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Max’s Minute: Higher Ed is Moving to the Cloud (Part 2 of 5)

Max Davis-Johnson, CIO Boise State University, discusses the future of technology in higher education, specifically that, in general, higher ed is moving to the Cloud in this second video in a multipart series.

Max explains how Boise State is preparing for the future by moving software (Saas) and infrastructure (Iaas) to the Cloud for better security, performance, and the ability to tune these systems to the specific needs of the University.

Transcript: Max’s Minute: Software and Infrastructure as a Service (Part 2)

>> MAX: I’m going to talk about the future of technology in higher ed.

>> TITLE: Max’s Minute: The Future of Technology in Higher Ed Part 2: Software as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service

>> MAX: Hi, this is Max Davis-Johnson, Boise State University, Office of Information Technology.

Today I’m going to, this is the second of a multi-part series where I’m going to talk about the future of technology in higher ed and hopefully share how Boise State is preparing for the future. I’m going to focus today a little more on infrastructure, enterprise things that we’re doing.

And so when you start thinking enterprise applications, you start thinking of the Cloud. And, in general, higher ed is moving towards the cloud.

When we talk about the cloud and applications, we’re talking about something we call software as a service, or SaaS, you may hear it referred to as Saas.

>>TITLE: Software as a Service ( SaaS )

>>MAX: And, a good example for Boise State is Google Apps–Google Mail. We’ve been using that since 2008, and that is a SaaS product–software as a service.

You’re going to see education in general start moving to their enterprise system in cloud products. The major vendors in this area Oracle PeopleSoft, which we use, Work Day, some of the other student systems are all moving to cloud, or SaaS-based systems, and Boise State is no exception.

Our financial system is now a cloud-based system. We are starting a project this fall to move our HR/Payroll, what we call HCM, Human Capital Management, to a cloud-based system that will be a multi-year project. Also, we’ll be moving at the end of the fall, our current Blackboard environments to a SaaS environment. In other words, it will be hosted in the cloud.

There are some nice advantages to being in the cloud. It gives you the opportunity to be on the current release with continuous improvement. You don’t have to worry so much about the backend plumbing of these large applications. You can focus more on using the application, and configuring it to meet your needs.

We still have to be very concerned with these applications as far as proper access, proper identity management, moving data back and forth. So it doesn’t necessarily get easier, but our jobs do change, hopefully, not hopefully, but at the end of the day we’re offering a better product, a higher availability, a more modern product as we move forward there.

>>TITLE: Infrastructure as a Service

>> MAX: Another thing that you’re going to see when we’re talking about the Cloud, is the idea of infrastructure as a service, i.e., servers and storage in the Cloud. A primary example of that is Amazon Web Services, or AWS, or Microsoft Azure, and there are certainly other examples. But you’re going to see more and more institutions leveraging these services in the Cloud.

Boise State we’ve already started to leverage some of these services. We host some of our applications like our website, we do our development, some of our web applications that we developed are AWS, or Amazon Web Services-based.

Another good thing about the Cloud is the fact that the Cloud technically is very secure. We have a very good security team here at Boise State. The reality is they need to sleep where a large Cloud provider has an army and they do not sleep.

But what you’re going to see is we have a private cloud basically here on campus. In other words, it’s a highly virtualized environment very similar to what’s in the cloud like AWS, and over time, our ability to move from our private cloud to the public cloud will be fairly seamless. It will be fairly transparent. We will be able to pick and choose where best to put data, where best to run certain applications and our ability to move from cloud to cloud is only going to improve.

And that’s the way it’s going to be for other institutions too. And that’s really the direction of technology at a macro scale.

Until next time, thank you.

>>TITLE: Max’s Minute is produced by the Office of Information Technology at Boise State University.