Brian Cameron, executive director of the CEA, said like many institutions looking for funding in the down economy, outside help proved the only way to boost the center’s storage capacity and allow the program to continue its research objectives.

NetApp, a data management and storage company, announced in August that it would give about $300,000 to Penn State’s CEA in the form of hardware and some software. The donation expanded CEA students’ opportunities to experiment with data storage, Cameron said.

“It would’ve taken several years to get to this level data storage, if ever,” he said. “In today’s budget environment, I don’t know if we would’ve ever gotten there.”

The funding, in part, will support the CEA’s Professional Masters in Enterprise Architecture Program, which offers students hands-on laboratory learning experiences.

If left to rely on campus funding, Cameron said students and faculty in the CEA would have been at least partially limited by the data storage crunch. He said that thanks to the NetApp donation, the center has plenty of storage for the foreseeable future, although at some point, the CEA will need more data storage capacity.

“The tough economic times are the main driver behind what we’re doing,” he said. “We started this in the middle of the financial crisis, and now we’re in the new normal of austerity that’s sort of rippling through colleges and universities. … Being able to virtualize our data storage is tremendous cost savings.”

Data management from the iPad

Higher education has also seen a shift in the way data is managed on mobile devices now prevalent on college campuses.

Matchbox, a startup company launched by former and current college admissions officials, announced in December that MIT’s Sloan School of Management and the MBA program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management would be among the first schools to use an Apple iPad application that stores student information usually kept on paper in filing cabinets.

Using the cloud-based Matchbox iPad app could save admissions offices up to 75 percent of the time it takes to collect, review, and process student application forms, which are often more than 30 pages.

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