Education Enters the Era of Cloud Computing

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Higher education institutions and K-12 school districts continue to face budget and sustainability challenges. One approach to help alleviate these pressures – and further enhance service to students, faculty, staff and alumni – is cloud computing. More institutions and school districts today are seeing cloud computing as a strategic opportunity to create large-scale IT enterprise efficiencies without sacrificing mission-critical performance, security and compliance requirements.

To show real-world examples of cloud migration activity in education, take a look at this collection of sample case studies of cloud implementations in education with a focus on Windows Azure cloud.

First, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) deployed a Microsoft hybrid cloud solution combining its StorSimple cloud-integrated storage with Windows Azure. According to Microsoft, CDSBEO “reduced storage costs by $30,000, gained cost-effective and seamless scalability, and complete disaster recovery capability, and doubled storage performance.” Read the CDSBEO case study.

Second, the University of Washington (UW) developed a self-service reporting application called Michelangelo allowing users to access the university’s databases and then quickly and easily create accurate reports. With the growing popularity of Michelangelo, UW decided to move Michelangelo from an on-premises environment to Windows Azure. With its application in the cloud, UW can support as many users as needed while also reducing “hardware, labor and maintenance requirements for Michelangelo” according to Microsoft. Read the UW case study.

Third, the Essex County Council in the United Kingdom used an education tool called Primary Target Tracker to collect and report on data around student classroom progress. For years, Target Tracker was an Excel-based tool. To provide a more robust, scalable and easy to use solution for school districts in the UK, Primary Target Tracker was rebuilt and migrated into a SQL Database in Windows Azure. Read the Essex County Council case study.

If you know other good cloud stories from the education sector, let me know in the comments section.

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