ITS launches the Cloud Infrastructure Transformation Program

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mountain range with base camp and climbers

We all have read plenty of stories about organizations moving their systems and applications to the cloud. Many individuals and units at U-M have made their own forays into the cloud, and it’s now time for ITS to provide a way to facilitate the university’s use of cloud services.

In March, 2018 ITS formed the ITS Cloud Infrastructure Transformation Program (CITP) to build the foundational infrastructure in the cloud that will be necessary as ITS considers how cloud services will factor into the future of IT services that we provide to U-M.

Why is a program needed?

It was determined that we needed an ITS-wide initiative to transform the organization into one that is fluent in leveraging and consuming cloud services, allowing ITS to move services as appropriate to public cloud providers.

There were already many cloud efforts underway at ITS, but these efforts weren’t coordinated and often competed for staff and budget. Competing priorities, expectations, and a lack of staff engagement caused confusion. The program is meant to ensure that ITS efforts are coordinated, communicated, and prioritized appropriately.

What is the Cloud Infrastructure Transformation Program?

The program is designed to unite the essential strategy, planning, technology, financial, and staffing work ITS needs to effectively run infrastructure in the cloud. Infrastructure such as networking, computing, databases, storage, operating systems, and identity and access management are integral to all of our IT services. Our early work in migrating ITS applications to the cloud informed a decision to build out foundational infrastructure, make system migration less time and resource intensive, and provide for more successful migrations of applications to the cloud.

The program is building the ITS virtual data center “base camp” with reliable, scalable, resilient, responsive, and innovative infrastructure that ITS can rely on in the future. The program will also lead an organizational transformation, allowing ITS and its staff to become proficient in operating and consuming cloud services.

Projects that now fall under the program include the Virtual Data Center, as well as migrations underway for the vDC, and the Cloud Decision Framework & Application Roadmapping Project (CFAR). Other initiatives that the program will undertake are:

  • Deploy core infrastructure services in the cloud (e.g., Active Directory, Shibboleth)
  • Create a proof-of-concept CUI (controlled unclassified information) enclave in the cloud
  • Stand up a PeopleSoft test environment in the cloud
  • Provide training on cloud fundamentals and related technologies (e.g., Git, Ansible)

The CITP Program is focused internally on ITS and the transformation that is needed to build the necessary infrastructure. The program will identify which applications should migrate to the cloud, execute those migrations, and support staff as they enhance their capabilities to execute in the cloud.

ITS cloud efforts outside of the program

Not everything cloud related will be aligned to the program. Several ongoing cloud efforts will continue independent of the CITP Program. Some of these include ITS efforts to enable U-M schools, colleges, and units access to necessary cloud infrastructure, consulting, and support needed by the campus community as they develop their own cloud strategies.

In the past year, ITS has signed Enterprise Agreements and Business Associates Agreements (BAA) with Amazon (AWS), Microsoft (Azure) and Google (GCP), making these best-in-class cloud services available to all of U-M. In addition, purchasing these cloud services through ITS allows integration to campus resources and security monitoring, including shortcode billing, Shibboleth integration, preconfigured network and security resources with optional VPN, and network egress waivers. To take advantage of these services, visit http://its.umich.edu/computing/virtualization-cloud

One thought on “ITS launches the Cloud Infrastructure Transformation Program

  1. Craig Kaiser

    Will the Cloud Infrastructure Transformation Program investigate cloud storage of Protected Health Information (PHI) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to allow compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and general safeguarding of personal information?

    There could be considerable benefits for Michigan Medicine when cloud storage becomes an option for client and patient information and a standardized and supported way with the backing of ITS.

    The US government has addressed the storage of extremely sensitive information for agencies such as the CIA.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2017/11/20/amazon-launches-new-cloud-storage-service-for-u-s-spy-agencies

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