3. Why Use a Private Cloud over a Public Cloud?

The benefits of cloud computing are widely discussed and include such things as agility (the ability to quickly configure new resources via self-service portals), elasticity (the ability to scale up and down resource usage) and a utility charging model (minimising capital investment requirements). Given these benefits, why aren’t all IT providers migrating to the public cloud? The answer lies in the number of barriers to adopting public cloud technologies. Fortunately, many of these barriers do not apply to the more localised private cloud services, such as the USDC private cloud.

One of the primary barriers to the public cloud is data location. Whereas, a major advantage of a private cloud run by the University for the University, is that any data stored on the cloud doesn’t leave the University. Considering intellectual property, freedom of information and data protection rights - three things that must be understood when processing and storing data - storing data with the University makes life much simpler.

A private cloud also has another advantage over its public counterparts: there are no charges for moving data to and from the cloud. Public providers have charges in place for data movement that can add significantly to the costs of using cloud infrastructure, even for those manipulating just reasonable amounts of data. The USDC private cloud is located on the University network and enjoys the benefits of a high-speed connection without users of the service attracting additional charges.

Finally, another often cited issue is the reliability of the connection to the cloud provider: depending on the internet for accessing systems, with its bottlenecks and reliability questions, can be too risky for some applications. The location of the USDC private cloud within the boundaries of the University network makes it no different from accessing email or many of the other central services that IT systems across the University.

More information on cloud computing at the University of Oxford.

3.1. Services Managed by the University for the University

The USDC and its services are managed by Oxford University Computing Services (OUCS). We operate, develop and support the University’s primary computing infrastructure and services. We are committed to providing high-quality and cost-effective IT services that meet the needs of the University and its members. We seek to foster and support excellence, innovation, best practice, and value for money in the use of IT across the University.

The USDC’s private cloud provides a shared responsibility environment for computing. The private cloud provides the underlying infrastructure, but the IT services built upon it are owned and managed independently. This allows a ‘Shared Infrastructure, Local Autonomy’ approach to IT services. This approach offers a great fit for one of the University’s core principles - subsidiarity.

The Shared Infrastructure Services team at OUCS (SIS) offer flexible cloud computing to your college, department or faculty. This service is built upon the state-of-the-art facilities provided by the University’s Shared Data Centre (USDC).

To find out how the SIS team can help you - please contact us at: SIS@oucs.ox.ac.uk

We are happy to discuss your cloud computing or co-location requirements. We aim to find the best fit for your college, department or faculty.

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