaies, the cooperatio of some IT departmets may geerate simply a puff, ot a cloud. More importat, a private cloud ca imply forced customership, a busiess model that lacks the drivig force of competitio to iovate ad to provide users with the diversity to which they have become accustomed. This also implies that istitutios should first of all recosider their services: which services should be provided by the istitutios, which services ca be outsourced, ad which services ca be draw from the market by the idividual user. A Cosortium Example: Kuali Ready Kuali Ready (KR) is a commuity-source project chartered to provide a busiess cotiuity plaig (BCP) service. It is also a example of higher educatio istitutios orgaizig themselves to provide cloud services. Lauched by the Kuali Foudatio i 2010, KR s acestry dates to software tools, developed at the Uiversity of Califoria Berkeley, that eable departmets to documet ad maitai their local busiess cotiuity plas ad the to roll up those plas to a departmet, faculty, or istitutio level. Adoptio of the tools quickly spread first to most of the other campuses of the UC system, where the project became kow as UC Ready, ad later to dozes of other istitutios i the Uited States ad beyod, which dowloaded early versios of the code to istall ad ru locally. Recogizig the importace of the tools to higher educatio ad the eed for a sustaiability pla, Berkeley ad the UC system ivested substatial additioal resources to add requested fuctioality for pademic preparedess ad to brig the software ito lie with the Kuali Foudatio s techical ad licesig stadards. Like other systems developed ad supported by the Kuali Foudatio, KR ca be dowloaded at o cost from the Foudatio s public website (http://www.kuali.org). Importatly, i a first for the Foudatio, this software is also beig offered through a Software as a Service (SaaS) model o a subscriptio basis. Uder the SaaS model, istitutios eed ot icur the cost ad operatioal overhead of their ow ifrastructure, versio maagemet, ad techical support. Istead, they pay a aual subscriptio fee that provides them access to the hosted service o the web, fully customizable to meet local eeds, icludig soo the ability to access the service with their local idetity credetials supported by a Shibboleth federated idetity iterface. I this way, eve the smallest istitutios with modest budgets ad miimal IT staff ca affordably offer BCP capabilities to their campuses. Durig the first few years of the service, foudig parters will provide SaaS hostig services, startig with UC Berkeley ad Idiaa Uiversity. Caadia hostig will be offered by the Uiversity of Toroto ad the Uiversity of British Columbia. The eed for atioally-based hostig is drive by Caadia privacy legislatio, described earlier, which places strict limits o the iformatio that ca be stored outside Caada. But as a cosequece, the commuity cloud is already iteratioal. KR is a good early example of some key priciples that are emergig to guide cloud developmets: Aggregatio of demad withi the commuity cloud makes sese i circumstaces where specific expertise or domai kowledge exists that differetiates the service from available public cloud offerigs. A BCP tool tailored to the eeds of colleges ad uiversities, KR works as a commuity cloud offerig, whereas massive-scale studet is probably better provided through commercial sourcig. The service is offered by a existig, kow, ad trusted commuity orgaizatio. Clearly, the Kuali Foudatio has a relatively brief track record i providig direct services. However, the modest scope ad relatively low risk of this first commuity cloud offerig preset a opportuity to build further competece withi the Foudatio i case more ambitious SaaS opportuities emerge. The service is a modest first step i a overall strategic directio without beig part of a master game-pla. This is cosistet with the otio of 28 EducausEreview MAY/JUNE 2010
9 Cloud Computig ad the Power to Choose learig-by-doig ad the adjustig course based o experiece. Without miimizig the importace of a BCP system, this is ot a applicatio that features high volumes of trasactio processig or complex fuctioality. I short, a useful service ca be affordably offered to the commuity, at miimal risk to all parties, while providig a excellet opportuity to lear, adjust, ad improve. The service icreases choice to the higher educatio commuity. The Kuali Foudatio is supported by ad exists to serve its member istitutios colleges ad uiversities. The busiess model (or perhaps more accurately, the service model) does ot limit access to the SaaS offerig but icreases choice by also offerig the free commuity-sourcelicesed software dowload. Istitutios ca pick the model that works best for their eeds. The time has come for colleges ad uiversities to set a course for the adoptio of cloud services ad to cosider what role commuity sourcig plays i their strategic directio. The Kuali Foudatio is just oe example. Other cosortia will almost certaily build ad improve o that experiece. Still missig from the picture are cosortium makers of the type advocated by Wheeler ad Waggeer. 