Summer 2012: Pilot
Fall 2012: Select Availability
Winter 2013: General Availability
In the last quarter of FY13, the number of servers in MiServer and MiDatabase has increased by 200%, bringing the total number of servers operating in the new environment to 256.
The university now offers new cloud-based services to help allow units across campus tailor IT solutions to fit their specific needs. MiServer and MiDatabase offer extendable, efficient, and reliable cloud-based solutions to meet campus computing needs.
The next phase of U-M's long-term cloud strategy focuses on providing more external cloud services to meet campus needs.
In fall 2012, a cross-campus group began evaluating public cloud providers of basic infrastructure-type services. Consisting of IT professionals from across the university, the group aims to help the university establish a strategic partnership with at least one vendor in FY13. The goal is to allow the U-M community easier access to cloud-based services at the best possible cost and with the widest set of options.
In February 2013, representatives of the top four vendors met with campus IT professionals and others to discuss requirements and to demonstrate their services. Read more about the next steps in U-M's strategic partnerships with cloud vendors.
In order to facilitate the university's move to cloud-based computing, ITS has developed two new services. MiServer and MiDatabase allow units at the university to run their systems in a cloud-like environment that exists on the Ann Arbor campus. These services should allow units to save money and also make it easier to move to externally provided services when and if those become better choices for the unit. These services should also minimize unit maintenance, allowing faculty, staff and students to focus on learning, teaching, knowledge and research. Learn more about the MiServer and MiDatabase services.
In essence, a cloud is a group of computers, or servers, that have the capability to act as a single computing service. This single computing service inherently becomes more powerful, scalable, and cost effective than any one server can be on its own. Cloud-based services include everything from Google email to advanced applications supporting complex research.
The 2009 assessment shows that the university can save millions of dollars annually through an increased use of server virtualization and cloud-based services. One of the university's first goals is to reduce the number of physical servers in units by transitioning them to U-M's cloud.
In the future, the university will provide more external cloud services to meet campus needs. Unfortunately, traditional university procurement and technology practices can make it difficult for individuals and units at U-M to leverage the cloud quickly. The NextGen Michigan Cloud Capabilities Team has identified ways to make it easier, faster, and safer for university units to adopt cloud-based solutions. The team published a report in 2012 detailing its recommendations in the areas of internal support services, communications and outreach, business process improvements, and technological enhancements. Work is now underway to implement these changes campus-wide.