Cloud Computing

U San Diego Uses Cloud To Support Global Study Abroad Program in Spain

The University of San Diego (USD) has implemented a cloud solution to migrate data to the United Kingdom, so it can provide students in its international studies abroad program in Madrid, Spain with reliable access to core academic and administrative information systems.

The University of San Diego Madrid semester program is an extension of USD and offers courses in a variety of disciplines to students from accredited universities around the world. The courses are similar to those offered on the San Diego campus and supported by USD faculty and staff who work on site in the university's Madrid office. However, the large volume of participants made it challenging for the university to provide its Madrid students with reliable access to core academic and administrative information systems.

To improve the Madrid Center's access to these information systems, the USD Information Technology Services unit implemented VMware vCloud Air, which enabled it to extend its existing VCE Vblock System and VMware vSphere infrastructure to vCloud Air's UK-based data center, providing improved geographic proximity to the USD Madrid Center. However, data still had to travel more than 5,500 miles over the public Internet from San Diego to the UK. The distance and varying levels of Internet service quality negatively affected application performance.

To accelerate its connectivity to the UK data center, the university implemented Silver Peak Unity, an "intelligent wide area network (WAN) fabric that unifies the enterprise network with the Internet and public cloud," according to the company's site. With Silver Peak Unity, USD was able to increase its throughput to and from the UK data center from 10 megabits per second (Mbps) over the public Internet connection to 150 Mbps over the secure WAN fabric.

The migration to the UK data center required the university to replicate its "VCE Vblock System-based servers and Blackboard learning environment of approximately 500 virtual machines (VMs) with an average size of 50 gigabytes (GB) from San Diego to the vCloud Air UK data center," according to Silver Peak. With the help of the secure WAN fabric, the university was able to reduce that initial migration time from 26.5 hours to one hour. The WAN fabric has also enabled the university to accelerate its course content updates and remote access to Blackboard by 20 times.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at

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