Why Cloud?

Cloud computing enables ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable resources (networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service. There are currently three widely recognized service models:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) – A business application created and hosted in a multi-tenant model paid for on a subscription basis
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Building on services delivered via IaaS (described below), a set of middleware, software development, and deployment tools provided to enable consistent development for a cloud environment
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Delivery of services such as hardware, storage, networking, data center space, and utility software elements on an on-demand basis

Cloud Advantages

Embracing cloud computing offers Penn the opportunity to achieve significant improvements in functionality, especially as related to future cost avoidance and to transform our IT services and operations in a significant way. The major benefits of cloud computing include:

  • Responsiveness to Demand: Cloud vendors offer us virtually unlimited capacity. We can immediately provision resources, such as servers, in extremely large quantities, use those resources for as long as necessary, and immediately de-provision them when they are no longer necessary. This model eliminates the need for over-provisioning resources to meet peaks or unknown future demands.
  • Efficiency: Demand for IT services will continue increasing at an ever-faster pace, and we need to find a way to meet demand with relatively flat funding and headcount. Cloud vendors offer efficient economies of scale for commodity services, so our staff can be reskilled and redeployed to focus on higher value, and potentially more interesting, work.
  • Resilience: The infrastructure that powers cloud services is highly durable and can be spread across multiple geographic locations. This alleviates concerns related to the availability and disaster recovery of on-campus data centers.
  • Cost: The “pay as you go” model of cloud computing allows us to pay for only those services that we actually consume and to purchase them on demand. This model is well aligned to Responsibility Center Management (RCM) philosophy.
  • Innovation: By utilizing more cloud services, staff will be able to focus on efforts that are central to advancing Penn’s mission in academics, research, healthcare, and community.

ISC's Cloud First Principles

  • Choose simplicity, speed, and iterative improvement over upfront completeness and strict controls.
  • Continuously iterate and re-evaluate decisions; nothing is beyond question.
  • Be mindful of increasing technical debt.
  • Choose automated solutions over manual ones, but respect the implications to manual process owners.
  • Use tools and technologies “off the shelf” in secure ways and as the provider intended.

Cloud Home