Diving Into the Cloud | Feature

Improving System Reliability

A shift to cloud-based operations can help ensure high service availability and solid data recovery. That was a major impetus at Lone Star College System (TX), a large community college system in Houston that recently implemented a private cloud.

Before then, whenever the system's PeopleSoft ERP was put to the test, such as at the start of a semester, IT staff simply crossed their fingers and hoped. "It wasn't a question of whether the ERP would crash, but when," says Link Alander, associate vice chancellor of technology services. Furthermore, he adds, "core services--the network, internet connectivity, campus connectivity--used to break all the time."

In a massive overhaul of its IT operations encompassing both infrastructure and organizational changes, Lone Star consolidated 13 data centers down to two, which are much more easily replicated, using a combination of gear from HP, EMC, and VMware. Now, "we've achieved five-nines availability of our critical applications," says Alander, using IT jargon to describe an uptime record of 99.999 percent.

About the Authors

Rama Ramaswami is a business and technology writer based in New York City.

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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