Curt Carver (right)
When universities outside of Georgia discover how the state is using the private cloud to leverage learning capabilities for students and faculty, it’s only a matter of time before other higher education systems follow suit. The path to move the University System of Georgia’s disjointed IT services to the cloud model originally started out of necessity. “About fifteen years ago, we figured out that this idea of engaging with lots and lots of vendors to run bandwidth was awkward and cost prohibitive,” says CIO and vice chancellor Curt Carver. As a solution, Carver says the University System bought about 2,800 miles of dark fiber across the state to create a bandwidth service that was “effectively unlimited for each campus.”
When Carver joined the department in 2009, the University System was already moving toward the full private-cloud format with increased bandwidth capabilities, storage, data centers, and backup as offered services. The system took off quickly, so Carver started layering Software as a Service (SaaS) on top of that as well. Now, the private cloud caters to 314,000 students across the thirty-one schools in the system; further, 250,000 unique users access the cloud on a daily basis, Carver says, generating more than 50 million hits a day as students access files, participate in discussion boards, and participate in other activities like submitting assignments.