Cloud Computing | News
Texas College System Builds Private Cloud
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A college system in Houston, TX has begun seeing big returns on its three-year long construction of a private cloud infrastructure to expedite delivery of IT services to its 62,000 students and 4,800 employees. The Lone Star College System uses products from VMware, EMC, and HP in a transformed enterprise that replaced an aging infrastructure. A private cloud is a quickly scalable computing system controlled by the organization rather than a service provider.
Lone Star said that it has reduced delivery of new IT services from three to four months down to less than a week, improved uptime dramatically, and that it will save at least $600,000 in future capital expenditures for hardware replacements.
"Our private cloud allows us to meet the needs of the business and add strategic value to the organization," said Vice Chancellor and CIO Shah Ardalan.
The work began in 2008 with consolidation of a disparate infrastructure that included six IT organizations, each with a datacenter. Now two replicating data centers loaded with HP ProLiant BL490c G6 server blades and EMC Clariion CX4 storage arrays deliver services to support the institution, which has 13 physical sites. The environment runs VMware's vSphere platform as the foundation of its cloud infrastructure, vCloud Director for resource management of the virtual machines, and vCenter Site Recovery Manager for automated disaster recovery. Of the 752 servers available in those primary data centers, 646 are virtual.
Reduction of physical servers and increased use of virtualization has enabled the college system to reduce its energy usage in those data centers by two-thirds, according to Link Alander, Lone Star's associate vice chancellor of Technology Services.
Additionally, Alander said, Lone Star has been able to "dynamically swing" IT capacity to specific areas as they require additional capacity, such as registration systems before the semester begins or grading applications as the semester ends. "We are amazingly more agile and have achieved remarkable resource utilization while spending a lot less time on administrative tasks."
"Without EMC and VMware, we couldn't have achieved our transformation to the cloud and deliver IT-as-a-service," he added. "The tight integration of...technologies combined with the expertise and support we get from [their] professional services have been critical to our adoption of cloud."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.