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Cloud Computing

Rochester Institute of Tech Takes Virtual Labs to the Cloud

In and effort to reduce server expense and lab set-up time, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New York has moved its virtual operations to the cloud in a number of IT courses. The institute deployed VMLogix LabManager-Cloud Edition in July 2009 in networking, security, and systems administration classes offered through its new School of Informatics.

As part of the courses, students run exercises setting up and deploying services on computers. The university said it wanted to decrease the time it took to set up labs for these classes and be able to offer labs to students located off campus. Since deployment, Rochester said in a statement, it has been able to cut server infrastructure acquisition costs by $80,000 and reduce lab set-up time from 20 minutes to five.

"VMLogix LabManagerCE running on Amazon Web Services makes a lot of sense to us because it provides flexibility and means we don't have to worry about providing compute capacity," said Charles Border, associate director of the School of Informatics. "In the past, we've had to support the hardware, which can be challenging because we could never refresh it quickly enough. But now that we can migrate to an environment where someone else provides and updates the hardware, we simply pay for the time we use. Having virtual lab software available in the cloud gives every university the opportunity to offer a high performance, highly configurable environment to its students, which was previously impossible. We really view LabManagerCE as a game changer for higher education."

VMLogix LabManager-Cloud Edition provides a number of features that allows development, test, and support teams to create, share, and deploy production-like environments for the purposes of testing and demonstration. The cloud edition runs on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Customers pay for compute capacity by the hour, with no long-term commitments.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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