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7 Signs the State of the Cloud is Strong

Oct 09, 2014, by Shelton Waggener
Tags: Box, Canvas, Cloud Computing, Cloud Services & Applications, CommIT, Desire2Learn Learning Environment, Executive Insights, ICE Health Systems, Internet2 NET+, Trust & Identity

As the Fall 2014 school term is in full swing, university campuses are abuzz with Cloud technologies. Personal, individual, departmental, university wide – everywhere you look new things are being enabled by cloud technologies. Checking laundry status? Cloud Service. What’s for lunch and which of the places is best? Cloud Service.  Class registration? Cloud. Working with peers in a section – probably using a Cloud Service for that as well.

Here are seven signs from the Internet2 community underscoring the proliferation of the Cloud, and how peers across campuses are working together to create an agile cloud deployment platform to meet the diverse and massively growing user demand for academic and research Cloud applications.

  1. Amazon Web Services (AWS) customizes solution for all higher education institutions. The University of Virginia, four other Internet2 member institutions, and a number of other campuses worked diligently to define and tailor the new service as an Internet2 NET+ offering. NET+ AWS provides key enhancements to standard AWS terms currently offered to higher education. The initial offering will provide services for faculty, staff, and administrative and institutional accounts and is open now to 12 early adopter institutions who will test the new portal and make sure all of the features work as community designed.
  2. Oracle offers higher education cloud services. Having worked with many of our member campuses over the last few years, Oracle’s new public cloud and private cloud offerings are being designed through the Internet2 NET+ initiative with sponsoring and service validating campuses. Institutions will soon be able to leverage multiple service options within Oracle Higher Education Cloud -- with software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and platform as a-service (PaaS) -- to meet their unique needs. It’s a nice direction for a long-standing provider of premise technologies familiar to many of our campuses.
  3. NET+ Box deployed at more than 90 universities with 4 million accounts. The popularity of the NET+ Box service for Cloud collaboration and storage continues to grow at a rapid clip and the community roadmap team continues to improve the service in partnership with Box development team. That work has now resulted in an enhanced service option to meet the needs of medical schools and is fully compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). In addition all existing subscriptions will receive double the storage capacity and can add the new service option at no extra charge. It’s an example of the value of cloud at scale that campuses working together are seeing.
  4. Blackboard guided through Internet2 NET+ Service Validation by five leading institutions. The full suite of Blackboard tools is available—designed to help existing and new Blackboard customers move to the Blackboard Cloud. As with all solutions successfully navigating the NET+ validation process, Blackboard met peer-directed security and accessibility standards, InCommon single sign-on integration, and architectural standards for delivery across the advanced Internet2 Network. Blackboard worked in advance to understand all of the requirements and completed their Service Validation process from start to finish in just 90 days. Their offering joins Canvas and Desire2Learn to become the third Learning Management System (LMS) in the NET+ portfolio, now encompassing 90% of deployed LMS solution providers.
  5. NET+ ICE health systems dental school service released for early adoption. This is an outstanding example of members coming together to provide a specialized solution to meet unique and shared needs. The University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina and the University of Pittsburgh took a concept through several stages – research, inquiry, evaluation and service validation – with ICE Health Systems, a cloud service designed to meet specific requirements of professional dental schools. The service features a scalable electronic health records system with enhanced patient, practice, and learning management systems, and offers data sharing opportunities for large-scale research projects and is now available.
  6. Identity management advances to bridge users and the Cloud. The Trusted Identity in Education and Research (TIER) initiative continues to accelerate with broad campus engagement and participation on many projects. One of those, the CommIT project, has now completed its first pilot deployment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. CommIT provides a scalable secure approach to the creation of a unique single sign-on identity credential for college applicants and streamlines authentication requirements for institutions and corporate partners involved in the higher education admissions process.
  7. 2300% Increase in NET+ Cloud participation in three years!  Not only is the cloud service landscape growing at an astounding pace, the NET+ program participation by university campuses is also flourishing. Thirteen member institutions established NET+ just a few years ago, with a vision of working together for a better Cloud and to shape a new market to meet the specific needs of higher education. Today, over 300 campuses are participating to shape a portfolio of peer-vetted, standards-compliant, integrated Cloud solutions enabling swift deployment to the academy—and substantial efficiencies for the enterprise. Already, 35+ solutions have completed or are in the process of service validation by member institutions. We are working to make each of these services available as broadly as possible, including to 7.8 million users served by InCommon and via our regional program to more than 3,500 institutions across the U.S.

Stay tuned, or better yet get involved! New exciting services are right around the corner!