Boston University Medical Campus goes virtual

Boston University Medical Campus goes virtual

April 26

Colleges and universities have what could be called the best free technology innovators in the country: Their own students. As these young adults come up with more technology ideas every year, their schools are finding new ways to house and share that data.

The medical campus at Boston University officially is running on virtual backup in order to streamline their research and centralize data for free use between different schools within the university. School officials cited continuing changes in technology as a prime reason to keep a somewhat mutable technology infrastructure that would still provide a more open and easily-maintained database from previous individual disk storage. Now each department within the medical school can access and share new findings with the rest of the campus without having to transport them manually, according to John Meyers, director of technology at BU.

The University of Michigan is also using virtual servers to cut costs and expand usability. The school’s Virtualization-as-a-Service, or VaaS, program shares information between departments and across operating systems; what’s created and viewable on a Mac is just as easily utilized by a Windows or Linux system. The university also has its own monitoring and security practices in place to ensure data isn’t compromised, yet its services remain flexible.

More schools are moving toward virtualization not only to make discussion and brainstorming more fluid but also to cut costs. There’s no need for a physical server room, so energy and staffing costs can be cut drastically in terms of maintenance. Data is still securely backed up, either in the cloud or with encrypted tapes at an offsite location, and data replication or alternate data center availability means universities using this technology are prepared for disaster recovery.