Beyond "Always On": How Higher Education Is Embracing the Cloud
At Rubrik, we enjoy speaking with our customers immensely. Not only do we learn about their experiences implementing our product, but we also gain unexpected insights into the challenges they face in their respective industries.
One of our favorite interviews was with Fernando Thompson, CIO of UDLAP, one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America. Many higher education IT departments are required to provide always-on services for students and faculty while also mapping back to the institution’s broader goals. For UDLAP, downtime can not only directly impact their finances, but can also be a severe hit to their credibility. As Thompson explains, “We give [our students] tools that enable them to start their own businesses and improve their strategic decision making. It’s a differentiator against other students competing in an international job market.”
For UDLAP, the cloud is instrumental in on-ramping innovative technologies and ensuring business continuity. By moving to the cloud, UDLAP was able to increase the availability and reliability of their services—just one example of why other higher education institutions are doing the same. In this blog, we’re showcasing examples of how universities are taking advantage of the cloud and the myriad benefits they’ve seen, including increased operational efficiency, cost savings, and stronger DR.
University of Reading Increases Operational Efficiency by Archiving to the Cloud
The University of Reading is one of the UK’s leading research universities and has been in existence for more than 150 years. Kevin Mortimer, Infrastructure Services Manager, manages a team of 23 people that supports over 18,000 students and 7,000 faculty—not an easy task for a lean team.
By archiving to Microsoft Azure, University of Reading was able to completely migrate off tape. “The integration with cloud couldn’t be easier—just assign an SLA and Rubrik takes care of the rest,” said Mortimer.
With Rubrik’s rapid restores and Google-like search capabilities, University of Reading is able to quickly pull archived information from the cloud to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, which they are subject to as a public institution. “Rubrik makes it a simple process for us to retrieve any documents needed to respond to queries,” said Mortimer.
Previously, the university would have been slower to respond due to their tape-centric solution. By archiving to the cloud, Mortimer and team have significantly increased their operational efficiency, allowing them to spend less time tracking down tapes and more time on delivering services for their students and faculty.
UC San Diego and Berkeley College Achieve Cost Savings by Moving to the Cloud
In the world of higher education, cost savings are always top of mind, especially when it comes to public universities. Luckily, colleges have found that archiving to the cloud can often be more cost-effective than the alternative.
UC San Diego, one of the top 15 research universities in the world, was previously unable to migrate to the cloud. With Rubrik, it only took 36 hours to migrate their entire infrastructure, around 2,000 VMs, into AWS S3. Moving to the cloud helped UC San Diego’s team shut down two legacy instances, which were costing them $100,000 per year in tenancy costs and maintenance.
“Cloud elasticity lets us scale our capacity as we grow, whether that’s adjusting retention policies or adding new systems,” said John Iraci, Director of Computing Infrastructure.
UC San Diego also plans on closing their data centers on campus over the next few years in order to optimize the real estate for more student-focused endeavors—another cost-saving benefit.
Similarly, Berkeley College, a private for-profit college with campuses in New York and New Jersey, uses Rubrik to archive to Microsoft Azure, which contributed to a 33% reduction in TCO by consolidating tape, servers, and hardware into one platform.
“At Berkeley, we embrace cloud-based technologies for redundancy, replication, high availability, and data protection,” said Joseph Pagano, Director of Infrastructure. “Together, Rubrik and Azure helps us decrease costs, stay within our data retention policy, and establish a stronger DR strategy.”
Cranfield University Strengthens Recovery Strategy with CloudOn
With universities expected to provide services 24/7 for students, adopting a strong disaster recovery strategy is crucial. “As a leading global research institution, demand for agile services from our users is continuously increasing,” said Edward Poll, Head of IT Infrastructure at Cranfield University, a global leader of educational and transformational research.
“Our goal is to leverage the agility and cost savings of cloud infrastructure,” said Poll. “Previously, we were replicating to a third-party host. A weakness of this approach was that if our two on-site resilient datacentres were completely down, we had no easy way to fully restore services from our third-party provider.“
Cranfield decided to adopt Rubrik’s CloudOn feature to build future cloud infrastructure for disaster recovery. This allows them to quickly convert their archived VMs into cloud instances and launch those apps on-demand in Microsoft Azure. “Our strategy is to build an infrastructure where we can replicate directly to the cloud and then use Rubrik CloudOn to instantly spin up workloads in the cloud,” added Poll.
By utilizing the cloud in this manner, Poll and team feel more confident about maintaining business continuity in the event of a disaster.
Interested in learning more about the benefits our customers are seeing by adopting the cloud with Rubrik? Read our case studies.