Cloud Computing Options

Cloud computing services are a hot topic right now.  While there are many options available to the UT-Austin community, in this blog I want to highlight three services offered by the University.

First, UT offers a virtual machine infrastructure housed in UDC called UT-VMG (UT Virtual Machine Gateway).  This service is based on the VMware vSphere Virtual Infrastructure suite and vRealize Automation. You can quickly provision your own virtual machines, even modify them on the fly1.  The cost is fairly modest for virtual machines.  Backups are provided for an additional fee.  Provisioning is handled via a web interface.  This is ideal for smaller hosting needs (applications with static and predictable usage, or with light usage; and applications with dependencies on other campus resources).  For more information, please see this Service Catalog.

Second, UT has a contract with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to not only save you a bit of money, but also simplify the contacts and billing.  Using the UT campus-wide agreement, UT-recognized colleges, schools, and units can sign up for AWS accounts and take full advantage of the AWS product catalog.  Our agreement with AWS includes:

  • Coverage via a fully-negotiated and executed contract by the Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs, but full independence in terms of usage.
  • A minimum 3% usage discount off MSRP for all AWS purchases.
  • A data egress fee waiver for academics or university business (up to 15% of the bill, with some exclusions for streaming type applications).

AWS is ideal for larger workloads that need to scale up and down (elasticity), or for serving large amounts of data to external users (S3 buckets).  For more information, or to request an account, please visit this Service Catalog.

Third, included in our suite of Microsoft tools is Azure – a comprehensive set of services for hosting and developers.  A similar approach to provide a standard campus-wide agreement, signup and billing processes is underway for this services as well.

Microsoft provides four different services under Azure: Cloud Services, Virtual Machines, Web Sites, and Mobile Services. With Cloud Services, Azure builds the virtual machine for you to host your app on, and keeps the vm updated with any patches. With Virtual Machine service, Azure allows you to build either Microsoft or Linux virtual machines through a service subscription. Azure can also be used as a platform for creating and hosting websites and web apps. Finally, Azure's Mobile Services give you the tools to create and deploy apps for mobile devices.

While none of these services are appropriate for all use cases, these three cloud services do cover an amazing amount of the requests we receive for hosting.

If you have additional questions or need help with hosting or cloud services, please contact UT ITS directly via https://ut.service-now.com/.

Written by CNS OIT staff
Questions or comments? The best and easiest way to contact us is via the CNS Help Desk form.

See also: General, Hosting, UDC, VM