U-M adding new online file storage system
U-M is part of a new initiative that soon will provide a way for students, faculty, and staff to store and share files online.
The service will be provided as part of a two-year agreement between Internet2 — a consortium of leading U.S. research and educational organizations — and Box.net — a commercial online file-sharing and storage service.
The new service is part of the NextGen Michigan program, a strategy for changing the university's IT service approach and investing in the "next generation" of computing technologies.
"Our goal is to establish U-M as a leader and best in providing a campus IT environment that helps advance the university's academic, teaching, research and clinical programs," says Laura McCain Patterson, chief information officer.
The Box.net effort will be led by Bill Wrobleski, director of infrastructure projects for NextGen, and his project team. According to Wrobleski, a small group of users on the Ann Arbor campus currently is participating in a Box pilot program.
"We plan to expand the pilot over the rest of the fall semester, with the goal of providing accounts to remaining users in the spring of 2012," he says.
In addition to U-M, other universities participating in this partnership include: Cornell University, Indiana University, the University of Notre Dame and the University of California, Berkeley, among others.
Wrobleski explained that the partnership with Box.net supports three key NextGen initiatives:
• Storage. This project aims to deliver a set of tiered data storage services to campus.
• Collaboration. Box will complement Google Apps for Education, the core set of email, calendaring, and collaboration tools that also is scheduled to roll out in 2012.
• Cloud computing. U-M is partnering with commercial services to provide the university with a private, shared online environment that can be used for a variety of activities including collaboration, research, storage and database management.
Other NextGen projects focus on a variety of areas including networking, mobile, and high-performance research computing.