Make final selection
Conduct service pilots
General service availability
Phase 2 of the NextGen Cloud Computing project aims to offer more external cloud services to the U-M community in order to provide easier access to cloud-based services at the best possible cost and with the widest set of options. A cross-campus group evaluating public cloud providers has been working since 2012 to help the university establish a strategic partnership in FY13 with at least one vendor providing infrastructure-type services. Read more about the evaluation and selection process.
The U-M community will soon be able to opt-in to use Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud-based IT infrastructure services under a U-M Master Account. In December, nearly two dozen campus users began testing the technical and support components of the university-supported service currently in pilot as M+Amazon Web Services (M+AWS).
Representatives from the following schools, colleges, and units volunteered for the pilot:
The project team is targeting mid-March for general availability of M+Amazon Web Services to campus. Currently, the team is working to remedy pilot issues and developing a campus training series with Amazon Web Services specialists to help people get started with M+AWS.
The NextGen Cloud Computing project aims to select the vendor(s) that best meets campus needs. To ensure this outcome, the group receives guidance from several cross-campus advisory groups, and solicits feedback and approval from the university's IT Governance groups. The project has followed a 4-step plan of evaluation and selection:
In February 2013, representatives from Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, and Salesforce met with campus IT professionals and others to discuss requirements and to demonstrate their services. Each session attracted an average of 75 people, most of them IT professionals from around campus. The vendors also met with U-M CIO Laura Patterson and staff from Procurement and the Office of the General Council. All attendees were invited to participate in a formal evaluation process, which was included in the vendor selection assessments. In total, more than 200 people provided input.
The original evaluation group considered a range of criteria when making its recommendations to IT governance groups on which public cloud providers should provide basic infrastructure-type services. Beginning in 2012, the cross-campus group began working to help the university establish a strategic partnership with at least one vendor. The group rated vendors in the areas below:
This criteria continues to guide the contract negotiation, as well. The final selection will be based on a thorough analysis of the above categories and other criteria, including feedback received from attendees of the public sessions held in February 2013.
The Unit IT Steering Committee and the IT Council, both IT governance groups that help set campus-wide priorities for IT services and resources, agreed with the group's recommendation to consider both finalists. U-M CIO Laura Patterson is the final decision-maker regarding the selection. Contract negotiations will continue through late summer and early fall 2013. The university may pursue one or multiple agreements.
Foundational work is already underway to integrate offerings into U-M businesses process and technical environments. The NextGen Cloud Computing project team, with support from a cross-campus Advisory Group, is developing all aspects of the future service. Work includes billing and infrastructure integration and support services. Additional work will develop tools to help U-M community better understand cloud offerings and to easily obtain the services they need.
Traditional university procurement and technology practices can make it difficult for individuals and units at U-M to leverage the cloud quickly. In the summer of 2012, a cross-campus group worked to identify ways to make it easier, faster, and safer for university units to adopt cloud-based solutions. They 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. A website dedicated to Cloud Computing @ U-M provides foundational information.
The recent signing of an enterprise agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) was one of several project milestones required to ensure the campus community can easily access cloud-based IT infrastructure. We have since finalized most details of the U-M offering of Amazon Web Service. Beginning the first week of December, a limited number of campus users will begin testing the technical and support components of the service. This keeps us on track to offer the services to campus in early 2014.
Under the University of Michigan's enterprise agreement, the U-M community may opt-in to use the Amazon Web Services' (AWS) cloud-based IT infrastructure services under a U-M Master Account. The goal is to make the use of AWS as easy as possible for campus. The university-supported service enabled by the agreement is currently in pilot as M+Amazon Web Services and includes the following features:
A second pilot wave will start in January. If you are interested in participating, please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have achieved a big milestone in the quest to establish a primary provider of cloud-based infrastructure services: the university has signed an enterprise agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS). This keeps us on track to offer the services to campus in early 2014 and to further enrich U-M's shared IT infrastructure.
As with any agreement, the AWS agreement includes several legal protections for the university. For example, it addresses important standards such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and export control regulations. However, it does not support the use of Protected Health Information (PHI) under the guidelines of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). We hope to be able to add HIPAA support in the future.
While signing the agreement with Amazon Web Services is a significant milestone, there is still plenty of work that remains to ensure the service is ready for campus. The project team will spend the next few months working with representatives of the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) and Advanced Research Computing (ARC), as well as with our Advisory Group to finalize the details of the service design and support model. We expect to start a service pilot by December. General availability of the service should follow the pilot in early 2014.
When the U-M's full service is available in early 2014, billing will be simplified (goodbye PCard, hello shortcode!) and basic support services will be in place to assist you in consuming AWS services.
If you are a current Amazon Web Services customer, keep doing what you're doing. When the U-M service is available in 2014, there will be a simple way for you to move your AWS resources under the university service. If you haven't yet used AWS, and you can't wait until 2014 to start, you should talk to your local IT support team or begin exploring how you might take advantage of the offerings by checking out the Amazon Web Services website.
We have decided to focus on one vendor at a time, beginning with Amazon. We may begin negotiating with Microsoft later in 2013 or early 2014. As is common with cloud service provider negotiations, there has been quick progress in some areas and slower progress in others. That said, the project hopes to finalize an agreement with Amazon Web Services later this summer or early fall.
The project team, with support from the Advisory Group, have actively been working on all aspects of the service, including billing integration, to allow the campus community to effectively use the tools. We plan to have this design work complete by the end of August at which time the team will begin implementation. Due to several challenges, particularly the slower-than-expected contract negotiation process, the service will not be available this fall as originally planned. A new schedule will be published in the coming weeks.
In February 2013, representatives of the top four vendors (Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, and Salesforce) met with campus IT professionals and others to discuss requirements and to demonstrate their services. Each session attracted an average of 75 people, most of them IT professionals from around campus. The vendors also met with U-M CIO Laura Patterson and staff from Procurement and the Office of the General Council. All attendees were invited to participate in a formal evaluation process, which is being included in the next phase of vendor selection assessments.
Over the past month, the cross-campus Evaluation Group has been meeting regularly to discuss the vendor offerings. The group is evaluating the vendors on a range of criteria and will present its recommendations to campus IT governance groups, beginning with the Unit IT Steering Committee in March and the IT Council in April. These groups are charged, in part, with setting campus-wide priorities for IT services and resources.