A number of places asked me to provide my initial first impressions of the survey I did on Cloud Computing in Higher Education.
My first impression is that survey respondents don’t understand what the cloud is, but that shouldn’t have been a shock to me, most people don’t know what it is. Admittedly this lack of understanding could be due to the way the survey was structured; but even after a couple of tweaks to the order of sections (I moved Software to the front of the survey and Platforms and Infrastructure to the end), respondents were still having a hard time understanding what was what. I’ll most likely need to do some clean up on the survey, but I think for now I have a great understanding of what is going on in Higher Education in terms of the cloud.
In the survey I tried to define the three main components of the cloud: Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, and Infrastructure-as-a-Service. After the survey was completed, I realized that I’ll need to do a better job of defining things for the audience members in my NERCOMP presentation. Something that I though I could spend 10 minutes on will probably need a solid 20 minutes so that everyone can be on the same page. I think diagrams and other visual aids might really help people understand what these different components are, and how they correspond to computing they are already using.
My second impression is that institutions are very comfortable with using Software-as-a-Service. Below is a graph showing SaaS usage among respondents. Facebook is of course the leader in the SaaS cloud race, with Twitter and Google Docs coming in right behind them. What I think is the most interesting though is that overall, Google has the highest share of the marketplace.
As far as PaaS and IaaS, most institutions are not using these services. I’m hesitant to show results from these sections of the survey since so many respondents confused software for platforms or infrastructure. Once I clean things up, I’ll provide more information. Suffice to say though, few if any institutions are using Infrastructures or Platforms in the cloud. Those that are are using Amazon Web Services (for infrastructure) and Google Code (for platform).
More to come later. And thank you to everyone that took the time to take my survey. It has been eye opening and hopefully will make me a more informed speaker.
In March I’ll be presenting at NERCOMP. The theme for this year’s conference is: “The Next-Generation University: Rethinking IT in Disruptive Times”. My presentation will be on Cloud Computing in Higher Education (I know you’re shocked right?).
As a companion to this presentation. I’m doing a survey, to see what kind of things institutions are using in the cloud. Its definitely not a comprehensive list of what’s in the cloud or even what’s possible in the cloud, but my presentation is only 40 minutes.
At any rate, if you work in academia and you’re interested in/using cloud computing, please please please take my survey.
Your help will be greatly appreciated.
I’m considering writing a presentation proposal for NERCOMP 2010. What I would like to talk about are two aspects of cloud computing that aren’t regularly focused on:
1) What exactly is cloud computing
(because we should all be on the same page before talking about something)
- defining the overall concept
- discussing SaaS, Iaas, Paas (and providing examples)
- public v. private cloud
- current “trends” in cloud computing
- the demise of the operating systems
- creation of cloud standards
2) How can IT use it beyond outsourcing email
- testing out new software
- improving upgrade processes
additionally how will this impact IT departments
- less focus on technology
- more focus on user experience
- more focus on process and project management
- increase to production timelines
- a faster pace of “academic business”
3) What are the benefits to creating an Educational Cloud
- lowering the cost of the cloud services that are currently offered
- collaboration on projects
- sharing ownership of computing resources
I don’t know if I can fill 50 minutes all by my lonesome. I’d like to have a session that is more meeting and less presentation. Maybe getting users to participate via polls. I wonder if I could make the session a mini unconference of sorts. Maybe start off with a definition and then ask the audience to raise their hand if they have done any of the points outlined in #2 part 1 above. Have them come up and talk about what it is that they did and how it impacted them (using ideas in #2 part 2 as a jumping off point) in 5 minutes or less. I could come up with a back up plan just in case no one raises their hand.
I could then wrap things up using with a push for creating an educational cloud based on the ideas outlined in #3 above.
Please provide comments or opinions on these ideas. If you think its an AWFUL idea and that NERCOMP might explode, let me know. Or if you think it’ll explode in a good way, let me know that too.