10 The role of a cosortium maker, operatig at the higher educatio sector level, is to eable the formatio of member-led cosortia. The atioal associatios have may of the competecies, plus the trust ad experiece with their commuities, to cosider takig o this leadership role. Coclusio May colleges ad uiversities are actively movig a variety of services to the cloud, with the pace ad the volume of adoptio icreasig. Several CIOs have predicted that higher educatio istitutios will get out of the game of ruig the moolithic eterprise systems ad will move the fiace, huma resources, ad studet systems ito the cloud over the ext five to te years. Ideed, oe CIO commeted: My boss used to costatly tell me I had my head i the clouds, ow I tell him my strategy is i the cloud. 11 May CIOs do ideed view the cloud as a key strategy for the future a strategy that will eable them to add greater value to their istitutio at a more strategic level, rather tha costatly focusig o keepig the lights ruig. Cloud services offer higher educatio ad research istitutios the power to choose: the opportuity to rethik which services are eeded to support educatio ad research ad what will be the best way to deliver those services. May services are readily available i the public cloud. Some services eed to be procured through the istitutio s IT departmet. Oly a few services will require custom developmet, either aloe or i partership with other istitutios. The fial result will most likely be a loosely coupled, customized arragemet cosistig of off-the-shelf systems ad services based o prove techology. With may i higher educatio today eyeig the potetial of the cloud, the questio ow is ot so much Is cloud computig a good idea? The key questio to aswer is: What ca we do with the cloud? Notes 1. For example, the Microsoft 700,000-squarefoot data ceter i Chicago ca accommodate 56 computig cotaiers. Each cotaier is filled with 1,800 to 2,500 servers. The Chicago data ceter is just oe of two doze ceters that Microsoft plas to build. See the Microsoft Global Foudatio Services website: <http:// services.com/idex.html>. 2. CAUDIT Member Survey, Natioal Sciece Foudatio, Microsoft ad NSF Eable Research i the Cloud, press release , February 4, 2010, <http://www.sf.gov/ ews/ews_summ.jsp?ct_id=116336&org= NSF&from=ews>. 4. Gordo Cook, Buildig a Natioal Kowledge Ifrastructure: How Dutch Pragmatism Nurtures a 21st-cetury Ecoomy, The Cook Report o Iteret Protocol (Utrecht, The Netherlads: SURF, 2010), <http://www.surfet.l/e/ieuws/ Pages/Book%20Buildig%20a%20atioal%20 kowledge%20ifrastructure%20offered%20 to%20miister%20plasterk.aspx>. 5. Neil Thelader, IT Director, Queeslad Uiversity of Techology, Australia. 6. See the Cloud Stadards Coordiatio wiki: <http://cloud-stadards.org/wiki/idex.php?title=mai_page#cloud_stadards_ Coordiatio>. 7. SURFet, GigaPort3 Aual Pla 2010, December 22, 2009, <http://www.surfet.l/documets/ GigaPort3-AP2010-EXT-1.0.pdf>. 8. Brad Wheeler ad Shelto Waggeer, Above- Campus Services: Shapig the Promise of Cloud Computig i Higher Educatio, EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 44, o. 6 (November/December 2009), pp , <http://www.educause.edu/ library/erm0963>. 9. ARCS Data Fabric: What It Is, ARCS website: <http://www.arcs.org.au/products-services/data -services/arcs-data-fabric-1/arcs-data-fabric>. 10. Wheeler ad Waggeer, Above-Campus Services. 11. Quote from Alla Morris, Executive Director, Iformatio Techology Services, RMIT Uiversity, Melboure, Australia Rob Bristow, Ted Dodds, Richard Northam, ad Leo Plugge Rob Bristow is Programme Maager for e-admiistratio, Joit Iformatio Systems Committee (JISC), Bristol, Uited Kigdom. Ted Dodds is Vice Provost for IT, the Uiversity of British Columbia, Caada, ad is a member of the board of directors of CUCCIO, EDUCAUSE, ad the Kuali Foudatio. Richard Northam is Geeral Maager, Coucil of Australia Uiversity Directors of Iformatio Techology (CAUDIT), Caberra, ACT, Australia. Leo Plugge is Executive Secretary, Weteschappelijk TechischeRaad, Stichtig SURF, Utrecht, Netherlads. 30 EducausEreview MAY/JUNE 2010
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