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While earning a final qualification or degree when embarking in higher education is the ultimate goal, we must not forget that many students are motivated by receiving best in class and often personalised educational experiences. Often underpinning these experiences are innovative uses of technology and digital tools, which contribute to an overall more engaging learning experience. This is reflected in the results of a recent McGraw Hill study, which found that 81% of university students finding digital learning technology helps improve their grades, while 69% find it helps their focus.
Cutting-edge and purpose-built resources, flexible learning delivered through digital teaching, and faster, always-on IT infrastructure are all now essential to meet the technology needs of today’s higher education institutions. This is especially true given many university campuses have had to quickly pivot to delivering a lot of lectures online.
Cloud computing offers a clear solution to help meet the demands of today’s digital-first generation of students – but there are questions around cost and logistics. Which cloud strategy (i.e. public, private or hybrid) will enable institutions to deliver always-on services to the university community cost-effectively? And what about some of the challenges to implementation? Here, we explore some of the solutions and barriers to overcome.
Overcoming the challenges present in a HE environment
Cloud computing has huge potential for the higher education sector. But before reaping the benefits that cloud can provide, higher education organisations must first address the areas that are holding them back from successful digital transformation. Hampered by technological challenges, including traditional infrastructure, multiple management tools, siloed IT systems and poor network security leading to vulnerabilities of sensitive student data, many institutions may feel limited by their existing environments.
The sector is also challenged by inconsistent infrastructures between private cloud and public cloud, which force customers to re-architect or refactor existing applications while moving to cloud, increasing risk, cost and complexity. Multiple providers also continue to run patchwork of old and new applications and a variety of devices, making it difficult for siloed teams to collaborate and communicate. Not only this, but migrating applications to the cloud is complex, and the work required to make the leap can be costly and time-consuming. The effort to migrate applications to the cloud is often underestimated, resulting in projects that run over time and budget, or underdeliver in achieving the goals.
Fortunately for the higher education sector, it is possible to overcome these challenges – if they select the right option for effective deployment and expansion.
The right solution from the right provider
When it comes to selecting a cloud provider, VMware Cloud on AWS offers the most efficient path to hybrid cloud, as a scalable solution without the migration costs or risks that other options are saddled with. VMware Cloud on AWS delivers clear cost advantages over traditional, multi-tier deployments. There is no need to re-architect/re-factor applications to suit native-cloud environments, and no costly resources left underused in quieter periods. This allows institutions to incorporate the infrastructure, apps, services and devices that allow students and staff to reap the benefits of a seamless, robust and innovative digital education experience.
As a result, higher education departments can manage, secure and protect production applications in a seamlessly integrated hybrid IT environment without having to purchase custom hardware.
Additionally, VMware Cloud on AWS allows institutions to modernise their education data centres and reach for truly connected digital campuses – meaning multiple departments can be integrated across faculty-wide IT systems. The result will be fully complete application stacks within hybrid clouds which can help accelerate educational app development and delivery in the long-term – and reduce data silos for teachers and students alike.
Moving forward with digital transformation
By adopting cloud services, education providers can create more flexible teaching structures for students and lessen the demand on staff schedules, through e-learning platforms which can be accessed at home or on-premise, with a consistent, reliable and highly-available cloud environment.
The flexible and scalable nature of hybrid cloud means traditionally-slow higher education institutions will no longer be seen as digital laggards – but as innovative and responsive, with the capacity to respond to changing student and educational demands. With security and governance at the heart of the solution, higher education institutions will be able to offer global education solutions which can run during downtime periods and support top-quality distance-learning taking place worldwide – a truly modern solution for the present-day higher education sector.
For more information on VMware Cloud on AWS for Higher Education, have a read here.
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