Cloud computing could relieve increasing strain on college IT infrastructure.

Cloud computing could relieve increasing strain on college IT infrastructure.

IBM has joined technology leaders Google, Microsoft, and Amazon in providing colleges and universities with free cloud computing aimed at easing campuses’ IT strain and enhancing distance learning.

IBM announced Feb. 10 that the company will make its cloud computing servers available to college professors at 20 colleges nationwide—a growing trend among technology giants forming partnerships with higher education.

IBM’s Academic Skills Cloud will be used by faculty members to make course curriculum available on students’ laptops any time, “free up” campus technology resources, and advance online course capabilities, according to the IBM announcement.

University IT officials said outsourcing data analysis to off-campus servers managed by technology companies could become necessary for researchers who rely on intensive computing power.

“What we are seeing are data sets that are growing exponentially larger on a daily basis, thus putting stress on institutions that do not have the infrastructure to support such growth,” said Aaron Doering, associate professor of learning technologies and the Bonnie Westby-Huebner Endowed Chair of Education and Technology at the University of Minnesota.


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