Cloud Services & Network Report

Posted on: November 17, 2017

Cloud computing services, which allow for the rapid deployment of resources such as servers, storage and databases, are changing the way IT does business, and the landscape has been evolving quickly the past several years. During this time, Information Technology Services (ITS) has been working to remain informed of these developments while gaining familiarity through training, testing and usage. One particular area of focus has been an effort to standardize and simplify the processes to allow campus units to utilize these services, including contracts and billing.

The ITS Systems team has been working on improving our Amazon Web Services (AWS) contract and billing approach.  AWS has generally been available to colleges, schools and units (CSUs), and UT now has a campus-wide agreement.  CSUs can sign up for AWS accounts and take full advantage of the AWS product catalog.

The value of this agreement includes:

  • Coverage via a fully negotiated and executed contract by the Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs, with full independence in terms of usage
  • 3% usage discount
  • A data egress fee waiver for academics or university business (up to 15% of the bill, with some exclusions for streaming type applications)

For more information, or to request an account, please visit the Cloud Computing service page 

Secondly, included in the UT suite of Microsoft tools is Azure – a comprehensive set of services for developers.  A similar approach to provide a standard campus-wide agreement, sign-up, and billing process is underway for this service.  ITS is working through the final details of the billing process and will provide an announcement as soon as the new agreement is available.

While there are certain use cases that are not ideally suited for cloud computing (e.g., applications with static and predictable usage, dependencies on campus resources), there are other services that could benefit greatly (e.g., applications that receive periods of heavy usage and could take advantage of elasticity — that is, compute resources which have the ability to scale up *or* down to meet demand). As such, determining whether a cloud computing service is right for your particular business requirements can be part art and part science. The good news is that ITS is here to help. Please reach out to David Moss (dmoss@utexas.edu or 471-9066) with any questions or to schedule some time to discuss potential use cases.

Every two years, ITS Networking produces a report detailing metrics of service and major activity that have occurred over the two years between reports.  Networking released the latest report in late September, and below are some of the highlights.  UT’s network would stack up against most universities and solidly supports the research and teaching that sings across its fiber.  It serves roughly 200 buildings and sites, comprising over 24 million gross square feet.

Primary points of interest drawn from the report include:

  • 11,500 pieces of equipment create the university’s network, with a projected $14M annualized operating cost.
  • Over 295,000 unique devices use the university’s network (mostly wireless). Device growth increases by about two percent annually.
  • Bandwidth consumption increased 24% from the previous year.
  • Building network grades, derived from individual reports cards that are maintained in cooperation with each campus unit, increased to an average of 81 (B-) with $4M of deferred building network investment.

Information Technology Services made the following investments in the network since the last report:

  • Core Wireless Lifecycle
  • Backup Internet Service Provider

Planning is underway for:

  • Replacement of the primary Network Operations Center (funded, under construction, completion fall 2017)
  • Network Core Lifecycle
  • Network Address Translation Lifecycle

The full report can be found at https://utexas.app.box.com/v/network2017.