5 features of effective cloud technology

Higher ed experts in cloud technology discuss what makes the best platform for institutions, staff and students.

“Innovation,” “scalability,” and “streamlining” are all great catch phrases when it comes to cloud technology in education, but what does it really mean; and what is the technology behind effective platforms used by innovative universities developing best practices?

According to two leaders in cloud-based higher ed-tech software, nothing beats  Amazon Web Services (AWS) functionality—and you may be surprised at just how many higher-ed institutions and platforms use AWS.

“Adoption across education is fairly high,” said Sri Elaprolu, manager of Solutions Architecture for AWS during the AWS Public Sector Symposium in D.C. “We have roughly 4,500 education institutions using AWS, which includes K-12 and higher education institutions, but also ed-tech companies. Just a handful of examples include Berkeley, Coursera, edX, 2U, San Francisco State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University and Notre Dame.)

One popular ed-tech company in higher ed, Instructure, whose offerings include Canvas LMS, Bridge and Canvas Network, attributes their success to AWS’ tech.

“Our mission when we started the company was to transform legacy LMS’ that didn’t talk to other systems,” explained Wade Billings, senior director of global IT shared services at Instructure. “We basically placed our entire infrastructure into AWS’ hands for testing and what we got was a platform that uses software to essentially make people smarter.”

According to Billings and Niranjan Nagar, CTO for Civitas Learning, there are five characteristics of Amazon Web Services’ functionality that create best-of-breed cloud solutions for higher-ed institutions and the companies that serve them:

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