Bringing Cloud Economics to Education Infrastructure

3 min read

We’re thrilled to introduce IBM Cloud for Education.

As educational institutions transition to remote learning due to the changing nature of education or the pandemic, it is essential to make computing lab resources accessible off-campus.

IBM has been working with various institutions of higher education like North Carolina State University to build a virtual lab infrastructure for their academic needs. Leveraging our on-campus experiences, we developed a cloud-delivered solution for educational institutions.

So, today, we’re excited to introduce IBM Cloud for Education — a targeted cloud solution for the education industry:

So, today, we’re excited to introduce IBM Cloud for Education — a targeted cloud solution for the education industry:

We are also launching the IBM Cloud for Education Applications Lab — the first in the portfolio of offerings planned under IBM Cloud for Education. IBM Cloud for Education plans to bring together, in a single place, all IBM Cloud services and resources that are most frequently used by the academic community, organized in packages that facilitate their adoption and immediate use.

Additionally, the solution is coupled with the IBM Cloud for Education Academy — a network of educational institutions and partners who are actively integrating cloud and cognitive technologies into their classrooms, research centers and infrastructures. The intent is to establish a collaborative environment to continuously improve IBM Cloud for Education for its user community, providing the needed training and assets along the way.

The challenges you can overcome

The transition of on-campus computer labs to support online education comes with unique challenges:

  • Operational complexity: Institutions have hundreds of open access lab computers with a variety of software installed that needs to be inventoried, managed and maintained.
  • Privileged access management: Specialized software is typically installed on specific lab computers, which requires a student to be enrolled in specific programs or courses.
  • Specialized hardware: Specialized software is often expensive, complicated to manage and has certain unique hardware requirements.
  • Limited/no remote access: Existing computing lab infrastructure may require students to be on campus to access specialized software for their courses.
  • License management: It’s not feasible to provide students with single licenses to specialized software because it would be costly and ineffective. 

What you get with IBM Cloud for Education Applications Lab

IBM Cloud for Education Applications Lab is a purpose-built offering for education and research institutions. The offering provides a fully managed, cloud-hosted computer lab environment, delivered as virtual desktops and pre-loaded with software applications such as SPSS, SAS and AutoCAD. As a fully managed service, it relieves educational institutions of the entire overhead of managing and maintaining their infrastructure. 

The Applications Lab supports a cloud scale architecture built on IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers that makes it easy to deliver virtualized, feature-rich Linux/Windows virtual machines and software applications to any device, anytime. With a flexible subscription model and turnkey solutions, organizations can easily get up and running and scale quickly:

With a flexible subscription model and turnkey solutions, organizations can easily get up and running and scale quickly:

The service includes the following capabilities: 

  • 24x7 accessible student and faculty portal
  • Easy reservation system to create and manage virtual infrastructure reservations
  • Application license management capabilities
  • Image and application configuration
  • Federated ID integration with education institutions
  • User access and privilege management
  • On-going management of images, applications and access
  • IBM support

The solution offers a rich end user experience delivered by combining technologies like IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers infrastructure with vGPU support, remote desktop technologies like Windows RDP and open-source tools from Apache, such as Virtual Computing Lab, Guacamole and more. Being a fully managed service also takes away the entire overhead of managing and maintaining this infrastructure for education institutions.

Who benefits from this solution?

This solution is well suited for any education institution that is looking to offer remote access to computer labs or specialized software for their students/faculty and desires to do the following:

  • Reduce upfront costs and move to an OpEx model with predictable economics
  • Lower the total cost of ownership of computer lab infrastructure
  • Gain flexibility and agility, and speed their time of delivery
  • Provide a great end-user experience without sacrificing IT security and control
  • Move towards the cloud at their own pace

How can you get started?

Getting started is easy with our Lite Plan. You can experience the service free of charge by provisioning an instance of IBM Cloud for Education Applications Lab from our IBM Cloud Catalog:

You can experience the service free of charge by provisioning an instance of IBM Cloud for Education Applications Lab from our IBM Cloud Catalog:

We also offer custom proof of concept with federated ID integration. Email us at cldedu@us.ibm.com if you’re interested.

Get started today with IBM Cloud for Education.

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