A company and service that I really like is Carbonite and its online backup service.
I am actually a Carbonite Pro customer, a service that allows for central management of an unlimited number of computers (you pay by the amount of data backed up).
Carbonite is a great look into our cloud future, one in which we move to consuming some essential (but commodity) campus services (like backup) to a cloud based service model. It makes sense to me that academic institutions should move up the value chain, doing what we do best (teaching, learning and research), while sourcing commodity services. Certainly Carbonite and online, web-based backup and restore is not for everyone (I'd be interested in what your backup solution is), but for some campus needs Carbonite makes good sense.
The monthly fee for Carbonite pro starts at $10 (for up to 20GB), to up to $250 for 499GB. No cost for additional computers or servers. No set-up fee. Carbonite Pro supports all the Windows OS's, Mac 10.5 and up, and Windows Server 2003 and 2008. They also have an iPhone app!
We talk a great deal about "the cloud" in higher ed circles. Carbonite is a real example of this trend. No hardware to buy or maintain. Service level agreements. A good end-user experience, with rich just-in-time support materials and great customer service. Higher ed is a high fixed cost business. Anytime we can shift to variable costs it seems like we should look hard at doing so.
What other services would make your list of commodity activities that you would like to source to the cloud?
What other companies, beyond the usual suspects, are offering cloud services that are being adopted in higher ed?
How big is this market for higher ed commodity cloud services?
What sort of investments are being made in companies like Carbonite?
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