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Cloudification: Tracking Cost Savings and Informational Agility

Cornell Information Technologies, Student Services, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS)

This article applies to: Case Studies, IT Reports and Presentations

The Need

Managing Cornell University data and archiving it in an accessible place for all IT units across the organization is imperative for the technological sustainability and development of the university. The Student Services IT (SSIT) office, under a high level directive to move all services to the cloud, was pursuing a way to move more than 100 servers and 200+ applications to the cloud for optimized cost savings and informational agility. Utilizing the cloud offers more opportunity for units across Cornell University to quickly implement IT services that would otherwise take weeks or even months to set up. The cloud also offers better performance and fault tolerance than were available before.

In addition, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Office of Information Technology (CALS-OIT) was looking for a way to move application hosting services to the cloud.                  

The Challenge

Cloudification is the Cornell offering of public cloud services to the Cornell community. The offering currently includes access to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure under a Cornell University enterprise agreement. Moving services to the cloud requires careful analysis from the security, financial, and logistical perspectives. Thus, collaboration between SSIT,  CALS-OIT, and CIT was crucial to the success of this task. Several units had to work together to monitor costs while ensuring that each team had the proper resources to build applications and stabilize data in the cloud.  

The Solution

CALS-OIT was looking to hire a DevOps engineer to help develop the strategy and moving plan for CALS, but CIT offered to embed a full-time staff member within CALS-OIT for about a year to work on the solution. A dozen of CALS applications are now in the cloud and in production. SSIT has moved Class Roster with Scheduler and Course/Class Interface to the cloud, and plans to move Cornell Dining Now in July.

The Clients

  • Philip Robinson, Technical Architect, IT Assistant Director, Student Services IT
  • Chris Hufnagel, IT Director, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

The Collaborative Relationship

“It’s much more beneficial to be licensed [with AWS or Azure] under the CIT agreement. Not only is it more cost effective, but Sarah’s team builds security into the practice, so we don’t have to figure out everything by ourselves.” – Philip Robinson

“The placement of a CIT staff member within our team required that members from both groups felt safe and empowered to experiment and fail. We had a good vision of where we wanted to end up, but to reach our goal we had to collaborate closely with CIT experts and trust them to identify and execute on the activities necessary to help get us there.” – Chris Hufnagel

About this Article

Last updated: 

Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 9:35pm

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