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Cloud services strategy recommendations from the enterprise cloud strategy committee

The enterprise cloud strategy committee was charged to develop a strategic position on cloud computing for Rutgers. Upon surveying IT staff, researching cloud documentation, bringing in the major vendors, and collaborating with peers, the committee delivered findings that included the recommendations below. Access the full report [PDF].

1. Rutgers should adopt an “opportunistic cloud” strategy for new services or solutions.
Cloud computing is complex. There are key-use cases that will clearly benefit from cloud implementation, and there are those that may not. An opportunistic cloud strategy suggests that cloud be considered in provisioning a new project or renewing an existing project.

2. Rutgers should form a university-wide “cloud center of excellence” with a central cloud infrastructure team and specific dedicated subgroups focused on research, instructional, and administrative computing.
A cloud center of excellence (CCoE) is a cross-functional team, with executive support that leads other employees and the organization as a whole in cloud adoption, migration, and operation. The cloud strategy committee also recommends that a dedicated cloud team be formed in the Enterprise Infrastructure group of OIT to enable and support cloud adoption at the university.

3. Rutgers should establish formal and centrally managed business relationships with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform that integrate procurement, on-boarding, and billing into a seamless experience for the Rutgers community.
Enterprise agreements and business associates agreements with the three major vendors should be obtained. There is also a need to establish new on-boarding and billing processes to accommodate the pay-as-you-go usage model; these may vary by vendor.

4. Governance should be made flexible enough to realize benefits from cloud technologies while effectively mitigating risks to the university.
The committee recommends that existing control processes be updated for the cloud and that pre-vetted reference architectures be created, to manage risk without eliminating the benefits of cloud migration. The committee recommends that each provisioned unit be asked to verify their cloud usage semiannually due to rapid development cycles and changes.

5. Rutgers organizations should look to modify current practices to fully leverage the advantages of cloud computing.
A key value proposition of cloud computing is the ability to deliver business value in much shorter timeframes. The following areas of IT practice should be reviewed before a Rutgers IT unit engages on their cloud journey in order to increase chances of success: Project Management, Development/Operations, Disaster Recovery, and Security.

6. Rutgers should make cloud training broadly available to the IT community.
Cloud technology is very different from what IT staff know and do today; it requires a cultural shift. It is incumbent upon the university to develop a robust plan for addressing this major change in skillset requirements as the transition to the cloud progresses.