Case Study

The University of California, Berkeley Department of Statistics is consistently ranked as one of the two premier graduate programs nationally. With undergraduate, master’s, and PhD programs, the department awards about 100 BAs, 20 MAs, and 8 PhDs per year. Prominent areas of research interest in the department include Bayesian inference, bioinformatics and computational biology, causal and graphical models, financial modeling, high dimensional data, information theory, machine learning, probability theory, time series and survival analysis.

CHALLENGE

As one of the fastest growing departments at one of the world’s leading institutions of higher learning, the UC Berkely Department of Statistics needed a scalable technology solution it could use to address faculty demands and student needs.

With a hyper-connected campus in which both students and faculty often use multiple devices for coursework, the prior practice of using classroom lab machines was creating challenges. Furthermore, students were having to configure their laptops with various operating systems and tools in order to meet the differing requirements of courses and professors.

The department also needed to be mindful of the campus’ purchase order and invoicing system as it set out to address its technology requirements; and procure a solution that could be applied without excessive IT resource time commitments.

SOLUTION

PhoenixNAP public cloud, which utilizes VMware’s vSphere®, enables UC Berkeley’s Department of Statistics to offer its students a simple and secure method for accessing a common work environment.

Capable of supporting different operating systems and application toolsets, the cloud solution provides a scalable infrastructure platform to which remote desktop applications or personal devices can connect. Leveraging a vagrant plugin custom developed by phoenixNAP, the department can rapidly provision and deploy its applications to VMs as its needs and student/faculty demands change.

BENEFITS

Following its selection of phoenixNAP public cloud, the Department of Statistics has been able to provision cloud and compute resources with high degrees of flexibility.

Faculty and students can now access any necessary applications or programs through a shared and secure cloud environment, reducing technological complexities and promoting efficiencies. This also offloads IT management and troubleshooting from department instructors; freeing them to teach and interact instead of navigate through computer challenges.

Additionally, the Sales and Accounting teams at phoenixNAP were able to slightly modify the default settings on the billing system to increase standard thresholds, which are based on the amount of virtual machine (VM) usage. Ultimately, this enabled the Department of Statistics to use VMs as much or little as it needed, and still receive one monthly invoice.

“We looked at some of the larger vendors, but no one was able to provide us with the flexibility and support we needed to provision servers in the cloud, while working within the constraints of the campus’ financial system.”

-Ryan Lovett, Systems Manager, UC Berkeley Department of Statistics

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