In traditional enterprise computing, IT departments forecast demand for applications and capacity and invest time and money to develop those resources in-house or purchase them from others and operate them in-house.
With cloud computing, institutions procure IT services from remote providers, and campus constituents access these resources over the Internet.
E-mail, for example, long considered a staple of an institution’s IT operations, can be obtained from a range of sources, and a growing number of campuses contract with outside suppliers for this function. Software is hosted by the provider and does not need to be installed—or maintained—on individual computers around campus.
In some cases, a large university or a consortium might become a provider of cloud services. Storage and processing needs can also be met by the cloud.
Institutions pay only for the resources used, and users can access the applications and files they need from virtually any Internet connected computer.
In a mature cloud computing environment,institutions would be able to add new IT services or respond to changes in capacity on the fly, saving capital costs that can be redirected to programs of strategic value to the institution.