Nov. 8-11, 2022 at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

Cloud Forum Presentation Abstracts

— Back to the Cloud Forum Schedule

November 9 Presentations

Optimizing our new AWS account creation process for time and cost

Nick Marangella, University of California San Diego
9:15 am | Slides
In the beginning, there was darkness… and a 14-page internal document of instructions on how engineers create a new AWS account. We got started like everyone else and created our AWS accounts and VPCs by hand. Over time this evolved into a combination of python scripts and CloudFormation templates which drastically reduced the amount of time needed to create a new account. One step was out of our team’s hands, the VPN connection for the VPC. We would have to submit a ticket to our networking team and wait… sometimes weeks because of how busy their queue is. In 2018, AWS released the Transit Gateway which allowed customers to share a VPN connection to multiple VPCs. Now, we could bring up a new account quickly, the same day it was requested by a customer.

We will discuss the financial and technical issues we considered as we added automation to cloud account creation and share the issues we had during implementation. By consolidating our 100 gateways down to 3 in an “egress VPC” we drastically reduced the overhead of creating single accounts and our monthly cost overall.

Lightning Talks

Speakers TBA
10:00 am

Panel: The Challenge of Federal Cloud Funding

Nick Weber, National Institutes of Health
10:15 am
Academic research depends heavily on the support and direction of government funding agencies. Despite their best efforts, these support programs can create as many challenges as they do opportunities. This panel will discuss the conflicting realities.

Kion: A Penn State Journey

Rick Rhoades, Penn State University
1:00 pm | Slides
In late 2020, the Cloud Services Team at Penn State began looking for a new offering to provide multi-cloud visibility to their customers. Kion promised to meet many of those needs and quickly jumped to the top of the list of possible replacements. This presentation will take you through Penn State’s journey from discovery, purchase, implementation, and ultimately, Cloud Enablement with Kion.

How UCF is Pursuing Cloud Maturity

Jonathan White, University of Central Florida
1:30 pm | Slides
The University of Central Florida is one of the largest universities in the country by enrollment, serving over 70,000 students and 12,500 faculty and staff. With average annual cloud spend more than doubling each year, UCF has turned to both Cloudability and their own cloud maturity scorecard to stay on top of unrelenting customer demand for more of everything across multiple clouds. Learn about how UCF leverages these tools to surface insights, identify constraints, and communicate progress across a federated IT organization, as well as practical recommendations based on UCF’s cloud journey and experience utilizing Cloudability.

Workshop: Cultivating a Cloud Culture in Your Organization

2:00 pm
The focus of the workshop will be on building successful culture, teams, and cloud fluency. How do we get there? Is it through successful training programs, organizational structures, roles, committees, common terminology, and high-level governance, or will it all just magically happen? There is a need to establish a common, controlled platform that can empower our students, faculty, and researchers to freely build their solutions without increasing institutional risk and still allowing enterprise-level visibility.

November 10 Presentations

Harvard University: Why Multi-Cloud?

Albert Pacheco, Harvard University
8:14 am | Slides
Despite the common wisdom that companies should focus on a single cloud provider, taking advantage of specialized technologies and bulk pricing, universities don’t necessarily have that choice. We need to support what the community needs, and if a researcher has a grant or a local unit has a valid business need on a different cloud provider, then there needs to be at least some offering. Harvard University started with Amazon Web Services (AWS), added Microsoft Azure, and has recently increased support for Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as well. This talk will cover some of our decision-making process and what we eventually built for each provider.

Centralized Cloud Infrastructure

Lucrecia Kim-Boswell, Stanford University
9:15 am | Slides
Learn how Stanford University operationalized access to cloud accounts by creating a centralized service which includes automated ordering, provisioning and billing (chargebacks) via ServiceNow.

Lightning Talks

Speakers TBA
10:00 am

Give ’em the Old Razzle DaaS-le

Christopher Manly, Cornell University
1:00 pm | Slides
One of the recurring questions in Cloud enablement discussions at Cornell has been around how to provide DevOps as a Service (DaaS). Should we build pipelines to auto-deploy containers? Should we just provide recipes and templates? The answer eluded us until a global pandemic, a financial crunch, and a conversation between some IT directors resulted in a collaborative professional services arrangement. This has grown into a service offering for campus to provide DevOps support to those departments that can’t maintain staffing and expertise in-house.

Cornell developed a professional services offering to provide DevOps as a Service (DaaS) to campus customers who could not maintain staffing and expertise in-house.

Cloud Communications: Who, What, and How

Matthew Rich, Northwestern University
1:30 pm | Slides
You’re doing a great job on the cloud, but do your stakeholders know? You’ve created resources for your users, but do they know how to find them? This talk will present a framework you can use to create a cloud communications plan for your school.

November 11 Presentations

Panel: Establishing a Higher Ed Cloud Mentorship Program

Bob Flynn, Internet2
8:30 am
The spectrum of higher ed cloud adoption runs from mature R1s to non-research institutions trying to determine if/how to get started. The power of our community is in its willingness to share our knowledge. There is enough experience in the community to develop higher-ed-aligned best practices for AWS, Azure and GCP, such as the Higher Ed GCP Adoption Guide and the Internet2 Cloud FinOps Working Group.

Once made aware of and connected to the higher ed cloud community, new schools begin to listen in to the conversation. It can be difficult, however, to step into an established community like that and ask what might be perceived as basic or beginner questions. It is far more comfortable when you can have a dedicated conversation with someone more experienced, explore the questions you know you have and learn about other questions you should be asking.

Over the years the CCCG and Internet2 have helped broker conversations between schools when they become aware of the need, but the time seems right to explore a more formal community mentorship program. This panel will bring together those seeking mentorship, those who have stepped up to provide it and those who have been involved in efforts to codify some of the best practices that inform the mentoring conversations. The goal of the panel is to brainstorm how we might formalize, incentivize, advertise and recognize such a community effort.

AWS Account Provisioning at the University of Chicago

Shelley Rossell, University of Chicago
9:15 am | Slides
Shelley Rossell at UChicago recently described their process for cloud account creation and handoff to departments and researchers. It is a great example of making clear the delegation of duties and responsibilities and how to build a professional partnership with clearly-defined roles. Bob Flynn asked her if, space permitting, she would like to present about it at the Cloud Forum. Ideally it is a presentation, but could be compressed to a lightning talk.

Embracing Enterprise Architecture to Drive New Cloud Value

Kevin Muller, Fordham University
10:00 am | Slides
Our university dove head first into a leading-edge cloud transformation of our ERP system-of-record many years ago. Now, we are learning that our once-innovative cloud strategy requires a solid enterprise architecture foundation to continue driving new value and technology effectiveness for our organization’s future cloud strategy. We will share our story so far, exploring our successes and ‘speed bumps’.

Secure Research Initiatives Learnings

Barbara Schnell, University of Colorado Boulder
10:30 am | Slides
In order to meet increased and changing compliance requirements for our researchers, the University of Colorado has implemented a Secure Research service including O365 GCC High and a landing zone in Azure Government for research computing infrastructure. Looking forward, this summer we plan to focus on automation and leveraging compliance-oriented architectural patterns, processes and test cases for other platforms. This presentation will cover our journey, share lessons learned and share strategies on funding, staffing, and technology limitations in Azure Gov.