Ohio to Lead Country in Statewide Cloud Computing Initiative

Jun 10, 2009

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Columbus, Ohio (June 10, 2009) - Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut today announced the implementation of a hardware platform that will advance the development of an integrated technology infrastructure as outlined in the 10-year Strategic Plan for Higher Education and lead the country in cloud computing on a statewide level as a higher education system. The hardware platform secured through several vendors – Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, Qwest and Mythics, Inc. – will allow the University System of Ohio to avoid $2.2 million in costs needed to maintain separate hardware throughout the state, as well as reduce power consumption by 50 percent.

“Work has begun to create a single, integrated technology infrastructure to support Ohio’s higher education system,” said Chancellor Fingerhut. “A shared infrastructure is another step towards promoting efficiencies and shared services throughout Ohio’s public institutions.”

The Ohio Academic Resource Network (OARnet) - the University System of Ohio’s technology operations arm – is coordinating the project that will integrate the five individual organizations that currently provide hardware and software services to research and education institutions. The integrated infrastructure will provide a common platform of networked storage facilities, virtualized servers, clustered applications, and a consolidated storage area network (SAN) for OhioLink, Ohio Learning Network, eTech, Ohio Board of Regents and OARnet, while also providing a common infrastructure for applications to be used by Ohio’s research and higher education institutions through cloud computing – a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet.

Implementing the hardware platform is the second major step in creating an integrated infrastructure. Earlier this year, the University System of Ohio partnered with VMware, Inc. to launch the University System of Ohio Virtualization Program, a three-year purchasing aggregation initiative with the potential of saving Ohio colleges and universities more than $130 million. The agreement gave the unlimited ability to license industry leader VMware’s full suite of state-of-the-art virtualization software and technological support services which began the process of combining the IT infrastructures into one virtualized shared infrastructure.

Virtualization is regarded as a revolutionary technology, which has transformed how leading organizations around the globe manage IT operations. When an outfit “virtualizes,” it is able to reduce the number of physical servers and desktop computers that it maintains, while sustaining the same performance levels and productivity tools for end users. It is a cost-effective and efficient way to manage IT processes. By implementing virtualization, Ohio's research and higher education community is considered an active participant in "Green IT," a national initiative to reduce IT-related costs, increase productivity and improve performance in computing while minimizing environmental impact. The increased computational capacity provided on fewer desktops and servers will have a positive environmental impact due to decreased power and cooling needs for campus systems.

The hardware platform is expected to be fully operational by early fall 2009. Once fully integrated, the platform will then be made available to other education and research institutions in an ongoing effort to continue to improve efficiencies of campuses and increase capacity throughout the University System of Ohio.

The Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet) was established by the Ohio Board of Regents in 1987 to provide researchers with access to the computational resources of the Ohio Supercomputer Center. Today. OARnet provides Ohio’s colleges and universities and their research partners with an integrated technology infrastructure that includes unrivaled intrastate network connectivity and shared services. OARnet specializes in providing custom solutions, whether providing virtualization resources, spanning the globe by videoconference or providing 24/7 network support. For more information, visit http://www.oar.net.

Internet2 is the foremost U.S. advanced networking consortium. Led by the research and education community since 1996, Internet2 promotes the missions of its members by providing both leading-edge network capabilities and unique partnership opportunities that together facilitate the development, deployment and use of revolutionary Internet technologies. Internet2 brings the U.S. research and academic community together with technology leaders from industry, government and the international community to undertake collaborative efforts that have a fundamental impact on tomorrow's Internet.  For more information: http://www.internet2.edu