University of Michigan
News for Faculty and Staff

July 18, 2018

U-M signs agreements with two more cloud computing providers

January 12, 2018

U-M signs agreements with two more cloud computing providers

To better leverage public cloud computing resources, Information & Technology Services has announced it will add two additional infrastructure cloud platforms — Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

For several years ITS has offered to the U-M community Amazon Web Services at U-M as its sole Cloud Computing, IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) offering. That is changing. U-M recently signed enterprise agreements to offer Azure at U-M and GCP at U-M.

ITS also has executed business associate agreements with all three vendors, and is working with Michigan Medicine Compliance and Information Assurance on guidance to allow use of the three cloud services for protected health information and other sensitive institutional data.

Until that work is complete and guidance on use of the services with sensitive data is available, they should not be used to store sensitive university data.

“The time to increase our presence in the cloud is now. The opportunities for our university are tremendous," said Andy Palms, executive director of ITS Infrastructure. "Cloud computing offers us the opportunity to enable U-M’s highest priorities. Providing these important technologies to the U-M community addresses several current needs."

Those needs include:

• Centralized research computing capacity is growing significantly. The cloud allows users to create research environments that enable flexibility, security and scale on demand — without new hardware purchases. Additionally, cloud computing enables U-M to prioritize existing data center space for research computing.

• Access — Interdisciplinary, mobile and team-based work is now the norm. Cloud services can help faculty in all fields conduct research faster and “level the playing field” in terms of access to robust IT.

• Innovation — Provides opportunities to build larger datasets with other institutions and enable faculty to apply it in their research and improve learning outcomes for students.

• Machine Learning — Rapidly growing in importance with applications such as image and video processing and Natural Language Processing.

In addition to the benefits of these agreements, ITS will be offering additional features with these services, including some consulting and training. The new Azure service will include:

• University enterprise agreement.

• Shortcode billing.

• Network egress waiver.

• Shibboleth integration (UMICH single sign-on) for Azure authentication.

• Preconfigured network and security resources with optional VPN.

• Azure Account-level activity logs exported to Splunk.

• Safe computing approval and guidance for sensitive data will be coming soon.

The Google Cloud Platform service at U-M will include:

• University enterprise agreement.

• Optional shortcode billing with negotiated pricing.

• Network egress waiver.

• Shibboleth integration for GCP authentication.

• Preconfigured network and security resources with optional VPN (virtual private network).

• GCP Account-level activity logs exported to Splunk.

• Safe computing approval and guidance for sensitive data will be coming soon.

ITS recently rolled out improved functionality for Amazon Web Services. Beginning immediately, all new AWS ITS accounts come with these additional features. Existing AWS customers through ITS can also have these new features applied to an existing account going to the AWS web page to sign up for the new features, or to start using AWS.

This service now includes:

• University enterprise agreement.

• Optional shortcode billing.

• Negotiated pricing.

• Network egress waiver.

• Shibboleth integration for account management.

• Preconfigured network and security resources with optional VPN.

• AWS Cloud Trail and VPC security log retained in Splunk.

• Safe computing approval and guidance for sensitive data will be coming soon.